x Abu Dhabi, UAETuesday 25 July 2017

Euro 2012: Group A - Players to watch

Our pick of the four players worth watching in Group A of this years European Championships.

Robert Lewandowski fights for the ball against Andorra's Manel Josep Ayala and Emili Garcia
Robert Lewandowski fights for the ball against Andorra's Manel Josep Ayala and Emili Garcia

Poland legend Zbigniew Boniek calls it 'the easiest possible group' at Euro 2012. We take a look at the players we predict will prove to be the star men in their country's quest to advance from Group A.

 

1 Kyriakos Papadopoulos (Greece)
Greece's Euro 2004 success was based on some mean defending - they did not concede in the knockout stages - and in Papadopoulos they have a centre-back with a bright future. The Schalke defender, 22, who can also play in midfielder, is the kind of player who puts his body on the line to keep a clean sheet. Just what the rank outsiders need

2 Robert Lewandowski (Poland)
The centre-forward's displays this season have had some of Europe's biggest clubs taking note. His 30 goals propelled Borussia Dortmund to a German league and cup double (he scored a hat-trick against Bayern Munich in the cup final). Poland have not got past the first round of a tournament since 1986 - Lewandowski could change that.

3 Pavel Pogbrenyak (Russia)
Pogbrenyak missed Russia's run to the semi-finals in 2008 with injury but he comes into this tournament fresh off the back of an impressive 2012 with Fulham in the English Premier League, where he scored six goals in 12 games after a loan move from Stuttgart. He will lead the line for a gifted, experienced Russian line-up.

4 Michal Kadlec (Czech Republic)
It says something about the Czechs' chances that their top scorer in qualifying was a left-back. Kadlec, the Bayer Leverkusen defender who scored four times in qualifying, will be key in defence. He also takes penalties and will be important from set pieces. Watch for him sporting a face mask after his nose was broken in a fight with fans of Leverkusen's rivals, Cologne.

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