Euro 2012 in Brief: Germany limits strikers; Bleus' red faces; Poland acts on hooliganism


Click to follow
The Independent Football

Löw puts faith in just three strikers

The Brazil-born Stuttgart striker Cacau is a surprise exclusion as the Germany coach Joachim Löw will take only three forwards – Mario Gomez, Miroslav Klose and Lukas Podolski – to Euro 2012.

Cacau, Marc Andre ter Stegen, Sven Bender and Julian Draxler have all been left out of the final 23-man selection.

Cacau was quick to voice his disappointment. "It was my big goal after the [2010] World Cup in South Africa also to be part of Euro 2012 with the Germany team." the 31-year-old said. "I knew from the beginning that the competition for the 23 places would be hard and tight. I gave it my best shot. Like the younger players, I am also disappointed, but I still feel part of this team and wish them from the bottom of my heart that they play a great European Championship."

Podolski, who will be playing for Arsenal next season, says Germany will be fit when it counts despite recent disappointments. Saturday's 5-3 defeat by Switzerland came a week after Bayern Munich lost the final of the Champions League, so it would be no shock to find a few dropped heads in the Germany camp – but Podolski trusts their usual big-tournament mentality to kick in.

"There is no doubt that with the eight Bayern players here, the quality improves," he said. "They are top guys and we have missed them." Their experience was certainly missed in Basle, but Podolski is not reading too much into that result, or the performance. "It has been the same in previous years – when we lost 4-1 to Italy [in 2006], for example," Podolski said.

Evra downplays Bleus' red faces

Patrice Evra played down French embarrassment at needing an 87th-minute strike by Adil Rami to beat lowly Iceland 3-2 in Valenciennes on Sunday night.

The visitors, ranked 115 places below France at 131, shocked Les Bleus by going 2-0 up inside 34 minutes, before second-half goals from Mathieu Debuchy and Franck Ribéry brought the scores level with five minutes to go.

But Evra said: "We must not be too hard on ourselves. After one match, you cannot know exactly what you need to do to improve. The second match is different, the third as well. You can play well in warm-up games but ... it is 11 June we must be ready for."

Police act early over hooligans

Polish police yesterday detained 42 members of gangs involved in drug trafficking and extortion, including football hooligans.

Poland, which will co-host Euro 2012 with Ukraine, has seen a number of riots by hooligans in recent years; some stadiums were closed to fans following clashes during the 2011 Polish Cup final.

"Altogether 42 people were detained, some of them associated with militia groups of pseudo-fans of soccer clubs," said a police spokesman, Mariusz Sokolowski.

Hooliganism in Poland has been criticised by UEFA officials in the past.