Introducing the European team

"I want the players to be honest with themselves. I want to be able to say they will play with anybody, and at the end of the day we are a team. We are going to enjoy it and do what we've done before, and if we keep doing that we've a good chance. We've done pretty good over the last 20 years" Ian Woosnam, Europe captain
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PAUL CASEY

Age: 29. World Ranking: 27

Caps: 1. Cup record: W1-L1-H0

Fulfilling giddying potential and still brimming with the bravado which led him to asking for Tiger in the singles in 2004. Upset America with unwise comments two years ago, but can upset them for proper reasons now.

DARREN CLARKE

Age: 38. World ranking: 21

Caps: 4. Cup record: 7-7-3

All eyes will be on Clarke after he lost wife Heather last month, and emotional intensity will be unprecedented. Has the talent and nerve not to buckle and so feature in one of the Cup's most heart-warming stories.

LUKE DONALD

Age: 28. World ranking: 10

Caps: 1. Cup record: 2-1-1

England's great hope is now a European banker, and his solid game will be the spine of team. With not many thrills, but even fewer spills, this could be the match when he emerges as successor to Faldo and Montgomerie.

SERGIO GARCIA

Age: 26. World ranking: 8

Caps: 3. Cup record: 10-3-2

El Niño blows hot and cold, but

in the Ryder Cup generally the former. After season of putting woes will likely be transformed by the flag of blue and gold. Has inherited Ballesteros's obsession with humbling Americans.

PADRAIG HARRINGTON

Age: 35. World ranking: 17

Caps: 3. Cup record: 7-4-1

A season that has never really hit lift-off will have all the emotional fuel it needs on home soil. Has hinted at a return to his best of late, and this brilliant team player may just be unbeatable in his own back yard.

DAVID HOWELL

Age: 31. World ranking: 12

Caps: 1. Cup record: 1-1-0

Unrecognisable from timid rookie of 2004 who "duffed my way to shot of the year" with a crucial six-iron in the Saturday fourballs. Now an established performer. Beat Woods head-to-head last year and will not be fazed.

ROBERT KARLSSON

Age: 37. World ranking: 44

Caps: Rookie

Cruelly ignored in 1999, this 6ft 5in blond bomber is, like fellow Swede Stenson, ideal for the fourballs, and they may forge an irresistible partnership. Can look down on anyone on his day and could be an unlikely Cup winner.

PAUL MCGINLEY

Age: 39. World ranking: 52

Caps: 2. Cup record: 2-1-3

Spent the past week desperately trying to find semblance of old self, and his form is a huge concern. Will play with Harrington at least once before Sunday; the proud Dubliner's unwavering will should not be underestimated.

COLIN MONTGOMERIE

Age: 43. World ranking: 16

Caps: 7. Cup record: 19-8-5

Four points would give Monty the all-time Cup points record and his grin would be everywhere. Would be typical of him to waste his finest chance of winning a major at the US Open, but then finish the year as a hero.

JOSE MARIA OLAZABAL

Age: 40. World ranking: 18

Caps: 6. Cup record: 15-8-5

Welcome return after a seven-year absence for former apprentice of sorcerer Seve. America will regard Olazabal as a main threat. With a short game to die for, veteran Spaniard will be the one player Woods hopes to avoid.

HENRIK STENSON

Age: 30. World ranking: 11

Caps: Rookie

Big hitter with a bigger reputation, whose birdie-making prowess makes him a must for the fourballs. Great start to season, when he seemed a world-beater, followed by mediocre middle, followed by great end.

LEE WESTWOOD

Age: 33. World ranking: 47

Caps: 4. Cup record: 11-8-1

Controversially selected over Thomas Bjorn, Europe's leading points-winner of 2004 has every-thing but best form at his disposal to reward Woosie's wild-card faith. Lehman admits fearing the Westwood-Clarke foursome.

Profiles by James Corrigan

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