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A Complete Guide To The Final 16 Teams Of The Champions League

UCL-Draw

Manchester United and Arsenal, the only two remaining English sides, will be looking to avoid the big guns in the draw for the knockout stages of the UEFA Champions League, which takes place in Nyon (Switzerland) on Thursday 10:30am GMT.

Manchester United qualified as Group H winners and so are seeded in the draw but they still could be drawn against the big sides, while Arsenal finished as runners-up and like United could face the top guns especially Barcelona (third time in the past four seasons) in the knockout stages. On the other hand, Chelsea became the first holders to be eliminated in the group stages, while Manchester City were completely knocked out of Europe as they ended bottom of their group.

Group Winners: Paris Saint-Germain, Schalke, Malaga, Borussia Dortmund, Juventus, Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Manchester United
Group Runners-Up: Porto, Arsenal, AC Milan, Real Madrid, Shakhtar Donetsk, Valencia, Celtic, Galatasaray

Below we have a look at each of the above 16 teams in detail..

PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN

Country: France
Coach:
Carlo Ancelotti
Key Player: Zlatan Ibrahimovic
Other Star Players: Thiago Silva, Ezequiel Lavezzi & Javier Pastore
Rising Star: Marco Verratti
Previous best in CL/European Cup: Semi-final 1995
Possible Round of 16 Opponents: Arsenal, AC Milan, Real Madrid, Shakhtar Donetsk, Valencia, Celtic, Galatasaray
Chances: PSG are one of the richest clubs in the world and have ambitions to win the Champions League this term. If striker Ibrahimovic can continue his superb form from the group stages, it might just happen.
Prediction: Quarter-Finals

SCHALKE 04

Country: Germany
Coach:
 Jens Keller
Key Player: Klaas-Jan Huntelaar
Other Star Players: Benedikt Howedes, Lewis Holtby & Kyriakos Papadopoulos
Rising Star: Julian Draxler
Previous best in CL/European Cup: Semi-final 2011
Possible Round of 16 Opponents: Porto, AC Milan, Shakhtar Donetsk, Galatasary, Valencia, Celtic, Real Madrid
Chances: The Germans were unbeaten through their group which consisted the likes of Arsenal, Olympiakos and Montpellier, which shows they are not a team to be taken for granted. One their day they could upset the big guns.
Prediction: Round of 16

MALAGA

Country: Spain
Coach:
 Manuel Pellengrini
Key Player: Isco
Other Star Players: Joaquin, Martin Demichelis & Eliseu
Rising Star: Francisco Portillo
Previous best in CL/European Cup: Debutants
Possible Round of 16 Opponents: Arsenal, Shakhtar Donetsk, Celtic, Galatasaray
Chances: Have been very impressive so far in their debut season in the Champions League, but their inexperience in the competition may prove costly in the knockout stages.
Prediction: Round of 16

BORUSSIA DORTMUND

Country: Germany
Coach:
 Jurgen Klopp
Key Player: Marco Reus
Other Star Players: Roberto Lewandowski, Mats Hummels & Mario Gotze
Rising Star: Moritz Leitner
Previous best in CL/European Cup: Winners 1997
Possible Round of 16 Opponents: Porto, Arsenal, AC Milan, Shakhtar Donetsk, Valencia, Celtic,Galatasaray
Chances: The reigning Bundesliga champions have very much caught the eye in the group stages after finishing at top of the Group of Death and are the team to beat. Considered as the dark horses for the title.
Prediction: Quarter-Finals

JUVENTUS

Country: Italy
Coach:
 Antonio Conte
Key Player: Arturo Vidal
Other Star Players: Andrea Pirlo, Gianluigi Buffon & Giorgio Chiellini
Rising Star: Paul Pogba
Previous best in CL/European Cup: Winners 1985, 1996
Possible Round of 16 Opponents: Porto, Real Madrid, Arsenal, Valencia, Celtic, Galatasaray
Chances: The reigning Serie A champions remained unbeaten in the group stages and topped their group by winning on the final matchday. The Italians are expected to step it up when the competition resumes in February.
Prediction: Quarter-Finals

BAYERN MUNICH

Country: Germany
Coach:
 Jupp Heynckes
Key Player: Franck Ribery
Other Star Players: Arjen Robben, Bastian Schweinsteiger & Philipp Lahm
Rising Star: David Alaba
Previous best in CL/European Cup: Winners 1974, 1975, 1976, 2001
Possible Round of 16 Opponents: Porto, Arsenal, AC Milan, Real Madrid, Shakhtar Donetsk, Celtic,Galatasaray
Chances: The current Bundesliga leaders ended as the beaten finalists last season and will be looking to make amends for it. They have been in fine form so far and are one of the favourites to lift the trophy in May.
Prediction: Semi-Finals

BARCELONA

Country: Spain
Coach:
 Tito Vilanova
Key Player: Lionel Messi
Other Star Players: Andres Iniesta, Xavi & Sergio Busquets
Rising Star: Christian Tello
Previous best in CL/European Cup: Winners 1992, 2006, 2009, 2011
Possible Round of 16 Opponents: Porto, Shakhtar Donetsk, Arsenal, Galatasaray, AC Milan
Chances: The Catalans were the pre-tournament favourites to win the competition and there has been very little so far to suggest that they won’t win it this term. Vilanova has done brilliantly since taking over from Pep Guardiola in the summer.
Prediction: Winners

MANCHESTER UNITED

Country: England
Coach:
 Sir Alex Ferguson
Key Player: Wayne Rooney
Other Star Players: Robin van Persie, Nemanja Vidic & Antonio Valencia
Rising Star: Rafael
Previous best in CL/European Cup: Winners 1968, 1999, 2008
Possible Round of 16 Opponents: Porto, AC Milan, Real Madrid, Shakhtar Donetsk, Valencia, Celtic
Chances: Unlike last season, United have marched pretty easily into the knockout stages and with Van Persie & Rooney both in form they are a team to fear. Surely one of the contenders for the title.
Prediction: Semi-Finals

PORTO

Country: Portugal
Coach:
 Vitor Pereira
Key Player: Jackson Martinez
Other Star Players: Joao Moutinho, Lucho Gonzalez & Nicolas Otamendi
Rising Star: James Rodriguez
Previous best in CL/European Cup: Winner 1987, 2004
Possible Round of 16 Opponents: Schalke, Malaga, Dortmund, Juventus, Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Manchester United
Chances: The Portuguese champions have gone all the way before but its very unlikely it will happen again this season. They have a very good squad with some very talented players but its highly unlikely they will trouble the big teams.
Prediction: Round of 16

ARSENAL

Country: England
Coach:
 Arsene Wenger
Key Player: Santi Cazrola
Other Star Players: Jack Wilshere, Thomas Vermaelen & Lukas Podolski
Rising Star: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain
Previous best in CL/European Cup: Runner-up 2006
Possible Round of 16 Opponents: PSG, Malaga, Dortmund, Juventus, Bayern Munich, Barcelona
Chances: The Gunners have had a stuttering season both domestically and in Europe – especially at home. They will need to improve a lot in the second half of the season if they want to be genuine title contenders.
Prediction: Quarter-Finals

AC MILAN

Country: Italy
Coach:
 Massimiliano Allegri
Key Player: Stephan El Shaarawy
Other Star Players: Philippe Mexes, Ricardo Montolivo & Kevin-Prince Boateng
Rising Star: Mattia De Sciglio
Previous best in CL/European Cup: Winners 1963, 1969, 1989, 1990, 1994, 2003, 2007
Possible Round of 16 Opponents: PSG, Schalke, Dortmund, Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Manchester United
Chances: Like Arsenal, the Rossoneri are struggling this term domestically and in Europe. They are not the force of the old, although their pedigree and experience in this competition means they should not be taken lightly.
Prediction: Round of 16

REAL MADRID

Country: Spain
Coach:
 Jose Mourinho
Key Player: Cristiano Ronaldo
Other Star Players: Iker Casillas, Sergio Ramos & Mesut Ozil
Rising Star: Raphael Varane
Previous best in CL/European Cup: Winners 1956, 1957, 1958, 1959, 1960, 1966, 1998, 2000, 2002
Possible Round of 16 Opponents: PSG, Schalke, Juventus, Bayern Munich, Manchester United
Chances: Its been over a decade since Real Madrid last won the Champions League and the boss Mourinho has never appeared more determined to win the tournament for the club this season. With the team they have they are regarded as the joint favourites alongside Barca.
Prediction: Runners-Up

SHAKHTAR DONETSK

Country: Ukraine
Coach:
 Mircea Lucescu
Key Player: Luiz Adriano
Other Star Players: Darijo Srna, Willian & Fernandinho
Rising Star: Henrikh Mkhitaryan
Previous best in CL/European Cup: Quarter-final 2011
Possible Round of 16 Opponents: PSG, Schalke, Malaga, Dortmund, Bayern Munich, Barcelona, Manchester United
Chances: Like Dortmund, Shakhtar are another side that have grabbed the attention of many in the group stages. They are the ones who dumped Chelsea out of the tournament and a side very few people would want to face in the knockout stages.
Prediction: Round of 16

VALENCIA

Country: Spain
Coach:
 Ernesto Valverde
Key Player: Roberto Soldado
Other Star Players: Jonas, Sofiane Feghouli & Adil Rami
Rising Star: Daniel Parejo
Previous best in CL/European Cup: Runner-up 2000, 2001
Possible Round of 16 Opponents: PSG, Schalke, Dortmund, Juventus, Manchester United
Chances: The Spaniards have been very impressive in the group stages with their star striker at the top of his game but do not appear equipped for a really extended run in competition this season.
Prediction: Round of 16

CELTIC

Country: Scotland
Coach:
 Neil Lennon
Key Player: Giorgos Samaras
Other Star Players: Fraser Forster, Victor Wanyama & Gary Hooper
Rising Star: Anthony Watt
Previous best in CL/European Cup: Winners 1967
Possible Round of 16 Opponents: PSG, Schalke, Málaga, Dortmund, Juventus, Bayern Munich, Manchester United
Chances: Had little hopes of making it through to the knockout stages after being grouped with Barcelona, Benfica and Spartak Moscow but they did it. Anything else from now will be a bonus for the Scottish champions.
Prediction: Round of 16

GALATASARAY

Country: Turkey
Coach:
 Fatih Terim
Key Player: Burak Yilmaz
Other Star Players: Felipe Melo, Nordin Amrabat & Hamit Altintop
Rising Star: Semih Kaya
Previous best in CL/European Cup: Semi-finals 1989
Possible Round of 16 Opponents: PSG, Schalke, Málaga, Dortmund, Juventus, Bayern Munich, Barcelona
Chances: Snatched the second spot from CFR Cluj on the final matchday. Like Celtic, anything else they achieve from now on will be a bonus for the Turkish side and very few teams will fancy making the trip to the intimidating Turk Telekom Arena in Istanbul.
Prediction: Round of 16

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Top Ten Best-Paid Managers In The World

best-paid managers

Brazilian sports business consultants – Pluri Consultoria – have this week published online a list of the best-paid football managers in the world, by annual salary.

There is no surprise who heads the pack but there are some interesting names on the list. Here at IntoTheTopCorner, we have a look at the top ten managers from that rich list…

10. ROBERTO MANCINI (MANCHESTER CITY | €5.9 MILLION)

Roberto-Mancini

When you are managing a club owned by oil-rich owners you are expected to be earning a huge annual salary and it’s no surprise to see the current Manchester City manager on the list, perhaps that he is tenth on the list is a bit surprising. The former Inter and Lazio boss has won the FA Cup and the Premier League during his time at Eastlands and is at the helm of Europe’s few undefeated teams in the league this season.

9. JOSE CAMACHO (CHINA | €5.9 MILLION)

Jose-Camacho

In order to catch up with the Asian heavyweights like Japan and South Korea, the rich Chinese FA searched in many parts of Europe – mainly the Netherlands, Germany and Spain – for an experienced coach, and appointed Jose Camacho. The former Spain and Real Madrid coach was given the job with objective of qualifying for the 2014 World Cup in Brazil. Despite his huge annual paycheck the Spaniard failed and is now preparing for next year’s Asian Cup.

8. TITO VILANOVA (BARCELONA | €7 MILLION)

Tito-Vilanova

Taking over at Barcelona is not an easy job especially from the club’s most successful manager in history – Pep Guardiola. However, the former assistant is justifying his millions in his first top-flight job and currently has a win rate of 86%, which is more than his predecessor. The Catalan giants are 11 points clear of Real Madrid in the league and through to the knockout stages of the Champions League.

7. FABIO CAPELLO (RUSSIA | €7.8 MILLION)

Fabio-Capello

A CV boasting of five Serie A titles, one Champions League and two La Liga titles, it’s no surprise that the Italian is the best-paid international manager in the world during his current tenure as Russia coach. His current salary is a slight increase than what he earned during his time as England coach, where his contributions were a bit disappointing. However, the Russians under Capello are undefeated with five win in seven games and are at the top of their World Cup qualifying group.

6. GUUS HIDDINK (ANZHI MAKHACHKALA | €8.3 MILLION)

Guus-Hiddink

Like Capello, the Dutchman has also enjoed a long and successful managerial career at club and international level. After failing to qualify for Euro 2012 in Poland & Ukraine with Turkey, Hiddink joined the Russian moneybags earlier this year. With Anzhi second in the Russian Premier League, the former Chelsea boss has announced that his current annual paycheck will be the last one as he will be retiring at the end of the season.

5. ARSENE WENGER (ARSENAL | €9.3 MILLION)

Arsene-Wenger

With his intelligent spending, innovative training techniques and brilliant ability to develop youngsters, the Frenchman might be the cleverest manager in the game and he gets very well paid for that. Wenger has delivered three Premier League titles, four FA Cups and 15 consecutive seasons of Champions League football since taking over at Arsenal in 1996. Yet his willingness to sell Arsenal’s best players has been identified as a major flaw by the fans. With the Gunners virtually out of the title race, Wenger’s days may be numbered if his team fails to finish in the top four.

4. SIR ALEX FERGUSON (MANCHESTER UNITED | €9.4 MILLION)

Sir-Alex-Ferguson

The Scot has been at the same job – Manchester United – for over 25 years, which makes his annual salary seem relatively modest compared to ones above him in the list. The Red Devils were in deep trouble when he took over and has made them one of most successful teams in the world by winning 12 league titles, two Champions Leagues, five FA Cups and four League Cups. This season, Sir Alex’s side remain on course for yet another league title and have also reached the last-16 of the Champions League.

3. MARCELLO LIPPI (GUANGZHOU EVERGRANDE | €10 MILLION)

Marcello-Lippi

A manager whose resume boasts a World Cup, five Serie A titles and a Champions  League is expected to earn an annual salary in double figures. The former Italy coach joined the Chinese Super League champions in May this year on a two-and-a-half year contract worth up to €30 million. So far, Lippi has fulfilled the club’s expectations by guiding them to their second consecutive league title in October and also by winning the Chinese FA Cup in November for the first time evert in the club’s history.

2. CARLO ANCELOTTI (PARIS SAINT-GERMAIN | €13.5 MILLION)

Carlo-Ancelotti

The Italian proved that getting sacked at Chelsea doesn’t put a dent to your managerial career when he signing a multi-million Euro deal to take over at Qatar-funded PSG last year. He took charge when the French side were at the top of the league, but failed to guide them to the title. Despite spending heavily during the transfer windows, he has yet to bring any silverware to the Paresians. However, the former Milan boss could turn things around this season, as PSG are third in the league – five points behind Lyon – and are through to the knockout stages of the Champions League.

1, JOSE MOURINHO (REAL MADRID | €15.3 MILLION)

Jose-Mourinho

The Portuguese takes home the largest amount each year and it is hardly surprising given his extraordinary record since guiding Porto to an historic treble in 2003. The Special One has won league titles in Portugal, England, Italy and Spain and has also won the Champions League with Porto and Inter. However, things aren’t going well for him in the current campaign, with Los Blancos 11 points behind leaders Barcelona. Such a margin is a bit too much in the La Liga and if Mou fails to bring the Champions League to the Bernabeu, he might get his marching orders at the end of the season.

Here are the remaining twenty managers from the 30-man rich list..

11. Frank Rijkaard (Saudi Arabia | €5.3 Million)
12. Jupp Heynckes (Bayern Munich | €5.2 Million)
13. Andre Villas-Boas (Tottenham Hotspur | €4.5 Million)
14. Harry Redknapp (Queens Park Rangers | €4 Million)
15. Jorge Jesus (Benfica | €4 Million)
16. David Moyes (Everton | €3.6 Million)
17. Manuel Pellegrini (Malaga | €3.6 Million)
18. Paulo Autuori (Qatar | €3.6 Million)
19. Abel Braga (Fluminense | €3.5 Million)
20. Luciano Spaletti (Zenit St Petersburg | €3.3 Million)
21. Antonio Conte (Juventus | €3 Million)
22. Cesare Prandelli (Italy | €3 Million)
23. Luxemburgo (Gremio | €3 Million)
24. Muricy (Santos | €3 Million)
25. Tite (Corinthians | €3 Million)
26. Ottmar Hitzfeld (Switzerland | €2.6 Million)
27. Joachim Low (Germany | €2.5 Million)
28. Marcelo Biesla (Athletic Bilbao | €2.5 Million)
29. Martin O’Neill (Sunderland | €2.5 Million)
30. Roy Hodgson (England | €2.5 Million)

FIFA Puskás Award 2012: Ten Nominated Goals (Videos)

FIFA will be announcing the winner of the Puskás Award on January 7, 2013 along with the Ballon d’Or during the star-studded gala evening in Zurich.

Named after the legendary Hugarian striker Ferenc Puskás, the award is given to the player – male or female – judged to have scored the most aesthetically significant and “most beautiful” goal of the year. The award was presented for the first time in 2009, with Cristiano Ronaldo being the first winner. Turkey’s Hamit Altintop won the award the next year followed by Neymar in 2011.

This week, FIFA released the 10-goal shortlist. Take a look at each strike and then cast your vote for 2012’s best goal.

Agyemang Badu (Ghana v Guinea), Frebuary

Hatem Ben Arfa (Newcastle v Blackburn), January

Radamel Falcao (America de Cali v Atletico Madrid), May

Eric Hassli (Vancouver Whitecaps v Toronto FC), May

Olivia Jiminez (Mexico v Switzerland), August

Gaston Mealla (Nacional Potosi v The Strongest), January

Lionel Messi (Argentina v Brazil), May

Neymar (Santos v Internacional), March

Moussa Sow (Fenerbahce v Galatasaray), March

Miroslav Stoch (Fenerbahce v Genclerbirligi), March

A Complete Guide To UEFA EURO 2012

It doesn’t seem possible that almost four years have passed since Iker Casillas and Spain lifted the Henri Delaunay Cup in Vienna. But with the qualifying campagin completed, the draw for the finals made and most of squad being announced, the countdown to UEFA EURO 2012 has begun.

Since its inception in 2960, the UEFA European Championship has gone from strength to strength with every tournament. Only four nations competed at the first finals in France, but in 2016 the number of participating teams will have expanded to 24. UEFA EURO 2012, though, will have the same format we have become used to since Euro 96 with 16 nations fighting it out for the trophy.

UEFA EURO 2008 in Austria & Switzerland was a resounding success. Spain were worthy champions and the brand of football they played gave fans across the world great pleasure. It was also the second time the tournamnet had been successfully staged across two joint host countries, and Poland and Ukraine will provide another exciting dimension as the finals head east. Millions of football fans will be present in Poland and Ukraine this summer to watch the action unfold, and soak up the unique atmosphere. Billions more will be glued to television sets, cheering their countried on from homes, offices, and pubs throught Europe and the world.

With just 10 days remaining for the first match to kickoff in Warsaw, the anticipation for the finals is getting bigger and bigger day by day. Here we provide you with a complete guide to get you in the mood for the finals. I hope you enjoy the tournament and the complete guide.

Overview

The final tournament of the 14th UEFA European Football Championship will be held in Poland and Ukraine from 8 June to 1 July 2012. It will be the third time that the final tournament is jointly hosted by two countries (after Belgium/Netherlands in 2000 and Austria/Switzerland in 2008).

Sixteen national teams will compete in a total of 31 matches to be crowned European champions. The format of four groups of four teams will be used for the last time in this tournament. The competition format will change for the next edition in 2016 as the lineup of participants competing in the final tournament will be increased to 24.

The UEFA EURO 2012 matches will be played in eight stadiums, four in Poland – Gdansk, Poznan, Warsaw, Wroclaw – and four in Ukraine – Donetsk, Lviv, Kharkiv and Kyiv. The opening match will take place in Warsaw on 8 June and the final on 1 July in Kyiv. No fewer than 1.4 million fans will be expected at the stadiums and the matches will be broadcast live in more than 200 territories around the world.

MATCH SCHEDULE

VENUES & STADIUMS

Eight cities have been selected by UEFA as host venues. In a return to the format used at Euro 1992, Euro 1996 and Euro 2008, each of the four groups will be based around two stadiums each. The host cities Warsaw, Gdansk, Wroclaw, Poznan, Kiev, Lviv are all popular tourist destinations, unlike Donetsk and Kharkiv (the latter having replaced Dnipropetrovsk as a host city in 2009). The obligatory improvement of the football infrastructure includes the building of new stadiums: Six of the eight venues are brand new stadiums just built for the tournament, while the remaining two (in Poznan and Kharkiv) have undergone major renovations to improve them. Three of the stadiums will fulfill the criteria of UEFA’s highest category stadiums.

POLAND

National Stadium, Warsaw
Capacity 50,000
Club to be confirmed

Built on the site of the old Tenth Anniversary Stadium on the eastern bank of the Vistula, the facade of the new National Stadium Warsaw resembles a waving Polish flag. It will host the opening match of UEFA EURO 2012 on 8 June and is expected to become the new home of the Poland national team.

Games Poland v Greece (8/6), Poland v Russia (12/6), Greece v Russia (16/6), 1 x QF (21/6), 1 x SF (28/6).

Municipal Stadium, Wroclaw
Capacity 40,000
Club WKS Slask Wroclaw

Designed in the shape of a Chinese lantern, the newly built Municipal Stadium Wroclaw was official openined with a Geroge Michael concert on 17 September 2011. Two months later Italy’s Mario Balotelli scored the first international goal at the new ground in the 2-0 win against Poland.

Games Russia v Czech Republic (8/6), Greece v Czech Republic (12/6), Czech Republic (16/6)

Municipal Stadium, Poznan
Capacity 40,000
Club KKS Lech Poznan

Renowned for its excellent atmosphere, the original stadium was inagurated in 1980 and has undergone major renovation work to bring it up to standard for UEFA EURO 2012. The new Municipal Stadium Poznan opened its door for the first for a Sting concert on 20 September 2010.

Games Republic of Ireland v Croatia (10/6), Italy v Croatia (14/6), Italy v Republic Ireland (18/6)

PGE Arena, Gdansk
Capacity 40,000
Club KKS Lech Poznan

Located in Gdnask’s Letnica neighbourhood, construction of the PGE Arena began in 2008 and was completed in 2011. The exterior is designed to resemble amber, which has long been extracted along the Baltic coast. Poland’s 2-2 draw with Germany on 6 September 2011 was the first ever match played in the new stadium. The stadium will host three group C games and one quarter final.

Games Spain v Italy (10/6), Spain v Republic of Ireland (14/6), Croatia v Spain (18/6), 1 x QF (22/6)

UKRAINE

Olympic Stadium, Kyiv
Capacity 60,000
Club Ukrainian national team

With a 60,000 capacity and a striking new transparent roof, the new-look Olympic Stadium is UEFA EURO 2012’s largest venue and will host the final on 1 July. Ukraine’s first match at the renovated groud was a thrilling 3-3 draw against Germany on 11 November 2011.

Games Ukraine v Sweden (11/6), Sweden v England (15/6), Sweden v France (19/6), 1 x QF (24/6), Final (1/7)

Donbass Arena, Donetsk
Capacity 50,000
Club FC Shakhtar Donetsk

The Donbass Arena was opened in August 2009 and boasts UEFA elite status, qualifying it to the UEFA Champions League or UEFA Europa League finals. Home to UEFA Champions League regulars FC Shakhtar Donetsk, it will stage five matches during UEFA EURO 2012, including a semi-final.

Games France v England (11/6), Ukraine v France (15/6), England v Ukraine (19/6), 1 x OF (23/6), 1 x SF (27/6)

Metalist Stadium, Kharkiv
Capacity 35,000
Club FC Metalist Kharkiv

First build in 1926, the stadium has undergone several facelifts down the years, none more striking that its current guise. Known locally as the Spider Arene because of its roof supports resemble an arachnid’s legs, it was first known as the Traktor Stadium, named after a local tractor production plant.

Games Holland v Denmark (9/6), Holland v Germany (13/6), Portugal v Holland (17/6)

Arena Lviv, Lviv
Capacity 30,000
Club to be confirmed

Constructed specifically for the finals, this two-tired stadium offers fans perfect slightlines, while a walkway at the back of the lower tier provides a sense of space. The Arena Lviv, which opened on 29 October 2011, will host three Group B matches.

Games Germany v Portugal (9/6), Denmark v Portugal (13/6), Denmark v Germany (17/6)

LOGO & SLOGAN

The purpose of the logo and slogan is to give UEFA EURO 2012 its own personality, to help promote the tournament and to enhance the prestige of one of the world’s biggest sporting events by providing an easily recognisable identity, while at the same time bringing in a distinctive flavour of the host countries. The official logo and slogan for UEFA EURO 2012 were launched at a special event in Kyiv’s Mykhailivska Square on 14 December 2009.

The logo
The logo takes its visual lead from wycinanka art, a traditional form of paper cutting practised in rural areas of Poland and Ukraine. The wycinanka art form symbolises the fauna and flora of the local regions in a tribute to mother nature, representing the worship of the land and true respect for continuous growth, prosperity and fertility.

The slogan – Creating History Together
UEFA EURO 2012 is the next chapter in a story that started back in 1960 with the first edition of the UEFA European Football Championship. The staging of the final tournament in Poland and Ukraine, the first in central and eastern Europe, will definitely have a prominent place in history books.

Everyone involved in UEFA EURO 2012 including organisers, host countries, host cities, players, travelling supporters and fans at home are all contributing to another chapter of European and football history.

MASCOT

Following the footsteps of Trix and Flix at UEFA EURO 2008 in Austria and Switzerland, Slavek and Slavko are dterminded to prove once more that two are better than one. A mascot introduced for the first time in a UEFA European Championship in 1980 when Pinocchio took to the pitch for Italy and they have been mainstay ever since. Slavek and Slavko have alreadt made their mark with nearly 40,000 people voting in a poll to choose their names. UEFA EURO 2012 ambassador Zbigniew Boniek believes Slavek, wearing the white of Poland in a No20 shirt, could be something of a luck charm for his nation. “This number was good for the national team, it brought me a lot of luck,” he said. “As No20 I scored three famours goals against Belgium at the 1982 World Cup while Grzegorz Lato had this number too.” His Ukrainian counterpart Andriy Shevchenko added: “I have seen that the mascots can play good football too and that is good sign for the tournament.”

AMBASSADORS

Some of the biggest names in Polish and Ukrainian football are helping to promote the tournament as UEFA EURO 2012 ambassadors. Former internationals Zbigniew Boniek and Andrzej Szarmach are flying the flag for Poland, while FC Dynamo Kyiv and Ukraine greats Oleh Blokhin and Andriy Shevchenko are doing everything they can in Ukraine, both on and off the pitch, to help ensure the championship’s success. “It is very important for Ukraine, not only in terms of football development but also for the development of the country and its poeple,” said Shevchenko, who will captain Blokhin’s national side next summer. Boneik, capped 80 times by his country and a member of the Poland team that finished third at the 1982 FIFA World Cup, is looking forward to showing his native land in the best possible light. “It is a fantastic opportunity to show the world what a great country we are,” he said. “I would say to all the fans: come to Poland and see what we have to offer – amazing historical sities and extraordinary countryside and cities.”

VOLUNTEERS

A competition record 23,965 people from across the world have applied to work as volunteers during the tournament from which number 5,500 have been selected to provide support for UEFA’s staff at the event. Volunteering is vital to ensure the smooth running of a successful EURO, and all positions had been made available in 20 different areas of operations from ticketing to transport and accommodation. Former Poland and world heavyweight boxing champions Vitaliy Klitschko both gave their backing to the recruitment drive, with the latter declaring: “I know how many people expect a miracle from EURO 2012, but it will not happen unless each of us contributes to the success of the football festival.”

MATCH BALL

The official match ball for UEFA Euro 2012 is the Adidas Tango 12, which is designed to be easier to dribble and control than the reportedly unpredictable Adidas Jabulani used at the 2010 FIFA World Cup.

Complete detailed information about the ball over here.

MUSIC

The official UEFA EURO 2012 song is “Endless Summer” by the German singer Oceana – whose 2009 hit Cry Cry topped the charts in Poland and Ukraine as well as other European countries, and featured a video shot in Kyiv. In addition, UEFA has retained the melody that was composed by Rollo Armstrong of Faithless on its behalf for the 2008 tournament. The official Polish song for the tournament is “Koko Euro Spoko” by the folk band Jarzebina. The Republic of Ireland has also produced an official song: “The Rocky Road to Poland” recorded by a collaboration of Irish performers has already reached number 1 in Ireland.

TICKETS

Tickets were sold directly by UEFA via its website, or are to be distributed by the football associations of the 16 finalists. Applications had to be made during March 2011 for the 1.4 million tickets available for the 31 tournament matches. Over 12 million applications were received, which represented a 17% increase on the 2008 finals, and an all-time record for the UEFA European Championship. Owing to this over-subscription for the matches, lotteries were carried out to allocate tickets. Prices varied from €30 (£25) (for a seat behind the goals at a group match) to €600 (£513) (for a seat in the main stand at the final). In addition to individual match tickets, fans could buy packages to see either all matches played by one team, or all matches at one specific venue. In May 2012 UEFA will start sending tickets to fans which bought tickets also immediately UEFA will start selling additional tickets on ticketing website.

TROPHY

Spain’s Iker Casillas had the pleasure of becoming the first captain to lift the updated version of the Henri Delaunay Cup in June 2008, with the new trophy a fitting replacement for the prize that has been synonymous with the UEFA European Championship. The second version of the trophy is based on the original designed by Arthus-Bertrand in 1960 and named after Henri Delaunay, the former president of the French Football Federation and UEFA’s first general secretary, from the body’s founding on 15 June 1954 to 9 November 1955. It is 18cm higher and 2kg heavier than the original, made of sterling silver, and has retained its historical name. The trophy was reincarnated to reflect the scale and size of Europe’s most prestigious international tournament.

The responsibility for creating the original went to Pierre Delaunay, son of Henri, the visionary behind the competition. Henri Delaunay died in 1955 before seeing his idea come to fruition, but the updated prize is testament to his enduring legacy, maintaining its classic style. Minor differences between the original and updated version include the silver base being enlarged to make it stable. In addition, the names of the winning countries that had appeared on the plinth have been engraved on the back of the trophy, which weighs 8kg and is 60cm tall. Unlike the original, which was the work of the Chobillon goldsmith and was later bought by Arthus-Bertrand in Paris, the making of the modern equivalent was entrusted to Asprey London. Asprey, renowned silversmiths, jewellers and goldsmiths, have a long history of trophy-making stretching back to the America’s Cup, which their sister company Garrard produced in 1848. UEFA wanted to improve on the quality but also the scale of the trophy, and have a focal point for the event – it was felt that the original trophy was too small to do this.