We’re all familiar with England and the Republic of Ireland, but ahead of this evening’s tournament draw, what do we REALLY know about the rest of the nations that will competing in Euro 2012 next summer? Here’s your chance to bone up on them with some little-known facts about the ‘other teams’…
CROATIA: The Croatian national anthem includes the line “Burn down the disco, hang the blessed DJ”, which was stolen by The Smiths for their 1986 hit single, Panic.
RUSSIA: Russian midfielder Igor Semshov has the world’s largest collection of grey pubic hairs, which have been posted to him by ageing Dynamo Moscow supporters following a plea in the club’s matchday programme.
FRANCE: The French squad are planning to eschew the traditional recording of a pre-tournament pop single. Instead, Nicolas Sarkozy has commissioned them to engrave the names of their mothers on to a solid gold banana, which the French President plans to keep for himself.
POLAND: Due to a loophole in UEFA law, Poland believe that, as they are hosts, they can field as many ‘players’ as they can fit on to the pitch. Secret plans are afoot for them to flood the pitch with hundreds of men, women and children during every match in a desperate bid to win the tournament.
ITALY: Due to a complicated administrative error, Italian midfielder Thiago Motta recently celebrated his 108th birthday.
PORTUGAL: The Portugal squad are planning to bond ahead of Euro 2012 by touring the country with their self-produced musical adaptation of ‘The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou’.
GREECE: Owing to the ongoing economic meltdown in their country, the Greek squad have been told that if they progress beyond the group stages of Euro 2012, they can have ‘all the minerals’.
SWEDEN: Veteran Swedish midfielder Anders Svensson says that his longevity at football’s top level is down to the four hours a day he spends leaning against his washing machine. ‘Full spin,’ he says, ‘full fucking spin’.
UKRAINE: The tournament co-hosts are keen to take part with no discernible home advantage over the other teams. Before every match, sports hypnotists will convince their players that they are in fact competing in an impromptu kickabout in a San Francisco park in 1968.
NETHERLANDS: Dutch commentator Gregor Van Der Straaten says that whenever he isn’t commentating on the action during a match, he’ll be repeatedly mumbling “Euro Euro Euro Euro Euro” into his microphone, in the same style as a Kabaddi player.
GERMANY: Coach Joachim Löw eats 500 jelly crocodiles every day.
CZECH REPUBLIC: The Czech government have promised that if the team make it to the final, every child in the country will be given a free ping pong ball filled with heroin.
SPAIN: Spanish midfielder Sergio Busquets is awaiting a decision from UEFA confirming that he will be allowed to play while wearing any of his seven removable noses during the tournament.