Belfast Telegraph

Wednesday 17 September 2014

Euro 2012: The tricksters and dribblers

Cristiano Ronaldo (Portugal)
During his early days at Old Trafford, Cristiano Ronaldo was written off by many as being nothing more than a show pony, all step-overs and tricks without any end product. There can be few people who think that today. While the Portuguese superstar's penchant for fancy footwork has not dwindled, his all-round game has developed by frightening proportions. A nightmare to defend against, Ronaldo's pacy dribbling and quick feet, as well as his eye for the spectacular mark him out as one of the most skilful players in world football. Arguably the best player in the tournament, Portugal will need every last trick from their captain if they are to progress from 'the group of death'.
Arjen Robben (Netherlands)
Well-known in England thanks to his successful spell at Chelsea, Arjen Robben is one of several very talented Dutch players who so narrowly missed out on World Cup glory in 2010. Playing in his second Champions League final this weekend, Robben's pace and trickery have been key components in Bayern Munich's success. An extremely proficient dribbler who often looks to cut back onto his favoured and lethal left foot, the Dutchman is also known for his theatrics and has a not totally unwarranted reputation for diving. While these are unwelcome characteristics, there can be no denying Robben's fantastic skills and along with Rafael van der Vaart, Wesley Sneijder and Robin van Persie he forms part of a formidable Dutch attack.
Nani (Portugal)
Although he has spent much of his career in the shadow of the more illustrious Ronaldo, Nani is an extremely skilful player in his own right and will form a potentially deadly combination with his aforementioned compatriot this summer. While some have questioned the consistency of Nani's performance, when on form his bamboozling step-overs, quick feet and speedy dribbling are a defender's nightmare. His all-round game has also vastly improved and he can provide excellent delivery into the box from wide areas. While Portugal face a tough task getting out of their group, with the combined trickery of Nani and Ronaldo to call upon, they might just spring a few surprises.

Euro 2012 kicks-off in just a matter of weeks and in anticipation the Belfast Telegraph is running down the key factors and people to keep an eye on in Poland and Ukraine this summer.

From free-kick takers to hot-heads, blasts from the past to the youngsters, we'll have it all covered before things kick-off in Warsaw.

Here, we bring you the tricksters and dribblers bound for Euro 2012. These are the players who love a keepy-uppy and a step over, and will be hoping to dazzle defenders as they do the fans.

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