The European Championships of 2012 are set to kick off in just nine days. Netherlands star Robin van Persie is just one of many players looking to translate a quality premiership season into international play. Below are four other names looking to either break out to make international names of themselves or regain past form in this year's European Cup.
5. Wesley Sneijder, Netherlands
The European Championships of 2012 will be the first chance for Sneijder to regain that supreme World Cup form he had going on in international play, which helped propel the Dutch squad to victory in South Africa.
Although his Premiership season at Inter Milan hindered his reputation as one of the league's most dangerous offense weapons, the European Championships will reunite him with his fellow countrymen, with whom he created so much magical play.
Hopefully, the ankle injury he suffered during the warmup against Slovakia isn't too serious, and he is able to play at 100 percent strength come tournament time.
4. Alan Dzagoev, Russia
The attacking midfielder, hailing from CSKA Moscow, plays eerily similar to Chelsea star Frank Lampard. Dzagoev has revealed that Lampard is his idol and partly responsible for how he conducts himself on the field.
As a midfielder who can do more than make that pinpoint pass, Dzagoev has a knack for putting the ball in the back of the net with a killer finish.
He has recorded just four goals in 18 international caps, but the surprisingly talented Dzagoev and the Russian squad may end up shocking the international world.
His 26 goals in 102 games at CSKA show that he exhibits the abilities to consistently spark offensive strikes for his team while on the field.
The 21-year-old is bound to break out in international play at some point in time. The European Championships of 2012 are the stage for this young and talented player to show the world what he is capable of.
3. Yann M'Vila, France
On the other side of the spectrum, we have the 21-year-old defensively minded French midfielder. Yann M'Vila is continuing to rise through the French ranks after breaking into Ligue I in 2009 with Rennes.
This young gun is known through the Ligue for his intensive and extensive all-round game. His speed and strength are two of his biggest assets that will surely assist him when it comes time to play in the European Championships.
Frédéric Antonetti, the manager of Rennes, perfectly summed up M'Vila: "He reads the game like Claude Makélélé, has the presence of Patrick Vieira and can pass the ball like Yaya Touré.''
Given France's somewhat surprising collapse and meltdown at the 2010 World Cup, youthful new talent like M'Vila look to give the French the necessary bolstering to bring their squad back to the elite level they have become accustomed to playing at for so many years.
2. Fernando Torres, Spain
With a strike in the 11th minute during a 4-1 victory against South Korea in a friendly on Wednesday, Torres is exhibiting the dominance he hasn't had for the past few seasons.
When Torres is on his game, however, he is always a force to be reckoned with. While Torres netted just 11 goals in 48 appearances for Chelsea, his charisma with the Spanish team warranted his return for the 2012 European Cup.
After so many years of international disappointment for the Spanish national squad, the 2008 Euro Cup win—more specifically Torres' game-winning goal against Germany—marked the jump start of a golden age for Spanish international football.
An age that Torres surely hopes to play a part in by helping Spain win the 2012 European Championships.
1. Robin Van Persie, Netherlands
The maniacal Dutchman must continue his offensive dominance if the Netherlands squad wants to replicate their 2010 World Cup success.
While the team did not emerge victorious from South Africa, the championship game remained tight for most of the match and one good look by someone of van Persie's caliber could have changed the outcome quite easily.
Van Persie and the Dutch will look to continue their dominance in the international stage at this year's Euro Cup.
While speculations surround his possible departure from Arsenal, he cannot allow the chances of another big payday to cloud his mind. He must focus on being the most complete player on the field at all times in order for the Netherlands to make a successful run.
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