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Euro 2012 is nearly here and the 16 competing nations have announced the final 23-man squads they hope will propel them to glory in Poland and Ukraine.

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SI.com: Jen Chang: Galaxy-Red Bulls clash whets the appetite; more Monday musingsupdated: Mon May 09 2011 17:01:00

Some random thoughts coming off the weekend action around the world:

SI.com: Ben Lyttleton: Lorient's Gameiro ponders his futureupdated: Sun Mar 27 2011 10:02:00

1987 is hailed as a golden year in French football. It was the year that Karim Benzema was born, as was Samir Nasri, Jeremy Menez and Hatem Ben Arfa. These players made up the squad that won the 2004 U-17 European Championship, beating Cesc Fabregas's Spain 2-1 in the final (it was Nasri that scored the winner).

SI.com: Ben Lyttleton: Marseille's Heinze set for final bowupdated: Sun Mar 13 2011 07:48:00

When Didier Deschamps was appointed coach of Marseille in summer 2009, the first thing he did was rebuild the team's defense. The central-defensive partnership that had started the previous season, Vitorino Hilton and El-Amin Erbate, had flopped big-time and potentially cost Marseille the league title: it finished only three points behind champions Bordeaux, who clinched the trophy on the final day of the season.

SI.com: Ben Lyttleton: Puel under pressure at Lyonupdated: Sun Feb 27 2011 17:03:00

Claude Puel has been Lyon coach for almost three years, and the jury is still out. Puel was appointed after Lyon's unprecedented dominance of Ligue 1 resulted in seven straight titles, but the club has not yet won a trophy under him. It did, however, reach the Champions League semifinals last year for the first time in its history.

SI.com: Ben Lyttleton: Bordeaux struggling to adjust to new realityupdated: Sun Sep 26 2010 14:06:00

Bordeaux broke a French top-flight record when it won the league title in 2008-09, winning its last 11 games to jump four places and overturn a six-point deficit. At the time, it was as though a perfect storm had descended over Les Girondins. Stats later showed that no team that season scored more goals from headers (22), from set-piece moves (25, nine from corners), from substitutes (10) or by coming from behind (23 points).

SI.com: Ben Lyttleton: France still feeling effects of World Cup fiascoupdated: Sun Aug 29 2010 11:11:00

It's been over two months since France's players went on strike during the World Cup in protest of the French football federation's decision to send home striker Nicolas Anelka, but it might as well have been yesterday given the mess the team faces as its Euro 2012 qualifying campaign gets under way.

Lyon reach agreement to sign Gourcuffupdated: Tue Aug 24 2010 16:46:00

Lyon have reached agreement with French league rivals Bordeaux to sign French international playmaker Yoann Gourcuff for a fee of 22 million euros.

Arsenal sign Morocco striker Chamakhupdated: Fri May 21 2010 13:26:00

Arsenal have signed Moroccan international striker Marouane Chamakh from Bordeaux on a free transfer.

Lyon target Bayern Munich scalpupdated: Wed Apr 21 2010 11:32:00

Lyon coach Claude Puel is confident that his team can cause an upset in their European Champions League semifinal first leg against German giants Bayern Munich.

Bayern knock Man Utd out of Champions League; Lyon advanceupdated: Wed Apr 07 2010 17:20:00

Bayern Munich produced a spirited fight back to knock 10-man Manchester United out of Europe's Champions League and set up a semifinal against Lyon.

Bayern comeback stuns Man Utd; Lyon beat Bordeauxupdated: Tue Mar 30 2010 17:47:00

Bayern Munich scored in injury-time to defeat Manchester United 2-1 in the first leg of their Champions League quarter-final, while Lyon beat their French rivals Bordeaux 3-1.

Messi double puts Barcelona in last eight; Bordeaux go throughupdated: Wed Mar 17 2010 18:06:00

Lionel Messi underlined his status as the best player in the world with two inspirational goals and an assist as holders Barcelona cruised into the quarterfinals of the Champions League with a 4-0 victory at home to Stuttgart on Wednesday night.

Robben powers Bayern to top of Bundesligaupdated: Sat Mar 13 2010 17:13:00

Arjen Robben proved the difference for the second time in four days as Bayern Munich came from behind to beat Freiburg 2-1 to leapfrog Schalke at the top of the Bundesliga.

Beckham determined to beat former club Manchester Unitedupdated: Tue Feb 16 2010 11:53:00

David Beckham admits he has mixed feelings ahead of the first leg of AC Milan's Champions League last-16 clash with Manchester United, the club where he made his name as a sporting superstar.

Barcelona add world title to trophy haulupdated: Sat Dec 19 2009 18:18:00

Lionel Messi scored an extra-time winner as Barcelona came from behind to beat Estudiantes 2-1 in the Club World Cup final on Saturday to confirm the Spanish and European champions as the top team on the planet.

The Barcelona effectupdated: Sat Dec 19 2009 18:18:00

CNN's Tracey Holmes joined a packed crowd in Abu Dhabi for the FIFA Club World Cup semi-final match.

Higuain strike gives Real Madrid winupdated: Wed Nov 25 2009 17:57:00

Real Madrid took a step closer to the last 16 of the Champions League after easing past Zurich 1-0 thanks to a first-half goal from Gonzalo Higuain.

Real Madrid held goalless in Spain; Inter stay top in Serie Aupdated: Sun Oct 25 2009 10:50:00

Real Madrid capped a disappointing week by being held goalless by Sporting Gijon in the Spanish Primera Liga on Saturday night.

SI.com: Gabriele Marcotti: Midterm grades for Champions League group stageupdated: Thu Oct 22 2009 14:08:00

We're halfway through the Champions League group stage, which means it's midterm report-card time for Europe's elite. In this evaluation, though, you don't get a straight grade -- you're on a curve based on how you've performed relative to expectations.

Pato nets double as Milan win Bernabeu thrillerupdated: Thu Oct 22 2009 11:05:00

Brazilian Alexandre Pato scored twice as AC Milan stunned Real Madrid 3-2 in a thriller at the Bernabeu to get their Champions League Group C challenge back on track.

Round-up: Sneijder scores last-gasp winnerupdated: Sat Oct 03 2009 18:05:00

Inter Milan needed a last-minute goal by Wesley Sneijder to beat Udinese 2-1 to move top of the Serie A standings on Saturday.

Round-up: Jones double lifts Sunderlandupdated: Sun Sep 27 2009 17:09:00

Kenwyne Jones scored a double as Sunderland fought off a Wolves comeback to register a 5-2 victory in the only English Premier League match on Sunday.

Juventus maintain early pace in Serie Aupdated: Sat Sep 19 2009 17:33:00

Juventus maintained their fierce pace at the top of Serie A with a 2-0 home win over Livorno in Turin on Saturday night.

Diego injury mars Juventus' perfect startupdated: Sat Sep 12 2009 18:15:00

Juventus moved three points clear at the top of Italy's Serie A with a 2-0 victory at Lazio on Saturday, while AC Milan's poor start to the season continued with a 0-0 draw at Livorno.

Barcelona to face Inter in Champions Leagueupdated: Thu Aug 27 2009 14:05:00

Holders Barcelona will face Inter Milan, pitting Samuel Eto'o and Zlatan Ibrahimovic against their former clubs, after the draw for the Champions League group stage was made in Monaco on Thursday.

Bordeaux clinch French title with 1-0 winupdated: Sun May 31 2009 08:20:00

Bordeaux clinched the French league title with a 1-0 win over Caen on a dramatic final day of the season.

Round-up: AZ Alkmaar clinch Dutch titleupdated: Sun Apr 19 2009 17:37:00

AZ Alkmaar were crowned Dutch champions for the first time since 1981 after Ajax were thrashed 6-2 at PSV Eindhoven on Sunday.

Round-up: Lyon, AZ and Celtic stay topupdated: Sat Apr 04 2009 17:39:00

Defending champion Lyon stayed ahead in the tight French title race with a 3-1 victory over Le Mans with star striker Karim Benzema scoring twice.

Roundup: Lyon return to top in Franceupdated: Sun Mar 22 2009 17:10:00

Seven-time reigning champions Lyon went back to the top of the French first division with a 2-0 home win over Sochaux on Sunday.

Roundup: Juve cut the gap at top in Italyupdated: Sat Mar 21 2009 18:39:00

Juventus moved to within four points of Serie A leaders Inter Milan with a 4-1 thrashing of AS Roma in the Stadio Olimpico on Saturday night.

Striker Gignac earns first France call-upupdated: Thu Mar 19 2009 15:09:00

Toulouse striker Andre-Pierre Gignac has been handed his first call-up to the France squad for their two World Cup qualifiers against Lithuania.

Villa 'reserves' crash out to CSKA Moscowupdated: Thu Feb 26 2009 17:42:00

CSKA Moscow produced a professional performance to get past Aston Villa's 'reserves' in the second leg of their UEFA Cup last-32 tie on Thursday, winning 2-0 on the night for a 3-1 aggregate victory.

Milan take on Werder Bremen in UEFA Cupupdated: Fri Dec 19 2008 09:48:00

Italian giants AC Milan will face Bundesliga side Werder Bremen in the last 32 of the UEFA Cup as they continue in their quest to win the only major European trophy that has so far eluded them.

Lyon retain title advantage despite drawupdated: Mon Dec 15 2008 05:29:00

Lyon were held to a scoreless draw by Marseille on Sunday but kept their three-point lead at the top of the French league.

Roma lead Chelsea into Champions KO stageupdated: Tue Dec 09 2008 17:36:00

Didier Drogba delivered the knockout blow as Chelsea finally saw off Romanian challengers Cluj 2-1 to qualify for the last 16 of the Champions League as section runners-up behind Roma.

Lorient stun Marseille with late winnerupdated: Sat Nov 15 2008 16:05:00

Marseille's French title challenge hit the buffers as Lorient came from two goals down to beat them 3-2 at the Stade Velodrome on Saturday.

Coupet axed from France squad for friendlyupdated: Tue Aug 12 2008 15:05:00

France coach Raymond Domenech has opted for youth over experience with veteran goalkeeper Gregory Coupet left out of a 20-man squad for the friendly against Sweden in Gothenburg on August 20.

Lyon clinch seventh straight French crownupdated: Sat May 17 2008 17:04:00

Lyon romped to a seventh successive French League title as a 3-1 win at Auxerre saw them hold off the challenge of Bordeaux who were held 2-2 at relegated Lens.

Bordeaux dumped out of cup on penaltiesupdated: Wed Apr 16 2008 17:07:00

High-flyers Bordeaux have been dumped out of the French Cup at the quarterfinal stage, losing 4-3 on penalties to Ligue Two side Sedan after the match ended in a goalless draw.

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