After a good second half of the season in Italy Javier Pastore was called up to the Argentinian national squad by Diego Maradona. During training he has impressed everybody, although he is still unlikely to force his way into the starting line up. He will feature from the bench and will play whenever Juan Sebastian Veron is unable to. Seeing as Veron is now 35 years old and has featured in nearly all of Estudiantes matches for the past 18 months, fatigue is likely to be an issue. Pastore will have enough minutes to impress. He has flair, an eye for a good pass and is wiser on the pitch than his mere 20 years suggest. Before he moved to Palermo he was linked with Liverpool and Valencia but perhaps even a bigger club beckons if he has a good tournament.
Ninis has only 4 caps for the Greek national team but he would have had more if Otto Rehagel, the Greece coach, did not have such a preference for older more experienced players. Were it just a case of talent Sotiris Ninis would be the first name in the starting line up. Technically gifted, the attacking midfielder Ninis frustrates and amazes. Capable of the sublime and the ridiculous, Ninis needs to find the consistency that the top players in the world possess. He is likely to feature from the substitutes bench because Rehagel’s preferred system does not allow for flair players from the start. Having developed a reputation as the main source of excitement and flair in the Greek team he has been linked with Manchester United, AC Milan and Juventus. Ninis has just won his first Greek league title with his team Panathinaikos and has indicated he will stay for another season, at least, to try and make his mark in the Champions League before moving abroad.
The teenager has only appeared for Denmark 3 times but is already seen as the future star of the national side. A regular in the national youth teams, Eriksen has developed into a senior player with the whole country watching him. The young prodigy for the last five years, only recently has Eriksen started to demonstrate his talent on the professional stage. At 16 years old Ajax signed him for €1 million from Odense, he finally made his debut earlier this year. He only has 15 senior appearances for Ajax to his name but is already attracting the interest of even bigger clubs. He is a play making midfielder. The Danish coach Morten Olsen has suggested Eriksen is ready to start matches at the tournament, playing just behind Niklas Bendtner, but the likelihood is Eriksen will have to make an impact from the bench. At first glance, he is the type of player that connoisseurs will admire and others will question. Should he make one sublime assist that sends Denmark into the knockout stages he will silence all the doubters. He definitely has the capability.