FRANCE: Aurélie Queau
'There’s no way I’ll let EURO 2012 pass me by. I'm an Erasmus student which means I'm in student accommodation in the Erasmus Building in Den Bosch that houses all students with a scholarship of this kind. We’ve already arranged to watch the football matches together in the building’s bar. The building is home to a multitude of nationalities: French, German, Polish and Spanish, so we’re in for a great time! If France is eliminated from the championship I’ll be pulling for Holland. Either way, I’ll be here this summer as I have to work. I’m from Brittany but have no idea what’s going on at home at the moment. Without French radio or TV it’s difficult to get a feel for the French football fever. To be honest, I don’t think France stands much of a chance in this tournament. I think Portugal or England are the most likely winners. And Holland will make it to the semi-finals.'
POLAND: Paulina Lenik
'I’m from Krakow, Poland's second largest city. It won’t host any matches, but it will be a training venue where a few teams including the Dutch squad will be training and staying over. Which means my parents will be right in the midst of all the action: my dad in particular is delighted! I even looked into the prices of match tickets, but they were ridiculously expensive and it's not as if I'm a huge soccer fan. And although I’m quite thrilled that Poland will be competing in EURO 2012, I realize they don’t stand much of a chance. I imagine Spain and Portugal are the main contenders for the Cup. Outfit-wise I will obviously be sporting the red and white colours, with my arms painted and my body draped in the national flag. Partly because Poland is a host country, a special mascot has been created: a red and white doll with a punk hairstyle, accompanied by a great selection of merchandise. A lot of Polish football fans will undoubtedly get hold of those dolls. Apart from that, we’re into beer and barbecue parties during matches.'
GERMANY: Malte Schunk
'I've been a huge football fan since childhood. I closely follow the exploits of the Bundesliga teams and never miss out on the international tournaments. In other words, I’m really looking forward to EURO 2012! I’ll be in Berlin for a work placement at that stage, so I’ll be right in the thick of things. I would have liked to travel to Poland or the Ukraine, but I was unlucky in the ticket lottery. So now I’ll just be watching the matches in the pub, or at home with friends or at work with colleagues. I do want to try and see all of the matches. As far as chances are concerned, to be honest I don’t think the Dutch team will progress beyond the group phase. The group is simply too strong, despite the fact that the Dutch squad is one of the best teams in the world. I really have high expectations for the German team: I hope we’ll win the Cup this year! As for rituals, of course I’ll be singing along with the national anthem and I’ll be wearing the national colours. And for the rest, I think I'll stick to the good old ritual drinking sessions!'
SPAIN: Rosa Marlene Rodríguez Dorta
'I only enjoy watching football if Real Madrid or Barcelona are on, the two best teams in Spain, or the Spanish national side. During the European Championships the only matches I watch on TV are the ones Spain plays in. As soon as I have finished my preliminary exams I'll be going back to Tenerife so that's where I'll be watching part of the tournament. I think there’s a good chance Holland and Spain will be really successful. After all, it’s not for nothing they faced each other in the World Cup final of 2010. Although it goes without saying that Spain has the better team. We really do have good players. In Spain people traditionally watch important matches in public squares, beer in hand and dressed up in the yellow and red attire. If the team wins, hordes of people get in their cars, drive around while honking the horn and waving the Spanish flag. The Spanish simply go nuts.'
ITALY: Antonio Costa
'I’m a true football junkie. I live in Annecy, a small town in the French Alps but feel Italian through and through. My mother is from Sicily and my father from Venice, but we’ve been living in France for quite some time now. But in EURO 2012 I’ll be supporting Italy, and even if we are eliminated I won't be backing France. When it comes to football, the two countries are true archenemies. When my French friends and I watch the matches from home, they always wind me up when I show up in my Italian gear. I bought the official Italian team shirt that I’ll obviously be wearing, and I’ll be bringing the Italian flag. We bait each other endlessly in clashes between France and Italy. Hopefully Italy will manage to get far, but I think German, Spain and Holland are most likely to progress to the latter stages. Although Holland will find their group with Portugal and Germany a hard nut to crack.'
GERMANY: Noemi Klein
'At home I was brought up on football. My parents, my brother, my boyfriend: they all watch. I sometimes watch the Bundesliga matches and I’ll definitely be watching the European Football Championship. I’m very confident about Germany’s chances. We really have a strong team this year. I’m not really that familiar with the Dutch team, but I'm convinced our two teams will ensure their spot as team winners. I read that Germany will be playing in white and green during the championship, so I’ll be wearing a matching outfit. To celebrate tradition, Germans eat bratwurst and curreywurst during the matches, but as I’m a vegetarian I’ll content myself with vegetarian snacks. Indie rock ban Sportfreunde Stiller are composing a special song as they do for every World and European Football Championship. Undoubtedly they’ll come up with another hit song this year.' [LJ]