Here are the captains for EURO 2012 below :
Casillas' assuming the captaincy of Spain is seen by some as a an important moment in the emergence of the Spanish's international dynasty, his leadership helping to make locker room divisions a thing of the past. Whereas Spain had previously been seen as a series of issues that would eventually do in the team, such thoughts now seem passe.
Denmark is going to need something special to get out of Euro 2012's toughest group, and that something special may have to come at the back. Agger, their 27-year-old tattoo-artist captain, is capable of being as good a defender as we'll see in the tournament. The Danes may need it.
Lahm has assumed Germany's captaincy in the wake of Michael Ballack's departure from the team. The transition has been seemless if not a blessing, with the less-assuming Lahm shown enough leadership to put the Ballack era in the past while staying unassuming enough to blend into his talented team.
Arshavin came out of the last European Championships as the world's newest soccer star, a result few would have foreseen given he was serving a suspension at the beginning of the event. This summer, he will carry the hopes of a team that missed the 2010 World Cup yet still hopes to approach a repeat of 2008's third place finish.
Lloris is the newest skipper of Euro 2012's qualified squad, his appointment being analyzed as a stability-maintaining appointment by Laurent Blanc. He becomes the third goalkeeper set to wear the armband at this summer's tournament.
Italy's armband goes to its senior member. With 113 caps, Buffon's appearance totaly easily outdistances that of the next-most senior Azzurri-member, Andrea Pirlo (82 caps). Buffon broke into the team when he was 17 but continues to play at a level and position that coule keep him with Italy into his 40s.
Karagounis is in his third decade of play with the national team, having made his debut in 1998. One hundred fifteen caps later, the former Inter Milan and Benfica midfielder will try to lead the 2004 champions back to prominence.
It had confused many how Robbie Keane can continue to be a force for Ireland while failing to crack a lineup at club-level, but with his recent move to LA Galaxy, Keane is getting regular playing time, time augmented by his stay at Aston Villa. Keane already has 114 international caps, 53 goals, and is only 31 years old.
One of the most dynamic right backs in international soccer, Darijo Srna has scored 19 goals in 89 career appearances, and incredibly high rate for somebody who typically lines up as a defender. His attacking prowess means he can also be used in midfield, but on dead balls, it doesn't matter. Srna's powerful free kicks could turn matches this summer.
|Iker Casillas, Spain (Real Madrid)|
|Daniel Agger, Denmark (Liverpool)|
|Philipp Lahm, Germany (Bayern Munich)|
|Andrei Arshavin, Russia (Arsenal/Zenit St. Petersburg)|
|Hugo Lloris, France (Olympique Lyonnais)|
|Gianluigi Buffon, Italy (Juventus)|
|Giorgos Karagounis, Greece (Panathinaikos)|
|Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Sweden (AC Milan)|
One of the world's best strikers, Zlatan has recently been the subject of debate in Sweden, with the national team's followers wondering if the team wouldn't be better without their style-defining talisman. As a recent friendly showed, however, Ibrahimovic's influence can not be denied, with the team rolling in Croatia thanks to Zlatan's mastery of their attack.
Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal (Real Madrid)
Often at the international level, where squads only come together a handful of times each year, the armband frequenly defautls to the nation's best player. Ronaldo both exemplifies and defies that, most notably while sacrificing the health of his (already injured) ankle while ensuring Portugal qualified for the 2010 World Cup.
|Steven Gerrard, England (Liverpool)|
Roy Hodgson named Steven Gerrard as his England captain for June's Euro 2012 campaign. Spurs midfielder, Scott Parker, was one of several other players in contention but the former Liverpool manager Hodgson selected Gerrard on merit. "In my opinion he's the man who merits this distinction," said Hodgson. "I shall be counting on him, of course, to help me as much as he possibly can to build the type of team unity and the type of environment that I think's going to be very necessary for us to thrive in an important tournament." Then again, anyone other than John Terry would be deemed a significant upgrade.
|Andrei Shevchenko, Ukraine (Dynamo Kyiv)|
Shevchenko may be forever (unfairly) linked with his time at Chelsea, but since moving away from Stamford Bridge, Ukraine's captain has smoothly transitioned into his post-superstar stage at Dynamo Kyiv. At 35 years old, Shevchenko is now more fascilitator than sniper, even if he scored three goals in 11 international matches over the last two years.
|Robbie Keane, Republic of Ireland (LA Galaxy)|
|Mark van Bommel, Netherlands (AC Milan)|
At 34-years-old, van Bommel may be entering his last major tournament as Netherlands national team captain, though with his recent form for AC Milan, there's nothing saying he can't be a major player for the Oranje at Brazil 2014. The hard-tackling defensive midfielder will be one of the two pivots in the Netherlands' 4-2-3-1 formation.
|Tomas Rosicky, Czech Republic (Arsenal)|
Rosicky is in his second decade of service for the Czech Republic, having accumulated 85 caps since his debut in 2000. Still a regular in Michal Bilek's midfielder, Rosicky will be tasked with leading the Czechs into the second round out of a relatively even Group A.
|Darijo Srna, Croatia (Shakhtar Donetsk)|
|Jakub "Kuba" Blaszczykowski, Poland (Borussia Dortmund)|
Don't worry about pronouncing his last name. "Kuba" (R) will do. The 26-year-old midfielder has already been capped 49 times for his national team, and in the summer of 2012, he will have the honor of wearing the armband in front of his home nation at a major international tournament.