Mario Gomez, Robin van Persie and Cristiano Ronaldo are the favourites to top-score at Euro 2012.
All three strikers feature in the tournament’s “Group of Death” and Gomez of second-favourites Germany is currently heading the betting.
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The 26-year-old Bayern Munich striker scored 41 goals in 52 appearances for the Champions League finalists last season and has notched 22 in 52 games for his country.
His calibre at the highest level has been questioned, however. He is yet to score at a major tournament and failed against Chelsea last month.
Holland’s van Persie comes into the tournament as the Premier League’s top-scorer but the Arsenal captain has faced similar accusations of profligacy in the big games.
He scored only one group-stage goal en route to the World Cup final in 2010 which pitted The Netherlands against Spain.
van Persie’s peak form and fitness on this occasion could mean that the Dutchman is a different proposition this time.
Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo will seek to silence the talk that he has never delivered on the international stage this summer.
The Portugal captain is under intense pressure to lead his side from the front and replicate his stellar form of last season which saw him score 60 goals.
He missed a penalty in his side’s disappointing friendly defeat against Turkey at the weekend, but Ronaldo is determined to better his underwhelming tournament form since being made captain in 2007 and cannot be overlooked.
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Robert Lewandowski is Poland’s key-man up-front and the Borussia Dortmund striker will be the forward to watch in Group A.
The 23-year-old has an almost goal a game ratio in international football over the past two years with 11 goals in 23 appearances since 2010, and is one of three Dortmund men in the co-host’s line-up.
The Bundesliga Player of the Year may not be the most skilful of footballers on show but he could be the most lethal.
Fernando Llorente should lead the line for Spain in the absence of the injured David Villa and the demise of Fernando Torres.
The Bilbao forward, who scored over a goal every other game in La Liga last season, gives the side an extra aerial dimension at 6’4” and should benefit from the volume of chances created by the masterful Spanish midfield.
Andy Carroll will be England’s main goal-threat in the absence of Wayne Rooney for the first two games and the Liverpool forward should not be discounted.
Carroll could have a devastating impact if he replicates his second-half performance of the FA Cup Final.
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The Wild Cards
Mario Balotelli is set to spear-head Italy’s attack and could earn on-field headlines to add to his off-field column inches in the relatively benign Group C.
The 21-year-old should shrug off a thigh injury to start for The Italians who have been hampered by the latest match fixing scandal.
The Manchester City man has only scored once for the national side in eight appearances, but expect Balotelli to thrive in individual and collective adversity.
Karim Benzema of France is another mercurial talent to watch. He was not selected for the World Cup in 2010 in the wake of a sex scandal and indifferent club form.
The Real Madrid man’s progress since that tournament echoes that of the side under Laurent Blanc. The French have also become favourites to win Group D in light of England’s injuries, and Benzema is in pole position to benefit having joint top-scored in qualifying.
Zlatan Ibrahimovic of Sweden has had a chequered time at international level but has the ability to be one of the players of the tournament, especially after his best-ever goal-tally with AC Milan last season.
Ibrahimovic ended a two year goal drought for Sweden in 2008 and scored twice in that summer’s Euros. He has continued to develop in importance and in 2011 he hit 6 goals in 11 appearances. Ibra’s natural talent could come to the fore this June.
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