Sudden death

Euro security plan

GENEVA: Switzerland are not only enlisting foreign police to keep fans in line at Euro 2008, they are also bringing in German private security personnel. Private firms are responsible for security in the stadia and their surroundings, in public viewing zones, in team hotels, and around training grounds. The police force would take care of the rest. Switzerland are mobilising about 31,200 police officers and soldiers. Foreign police will also supplement efforts. Germany alone will supply 1,700 officers while France will send 750 officers to back up the Swiss police. Croatia, Poland, Sweden, Greece, Russia and Spain will also send reinforcements. — AFP

Toni favours Cassano

ROME: Italy foward Luca Toni likened controversial striker Antonio Cassano to France star Franck Ribery during Italy’s pre-Euro 2008 training camp near Florence on Monday. Cassano has been included in the provisional 24-man squad named by Italy coach Roberto Donadoni for this week’s training camp. Donadoni must drop one name from his list by Wednesday and that is likely to be either Cassano or veteran striker Alessandro Del Piero. But Bayern Munich forward Toni believes Cassano has a lot to offer the Italy squad and compared him to his club teammate, winger Ribery. — AFP

Ballack joins team

HOMBURG: Captain Michael Ballack joined the Germany team on Monday and proclaimed himself ready to play in a friendly against Belarus on Tuesday. Ballack missed the first week of Germany’s training camp on the Balearic island of Mallorca because of the Champions League final. “I am here to play immediately,” Ballack said after catching up with the team that flew from Mallorca for the game in Kaiserslautern, in southern Germany. “I’ve put the (Champions League) loss behind me and I am looking ahead.” Germany left strikers Mario Gomez and Kevin Kuranyi and four other players behind at its training camp on Mallorca. — AP

Spain begin training

MADRID: Spain’s national team met up on Monday to begin preparations for next month’s European Championship, which they seek to win for the first time in 44 years. Led in attack by Liverpool striker Fernando Torres, prompted by skillful Arsenal midfielder Cesc Fabregas and protected by Real Madrid goalkeeper Iker Casillas, the Luis Aragones-coached team is ranked as one of the favourites. However, Spain’s win at the 1964 European Championship is their only major international success, casting doubts on success at Euro 2008. The 23 players selected by Aragones underwent routine medicals late on Monday, but did not train. — AP