The best players in Europe will converge on Poland and Ukraine this summer as they look to inspire their respective countries to glory at Euro 2012.
Superstars such as Mario Balotelli, Zlatan Ibrahimovic, Mesut Ozil, Franck Ribery, Cristiano Ronaldo, Wayne Rooney, Robin van Persie and Xavi will invariably be hogging the headlines throughout the finals, but a group of 12 men will also be playing a vital role in the tournament: the referees.
Now, more than ever, match officials are under heavy scrutiny as they hold the fate of 16 European nations in their hands. With goal-line technology still too premature for this summer's championship, the eyes of the world will remain fixed on the referees and their assistants.
Here, Goal.com takes an in-depth look at the 12 main match officials appointed by the Uefa Referees Committee for Euro 2012.
|THE 12 REFEREES|
|Cuneyt Cakır||Nicola Rizzoli|
|Jonas Eriksson||Damir Skomina|
|Viktor Kassai||Wolfgang Stark|
|Bjorn Kuipers||Craig Thomson|
|Stephane Lannoy||Carlos Velasco Carballo|
|Pedro Proenca||Howard Webb|