Top five: Euro rivalries

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Poland and Russia just don't get along.

The two countries haven't seen eye to eye since the 11th century and hundreds of years of war, occupation and conquest weighs down upon the pre-match build-up, ensuring that this Group A encounter is likely to be feisty affair.

The antagonisms date back to the Middle Ages, although the recent 50 years Poland spent as a Soviet satellite haven't helped to smooth relations. As a result, both teams will be keen to snare bragging rights, and a crucial three points, as they look to escape the group stage.

But Poland versus Russia is not the only national rivalry that stirs the passions of its citizens. Whether the cause is rooted in a nation's history off-the-pitch, or in classic or controversial moments on it, some of Europe's heavyweight clashes invoke similarly intense emotions in the fans, players and managers.

France v Italy

A rivalry rooted in their geographical proximity, but exacerbated by recent meetings in high-profile tournament matches.

France beat Italy on penalties on route to a World Cup on home soil in 1998, before rubbing salt in the wound two years later. A golden goal strike by France's David Trezeguet broke Italian hearts and handed France a Euro Championships to go with their World Cup trophy.

They renewed animosities in Germany in 2006, once again finding themselves meeting in a tournament final. Italy got their revenge this time tho, as Zinedine Zidane's headbutt and a series of missed penalties gave Pirlo and co their first World Cup since 1982.

Germany v England

A contest borne out of a disputed goal at the 1966 World Cup final. England got the rub of the green on that occasion, as Geoff Hurst's shot rebounded off the crossbar, onto the ground and out, but the Russian linesman flagged for a goal. Sir Alf Ramsey's side went on to win 4-2, but since then, Germany have largely dominated proceedings on the biggest stage.

Since '66, the Germans have had a strangehold over their rivals, beating England at the 1970, 1990, 2006 World Cups, and at Euro 1996.

The Three Lions triumphed at Euro 2000, an Alan Shearer header giving Kevin Keegan's side a 1-0 victory, but, once again the Germans had the last laugh, beating England 1-0 in the last ever match at the old Wembley Stadium.

Denmark v Sweden

The Scandinavian neighbours enjoy a fierce sporting rivalry, dating back to their first competitive football match in 1913, but they share a common association since the 12th century.

Sweden enjoys a slight advantage in footballing terms, with 45 wins to Denmark's 38, while both have qualified this time around for Euro 2012. But their most famous encounter undoubtedly came in qualifying for the previous European championships.

Sweden had gone 3-0 ahead, before three second-half Danish goals levelled the tie. In the last minute Sweden were awarded a penalty after Christian Poulsen punched Markus Rosenberg in the stomach.

Poulsen was red-carded by referee Herbert Fandel, who was then attacked by a Danish fan, angry at the decision. Fandel abandoned the match, with the penalty kick yet to be taken, but, after an investigation into the incident, Sweden were awarded a 3-0 win.

Netherlands v Germany

A fierce battle between two European footballing heavyweights, who just happen to share a border. Netherlands and Germany each lay claim to a rich football history - Germany's littered with trophies, Netherlands with revolutionary tactical achievements.

Johan Cruyff and the Dutch's Total Football was widely expected to beat Franz Beckenbauer's Germany in the 1974 World Cup final, but despite an early Johan Neeskens goal, Cruyff's side lost 2-1.

Although partly sustained by anti-Dutch resentment at German occupation during World War II, the footballing rivalry really kicked off after this 1974 final, and the injustice at the defeat.

Since then, the teams have played six competitive fixtures, and are finely balanced with two wins, two draws and two losses apiece.

Spain v Portugal

The battle of the Iberian peninsula has become relatively one-sided since Spain's rise to the top of the world rankings. Portugal did beat Spain 1-0 on route to the final on home soil in Euro 2004, but they have been forced to watch on as their Iberian cousins conquer the footballing world with tournament triumphs in 2008 and 2010.

Portugal did get a slight taste of revenge recently when they outplayed Spain in a friendly, beating the reigning World Champions 4-0.

Relations remain friendly, and the two nations offered a joint bid to host the 2018 World Cup which ultimately failed. But on the pitch, with some of the best players in the world, including Xavi, Iniesta and Cristiano Ronaldo, the rivalry remains intense.

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