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83 players in France will be born outside country they will represent at Euros

Just four teams have full squad of players born inside borders – while some teams have as many as 12 born abroad

BY all accounts, Roman Neustadter did all right in the two games he played for Germany.

They were both friendlies, with his first cap in a 0-0 draw against Holland in 2012 and the next in a 4-2 win over Ecuador in 2013.

****** This handou

GETTY IMAGES Roman Neustadter with his Russian passport – he has two caps for Germany

International football friendly: Czech Republic 2 - 1 Russia

GETTY IMAGES Neustadter with Guilherme, a Brazilian-born goalkeeper in the Russian squad

On Saturday night, thanks to some chicanery by Russian president Vladimir Putin, he is expected to play some part in the opening group game against England.

Handy that, especially if you happen to be out of favour with Joachim Low’s World Cup-winning squad.

Russia are not the only country abusing the system, or at least bending the rules in order to pick from a better pool of players.

Of the 24 teams at Euro 2016, a staggering 83 players — 15 per cent — have planted a flag of convenience in another country.

Neustadter is a borderline case because he was born in the Ukrainian city of Dnipropetrovsk during the old Soviet regime.

Albania Training - EURO 2016

REUTERS 12 of Gianni De Biasi’s Albania squad were born outside the country

A combination of two file pictures shows

GETTY IMAGES Brothers Granit, left, and Taulant Xhaka will play on opposite sides when Switzerland meet Albania on Saturday afternoon

His parents moved to Germany when Neustadter was a kid and he appeared to nail his colours to Die Maanschaft when he was picked for their Under-20s in 2008.

Eight years later, after Putin re-nationalised the midfielder with remarkable speed, he made his debut for Russia as a substitute in their 2-1 defeat against the Czech Republic on June 1.

There are countless other examples of international transfers, with some links more tenuous than others.

Lokomotiv Moscow keeper Guilherme, born and raised in Brazil, gained Russian citizenship in November 2015. He is in their 23.

When Switzerland face Albania in Lens Saturday afternoon in Group A, there will be complications all over the pitch.
Of the 23 players picked by Albania, 12 were born outside of the country’s borders.

Six of the squad — Freddie Veseli, Migjen Basha, Shkelzen Gashi, Taulant Xhaka, Arlind Ajeti and Amir Abrashi — were born in Switzerland.

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AP:ASSOCIATED PRESS Portugal have nine players born abroad – Pepe lived in Brazil until he was 18

Screen Shot 2016-06-16 at 15.23.10

Xhaka’s brother Granit, who signed for Arsenal at the end of the season, will line up against him for the Swiss national team.

Albania also boast four former Yugoslavs, a German and a Macedonian in their ranks.

Switzerland have picked eight players born outside the country.

Portugal, with nine players born outside the country, and Turkey (eight) are serial abusers.

We live in a cosmopolitan world, where travel, tourism and job relocation are chief among a number of factors blurring international boundaries.

Czech Republic training

EPA Czech Republic are one of just four teams to have all their players born in country

In its purest form — the Jack Wilshere “English is English” argument — Raheem Sterling would have played for Jamaica in their Copa America clash against Mexico at the Rose Bowl last night.

When Tim Sherwood discussed Jack Grealish’s international future, he told the Aston Villa forward to represent whichever country he felt most attached to.

Although Grealish played for various age groups with the Republic of Ireland, he has pinned his colours to England’s mast.

Fifa rules mean there is no turning back, even though he has never been selected by the Three Lions.

Still, when England do not want you, alternatives often emerge.

When the tournament kicks off, there will be 19 players born in England who will represent other countries — Wales with nine and the Republic of Ireland and Northern Ireland five each. Of the 24 teams, the Czech Republic, Romania, Ukraine and Slovakia are the only squads with players all born in their own country.

The basic premise of international football is to represent the nation of origin or, at the very least, have a strong, emotional bond to the country.

With a system so open to abuse, countries with aspirations to compete at the highest level can be fast-tracked by pulling in players from other countries — giving them a competitive advantage.

At some point, someone has to draw the line.

Tweet @neilashton_

For the latest Euro 2016 news go here: https://www.thesun.co.uk/sport/football/euro-2016/

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