|Portugal's Silvestre Varela|
Of course, that ethnic mix is largely a result of the colonial endeavours of those four nations. Interestingly, Spain is an outlier here - it has been a far greater exporter than importer of people from its former colonies, so black Spanish players have been few and far between. Their current squad does however include David Silva, who has Japanese ancestry on his mother's side.
|Germans Sami Khedira (left) and Jerome Boateng (right)|
Over the last decade, a few other European nations have featured players from immigrant backgrounds. The two stars of Sweden's national team in this time have been Henrik Larsson (whose father was Cape Verdean) and Zlatan Ibrahimovic (with Bosnian and Croatian parents). Germany's squad looks radically different to that of 20 years ago; it's current members claim ancestry from Turkey (Mesut Ozil), Ghana (Jerome Boateng), Poland (Lukas Podolski, Miroslav Klose), Spain (Mario Gomez) and Tunisia (Sami Khedira). Switzerland did not appear at this year's Euros, but its current team features numerous ethnic Albanians, Africans and others.
|Mario Balotelli (centre)|
Now we are seeing this diversity entering the lineups of other nations which have traditionally not been as diverse.
One of the best-known figures in the Italian squad is the gifted but temperamental young striker Mario Balotelli, who was born to Ghanaian immigrants but adopted at a young age by an Italian couple. But also in the squad is the defender Angelo Ogbonna, born in Torino of Nigerian parentage.
Greece features Jose Holebas, a left midfielder who was born in Germany to a Greek father and Uruguayan mother.
|Theodor Gebre Selassie of the Czech Republic|
Croatia has a Brazilian player in its ranks - striker Eduardo da Silva -but he represents a different kind of non-indigenous player, the professional footballer who has adopted another nationality as an adult. Spain, Italy and Germany have also featured nationalized Brazilians before, and a cynic would say that such players are motivated less by love for their adopted country and more by the opportunity to play international football that they would not get for the footballing powerhouse that is Brazil.