The 100 Club: Xabi Alonso, Lukas Podolski & the Euro 2012 centurions looks at the stars to hit 100 appearances in Poland and Ukraine, and those who could also reach the milestone by July 1
Racking up a century of caps for your country is one of football's greatest achievements, maybe even the proudest moment of many players' careers. And to do it at a major tournament - especially if it ultimately proves to be a successful one - is the icing on the cake.

Xabi Alonso is therefore on the brink of something very special. With Spain's charge towards a third successive international trophy taking shape, the Real Madrid man will earn his 100th cap when La Roja take on France on Saturday.

To end the summer in triple figures in terms of appearances, as well as with a treble of consecutive championships under his belt, would be a feat that very few other players could match up to.

Euro 2012's centurions
There are two of his team-mates, however, who have come very close. Carles Puyol, who was ruled out of the tournament with a knee injury, sits on the agonising total of 99 caps. Fernando Torres, meanwhile, will have accumulated the same number if he plays in every game left of Euro 2012.

But it's not just the Spaniards having all the fun. Ashley Cole will make his 100th appearance for England in the final, should they get there. It would cap an outstanding year for the left-back, who played a key role in Chelsea's Champions League and FA Cup triumphs. Even the incredible penalty shoot-out victory in the Allianz Arena could not compare to notching up 100 appearances in his country's first major final since 1966.

It may not have been the happiest of occasions, but Damien Duff reached his landmark in Republic of Ireland's Group C farewell against Italy. It may even prove to be the Fulham man's final appearance for his country and, despite a lacklustre performance from the Boys in Green, it would surely be a fitting finale for the long-serving winger.

Even victory in the Allianz Arena could not compare to notching up 100 appearances in England's first major final since 1966

But while Duff may be saying goodbye, Lukas Podolski is only just getting warmed up. After a couple of poor showings in Germany's first two Group B games, the Arsenal-bound man rifled in die Mannschaft's opener on the day of his 100th cap against Denmark last Sunday. He was dropped to the bench in the quarter-final win against Greece.

And what about poor old Rafael van der Vaart? He was brought into the Netherlands starting line-up to add an attacking verve when Bert van Marwijk was up against it, and the Tottenham forward responded in kind by firing in the first goal against Portugal.

But it was not enough for the World Cup 2010 finalists to progress, nor for Van der Vaart to earn his 100th cap; he remains stuck on 99.