Euro 2016: Top teams, top cuisine and the occasional cheat meal

Gareth Bale of Wales during the Euro 2016 group B preliminary round match between Russia and Wales at Stade Municipal in Toulouse on June 20, 2016.
Gareth Bale of Wales during the Euro 2016 group B preliminary round match between Russia and Wales at Stade Municipal in Toulouse on June 20, 2016.PHOTO: EPA

SINGAPORE - The modern professional footballer is not only expected to perform on the field, he has to take proper care of his nutrition. Feeding him junk food is just like pumping diesel into a Formula One car.

It is no different at Euro 2016, where the top pros observe strict diets to keep their bodies in optimal shape.

Here is a look at how some of the national squads refuel and recharge for the month-long tournament.

England

While unhealthy food is understandably restricted for England's finest, the Three Lions are also encouraged to eat... to the tune of five meals a day.

Having cooked for Hollywood stars like Liam Neeson and Samuel L. Jackson, chef Tim De'ath's job is now to feed Roy Hodgson's men in France.

And De'ath has prepared a spread of spinach chicken wraps, sushi, sashimi and pitta breads for Wayne Rooney and Co. to enjoy. And they can tuck in to salads made from organic produce and only white meat will be served during the day while red meat, which takes longer to digest, will be served during dinner.

Tea time will see him prepare oatcakes with cottage cheese and salmon. And sweet treats like apple crumble, custards and brownies will be served in small portions.

France

Fresh ingredients is the order of the day for the host nation. Never frozen and delivered in small shipments to Les Bleus' base in Clairefontaine, the French players consume up to 50kg of fruit and vegetables every day, 100kg of pasta on a weekly basis and are even allowed to indulge in a few bars of chocolate.

Coach Didier Deschamps has allowed juicy burgers or delicious pizzas to be served to celebrate match victories.

Looking at how France scored those late, late goals against Romania and Albania, Olivier Giroud and gang really wanted those burgers and pizzas really badly.

Wales

When the chips are down... Wales look to the deep fryer to perk themselves up.

After the demoralising 2-1 defeat to England, the Dragons were given a day off to load up on a cheat meal. And Euro 2016 leading scorer Gareth Bale showed the way by wolfing down a burger with chips. The Galactico added a Nutella pancake for an added sugar rush.

The sinful meal did wonders as Wales went on to crush Russia 3-0 in their next game to top their group. England, powered by organised and wholesome superfoods, had to settle for second place. That's Hamburger 1 - Broccoli 0.

Germany

To aid their quest for a record fourth European title, Germany have recruited the kitchen services of Holger Stromberg - the country's youngest Michelin-starred chef.

With the German squad since 2007, the 44-year-old is a strong believer of using the finest ingredients from Germany where he makes sure to import the best herbs and spices .

Specialising in German cuisine, Stromberg is also not afraid to think out of the box and whip up exotic gourmet meals for Die Mannschaft. Early on in his tenure, one of his famous dishes is poppy seed dumplings. However, they almost resulted in the entire team testing positive for banned substances.

Italy

Mama mia! Azzurri coach Antonio Conte has raised quite a few eyebrows when pasta (yes, pasta!) is banned from Italy's camp for Euro 2016. That is like depriving Singaporeans of chicken rice, roti prata and nasi lemak.

Also on his prohibited list are pizzas, breadsticks, croissants, ice-cream, sweets and potato chips. Only pasta made from Khorasan wheat, which is high in protein, dietary fibre, vitamin B and minerals will be served to his players.

"Becoming a player is a dream, not a duty. Therefore you have to work for it," Conte told calciomercato.it.

Looking at his banned list, the new Chelsea manager really means business.