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Anfield awash with emotion as Klopp says farewell

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Anfield awash with emotion as Klopp says farewell

Jurgen Klopp punctuated his opening-day mission statement as Liverpool manager by insisting it is not important what people think about you when you arrive, the true measure of achievement is what they think about you when you leave.

As a beaming Klopp disappeared down the tunnel for the final time as Liverpool manager in front of packed stands at 6.46pm on a glorious Merseyside Sunday night, the German was in no doubt about Anfield’s feelings.

Klopp, clad in a red T-shirt with ‘I’ll Never Walk Alone Again’ on the rear and ‘Thank You Luv’ – the phrase he closely associates with the city of Liverpool – on the front, was accompanied by roars of appreciation, smiles and plenty of tears.

It was the finale of a nine-year thrill ride summed up by a banner stretching across the full length of The Kop before kick-off that provided a neat three-word summary of Klopp’s reign from first day to last.

“Doubters. Believers. Conquerors.”

Liverpool ended a season that brought third place and a Carabao Cup with a 2-0 win over Wolverhampton Wanderers that gave Klopp his 299th victory in 491 games. Of 167 league games at Anfield, he lost only 12.

This was a football match that took place around Klopp, not in front of him.

Indeed, until the celebrations and tributes kicked into gear near the final whistle, the normally highly animated, often agitated, manager was a low-key figure.

Klopp did not stalk the technical area, instead sitting alongside his loyal, long-time lieutenant Peter Krawietz, seemingly content to just take in the closing 90 minutes at the place where he has built a legend.

This was the day when Liverpool and their supporters wanted nothing other than to pay homage to Klopp, his crowning achievements being winning the Champions League in 2019 – the club’s sixth win in the competition – then bringing the league title back to Anfield for the first time in 30 years the following year.

From the moment thousands of Liverpool fans basked in the sunshine on Anfield Road hours before kick-off waiting to greet Klopp one last time as he took his seat at the front of the team coach, this was an occasion that went through the full range of emotions he has brought to the club.

As soon as foot was set inside Anfield, the playlist set the tone with All Things Must Pass by George Harrison followed by The Monkees’ I’m A Believer – another reference to Klopp’s “we must turn doubters into believers” message in his opening address.

There was even a somewhat suspect German version of The Beatles’ I Feel Fine, the anthem adopted by Liverpool’s fans as I’m So Glad Jurgen Is A Red.

Klopp looked emotional as Anfield belted out You’ll Never Walk Alone, owner John W Henry flying in from Boston, impassive behind his sunglasses, to take a seat in the directors’ box shortly before kick-off, wanting to deliver his own personal thanks to the man who helped him fulfil the dreams he had for Liverpool.

Three sides of Anfield were transformed by mosaics – ‘Danke’ in the Anfield Road, ‘Jurgen’ stretching the expanse of the Sir Kenny Dalglish Stand, with ‘YNWA’ on The Kop.

Klopp stayed seated, head bowed, clad in a black baseball cap and black T-shirt. The final act of a dramatic sporting story had begun.

In reality, the game was little more than a pleasant backdrop to the Klopp farewell – first-half goals from Alex Mac Allister and Jarell Quansah giving Liverpool a deserved 2-0 win.

And then it was time for the finale all Anfield had been waiting for.

Seconds from the final whistle, Klopp stood up and went along his backroom team one by one, all grabbed in the familiar bearhug.

His only mis-step all afternoon was going slightly too early through a guard of honour formed by Liverpool’s players and officials, but no matter – he did another lap for good measure before approaching a platform of club dignitaries to thunderous roars and applause.

He made his way down a line including Henry, chief executive Billy Hogan, chairman Tom Werner and club legend Sir Kenny Dalglish before receiving a presentation recording the honours he has brought to Anfield.

Klopp delivered a pre-recorded message on giant screens to Borussia Dortmund’s supporters when he left the club, after breaking down in tears when he addressed fans on leaving Mainz.

No such worries this time.

Anfield has no screens but this was no problem for Klopp, who was in boisterous mood as he took the microphone.

He said “I’m so happy. I can’t believe it” before bursting into song as an instrument for passing the Liverpool torch from himself to soon-to-be-annointed successor Arne Slot.

Simply replacing his own name with Slot’s, Klopp told Anfield what they must do when the Dutchman arrives, singing: “Arne Slot, na na na na na” to the tune of Opus’ Live Is Life.

As with all Klopp’s demands, expect them to follow to the letter.

If Slot was watching, he may have felt daunted by the task of replacing a manager and personality plenty believe is irreplaceable but he would have been hugely grateful for such an endorsement from his predecessor, even if it was a musical one.

Preaching to the most converted fanbase in football, Klopp said: “We have you, the superpower of world football. We decide if we are worried or excited. We decide if we believe. We decide if we trust or don’t trust and since today I am one of you and I keep believing in you.”

And then it was time for one final round of Klopp fist pumps in front of The Kop, this time accompanied by his support staff, met with the usual staccato roars.

Anfield demanded one final encore of a scene acted out at the end of so many triumphs. Klopp obliged – six for The Kop and three for the surrounding stands.

“I love you to bits,” shouted Klopp, who delivering an optimistic parting shot as he said: “It doesn’t feel like an end. It just feels like a start. Today I saw a football team full of talent, youth, creativity, desire and greed.”

As Klopp pulled out of Anfield late on Sunday night and left Liverpool behind after his long farewell, the curtain closed on an era.

The murals adorning the sides of houses close to Anfield will remain as reminders of the seismic impact Jurgen Klopp had on Liverpool – but the man who made doubters believers was gone.

Culled from BBC 

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Euro 2024

All you need to know about Euro 2024

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Held in Germany, Euro 2024 will officially begin on Friday, 14 June 2024 at the Allianz Arena, home of Bayern Munich. Scotland will be the

BBC Sport provides the lowdown on all the key details for Euro 2024.

When will the tournament start?
Held in Germany, Euro 2024 will officially begin on Friday, 14 June 2024 at the Allianz Arena, home of Bayern Munich. Scotland will be the team facing the hosts in the first match to kick off the tournament.

It will continue for a month and conclude on Sunday, 14 July at the Olympiastadion in Berlin.

This will be the first time that Germany has hosted the tournament since reunification, with the 1988 edition held in West Germany.

Who are the favourites?

At the time of writing, England are favourites at 7/2 and France 4/1 with the bookmakers, while hosts Germany are 5/1.

The next closest is Spain at 8/1, while Scotland are 100/1 to go all the way.

What are the groups?
Group A: Germany, Scotland, Hungary, Switzerland

Group B: Spain, Croatia, Italy, Albania

Group C: Slovenia, Denmark, Serbia, England

Group D: Poland, Netherlands, Austria, France

Group E: Belgium, Slovakia, Romania, Ukraine

Group F: Turkey, Georgia, Portugal, Czech Republic

What is the format?
The format will be the same as for Euro 2020.

The top two teams in each group will progress to the round of 16, along with the four best third-placed finishers.

How can I watch it?
BBC and ITV will share broadcasting coverage of Euro 2024 in the UK, following the pattern that was in place for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar and previous European Championships.

Where are England and Scotland going to be playing?
England’s group-stage matches: 16 June v Serbia in Gelsenkirchen (20:00 BST), 20 June v Denmark in Frankfurt (17:00 BST), 25 June v Slovenia in Cologne (20:00 BST).

Who could they meet in the knockouts?
If England top Group C, they will face one of the third-placed teams from Group D, E or F in the last 16.

The Three Lions would face the winner of Group A in the last 16 if they finish second in the group.

If Scotland top Group A they’ll face the second-placed team from Group C, so one of England, Denmark, Slovenia and Serbia.

Should Steve Clarke’s side finish second, they’ll face the second-placed team from Group B, so one of Spain, Albania, Croatia and Italy.

Both sides could also progress as one of the four best third-placed teams in the group stage.

Who are the form teams?
Coming into the tournament, six teams were unbeaten during qualifying – France, England, Portugal, Belgium, Romania and Hungary.

Portugal are the only side who won every match, ending qualifying having scored 36 goals and conceding only two.

Spain and Scotland lost only one match, while Turkey and Austria also qualified with equally impressive records.

Despite Portugal winning every single qualifying match, they did not have the top goalscorer across these games. That was Inter Milan striker Romelu Lukaku, who notched 14 goals in eight matches for Belgium.

Which stadiums might we see?

The aforementioned Allianz Arena and Olympiastadion will both be seen throughout the tournament but there are 10 host cities in total, including Cologne and Dortmund.

Signal Iduna Park, home of Borussia Dortmund’s ‘yellow wall’, will host matches in Groups B, D and F, while also being selected as one of the venues for the last 16 and the semi-finals.

Here is the full list of venues for the tournament:

Berlin: Olympiastadion (70,000 capacity)

Cologne: Cologne Stadium (47,000),

Dortmund: BVB Stadion Dortmund (66,000)

Dusseldorf: Dusseldorf Arena (47,000)

Frankfurt: Frankfurt Arena (48,000)

Gelsenkirchen: Arena AufSchalke (50,000)

Hamburg: Volksparkstadion Hamburg (50,000)

Leipzig: Leipzig Stadium (42,000)

Munich: Munich Football Arena (67,000)

Stuttgart: Stuttgart Arena (54,000)

Are there any key omissions?
Manchester City forward Erling Haaland and Arsenal captain Martin Odegaard will play no part in the competition in the summer as Norway failed to qualify.

In the same group as Spain and Scotland, they didn’t accumulate enough points to gain an automatic spot and cannot qualify via the play-offs either.

Sweden are another notable nation that will not play a part in Germany, failing to qualify for the first time since 1996.

When are the Euro 2024 fixtures?
Friday, 14 June

Germany v Scotland (20:00 – Group A)

Saturday, 15 June

Hungary v Switzerland (14:00 – Group A)

Spain v Croatia (17:00 – Group B)

Italy v Albania (20:00 – Group B)

Sunday, 16 June

Poland v Netherlands (14:00 – Group D)

Slovenia v Denmark (17:00 – Group C)

Serbia v England (20:00 – Group C)

Monday, 17 June

Romania v Ukraine (14:00 – Group E)

Belgium v Slovakia (17:00 – Group E)

Austria v France (20:00 – Group D)

Tuesday, 18 June

Turkey v Georgia (17:00 – Group F)

Portugal v Czech Republic (20:00 – Group F)

Wednesday, 19 June

Croatia v Albania (14:00 – Group B)

Germany v Hungary (17:00 – Group A)

Scotland v Switzerland (20:00 – Group A)

Thursday, 20 June

Slovenia v Serbia (14:00 – Group C)

Denmark v England (17:00 – Group C)

Spain v Italy (20:00 – Group B)

Friday, 21 June

Slovakia v Ukraine (14:00 – Group E)

Poland v Austria (17:00 – Group D)

Netherland v France (20:00 – Group D)

Saturday, 22 June

Georgia v Czech Republic (14:00 – Group F)

Turkey v Portugal (17:00 – Group F)

Belgium v Romania (20:00 – Group E)

Sunday, 23 June

Scotland v Hungary (20:00 – Group A)

Switzerland v Germany (20:00 – Group A)

Monday, 24 June

Albania v Spain (20:00 – Group B)

Croatia v Italy (20:00 – Group B)

Tuesday, 25 June

France v Poland (17:00 – Group D)

Netherlands v Austria (17:00 – Group D)

Denmark v Serbia (20:00 – Group C)

England v Slovenia (20:00 – Group C)

Wednesday, 26 June

Slovakia v Romania (17:00 – Group E)

Ukraine v Belgium (17:00 – Group E)

Czech Republic v Turkey (20:00 – Group F)

Georgia v Portugal (20:00 – Group F)

 

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Euro 2024

Dutch call up Maatsen as De Jong, Koopmeiners out

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Netherlands and Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong has been ruled out of this summer's European Championship through injury.

Netherlands and Barcelona midfielder Frenkie de Jong has been ruled out of this summer’s European Championship through injury.

De Jong, 27, played just three times for his club after suffering an ankle injury in March.

He was included in Ronald Koeman’s Euro 2024 squad despite struggling with his recovery, but has been forced to pull out of the tournament.

On Tuesday, Atalanta midfielder Teun Koopmeiners was also ruled out after injuring himself in the warm-up before the Netherlands’ 4-0 friendly win against Iceland on Monday evening.

The 26-year-old, who has 21 caps, played 51 games for Atalanta last season as they won the Europa League and finished fourth in Serie A.

Chelsea defender Ian Maatsen, 22, who spent last season on loan at Borussia Dortmund, has been added to the Dutch squad and was travelling to join them in Wolfsburg.

The Netherlands begin their Euros campaign on Sunday when they play Poland in Group D at 14:00 BST, while they also face France and Austria in the group stage.

De Jong has played 54 times for his country, scoring twice.

 

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Euro 2024

From Water Carrier To Serial Winner – Deschamps Seeks More History

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Longevity is a rare gift in football management, but Didier Deschamps has certainly been afforded that as France coach. The 55-year-old has

Longevity is a rare gift in football management, but Didier Deschamps has certainly been afforded that as France coach.

The 55-year-old has been in charge since 2012 and in that time he has led his country to three out of five possible finals and won one World Cup.

That success in 2018 meant he joined a select few who have won a world title both as a manager and a player, and this summer he has the chance to make more history.

Should he lead France to glory in Germany, he will become only the second person to win a European Championship as both a player and a manager, after German Berti Vogts, and the first to have achieved the ‘double double’

Not bad for someone who was once dismissed as a “water carrier”.

From ‘water carrier’ to serial winner
Didier Deschamps captained Marseille to the 1993 Champions League when he was 24

Deschamps’ career both as a player and an international manager stands among the best.

Widely regarded as one of the best defensive midfielders of his generation, the former Marseille, Juventus and Chelsea player won two French league titles, three Serie A championships, and two Champions League trophies.

His unglamorous yet key role was famously described as that of “a water carrier” by his former France team-mate Eric Cantona, who suggested his role was simple – win the ball then give it to more creative team-mates.

“Deschamps gets by because he gives 100%, but he’ll never be anything more than a water carrier,” Cantona said in an interview in 1996.

“You find players like him on every street corner.”

Deschamps could not resist a retort. “How many players can you find on street corners who have won two European Cups?” he replied.

But in the main he did his talking on the pitch.

A natural leader, he became the youngest captain to lift the Champions League with Marseille in 1993 then led his country to World Cup success five years later.

Former France defender Lilian Thuram, who was Deschamps’ team-mate in that 1998 win, told BBC Sport: “Deschamps, the captain, he was the one who led the way. He was a true leader of that team.

“Knowing him then, you can see how he became a manager and won the World Cup, because he had that drive within him.”

Management a natural next step
Didier Deschamps is now in his 12th year as France manager

When Deschamps retired from playing in 2001, moving into management seemed the sensible progression for someone praised throughout his career for his leadership skills.

He had spells in charge of Monaco, Juventus and Marseille before becoming France manager in 2012.

His arrival came two years after a catastrophic World Cup in 2010 for Les Bleus under Raymond Domenech.

The France squad was fractured, with players refusing to train in protest at the French Football Federation’s decision to send home striker Nicolas Anelka after he argued with Domenech.

Unity was something Deschamps emphasised above all else when he took charge and he soon fashioned a cohesive side that once again was a force at major tournaments.

They reached the quarter-finals of the 2014 World Cup, losing to eventual winners Germany, and made the final of Euro 2016, which they hosted, but were beaten 1-0 by Portugal.

The upward trend continued, though, as France triumphed at the 2018 World Cup in Russia.

A crucial moment in that success came after they beat Argentina 4-3 in a thrilling last-16 match.

Afterwards, some of the players had gone out and were noisy on their return, waking up those sleeping when defender Adil Rami sprayed a fire extinguisher in the hotel corridor.

Philippe Tournon, France’s press officer at the time, told the BBC documentary ‘How To Win The World Cup’ that Deschamps’ response highlighted his man-management skills.

“My room was next to Didier’s and I thought he was ready to tear them apart,” he said.

“Didier had a word and, with his sixth sense of his relationship with the players and the unity of the group, told me ‘if I lay into them it might break something we’ve been building for five or six weeks’.”

Deschamps, of course, is not flawless and after they were knocked out of Euro 2020 in the last 16 by Switzerland he was criticised for getting his tactics and team selections wrong.

He responded to the critics and doubters by leading France to their second successive World Cup final in Qatar two years later, where they were beaten on penalties by Argentina after a thrilling 3-3 draw.

One last chance for European glory as a coach?
Deschamps won the European Championship as a player in 2000, which is the last time France won the tournament

During that World Cup run, Deschamps was again praised by those who played for him.

“Our coach believes in us being a group, being a team,” striker Antoine Griezmann said.

“We’re a group that lives well together. I see it in training, too. Everyone gives 100 per cent and we have the perfect set-up to take us as far as possible.”

The French Football Federation agreed, rewarded Deschamps with a new contract to keep him in charge of France until the 2026 World Cup.

France are among the favourites to triumph in Germany and lift their first European Championship in 24 years.

Should they succeed, the “water carrier” will have earned the right to be considered arguably the greatest international manager of all time.

-BBC

 

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