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National team: King in flip-flops: European Championship victory for Kroos “almost too kitschy”

National team: King in flip-flops: European Championship victory for Kroos “almost too kitschy”

Toni Kroos has a mission. Ending his brilliant career with the European Championship title would be an unbelievable end. His children are naturally expecting a win at the start of the Scotland campaign.

The king arrived late and was wearing flip-flops. Toni Kroos himself called the idea of ​​ending his extraordinary career in 33 days with the lack of a European Championship win after winning the Champions League “almost too cheesy”. But he would have nothing against such a title soap opera on July 14th in Berlin’s Olympic Stadium. “I’d take it,” said the 34-year-old after a training session in Herzogenaurach that was – as he admitted – a little too long and strenuous for him.

After a good 30 minutes of audience in the team quarters of the national football team, it was unshakeably clear: Kroos is alive and celebrating his comeback role. Cool and with the self-confidence of a winner. That is why Julian Nagelsmann brought him out of DFB retirement for the home tournament. That is why he is a fixed figure for the national coach at the European Championship kick-off on Friday (9 p.m./ZDF and Magenta TV) in Munich against Scotland.

“Of course I’m hungry. That went hand in hand with the decision to come here because I want to be successful. If I didn’t have the idea or the imagination, I wouldn’t have done it,” said Kroos. That was the breath of Real Madrid, that unshakable self-confidence that only knows victory. As is usual in the Kroos household.

His children only know victories

His three children Leon, Amelie and Fin will be in the stadium against Scotland, with expectations that are normal for them. “They haven’t asked about the tactics yet, they don’t really care. But of course they expect a win. Unfortunately, they are a bit spoiled by success, which means they haven’t seen much of the national team in recent years,” joked Kroos.

His teammates should be able to rely on him like little children in the coming weeks. Kroos has earned this aura of infallibility on the pitch. It should rub off on him when things aren’t going well for the DFB team. “If there’s a problem, I’m there. If there’s any doubt about the ball, give it to me. Everything’s fine,” said Kroos, describing his role and his ability. He is the calming factor in the German game. The Toni who never makes a bad pass.

Then nothing can go wrong. Or can it? “The game against Scotland will not be decisive, but it will be important. We have to be there,” demanded the 2014 world champion. It will not be that easy, warned Kroos. He himself experienced the negative spirals at the 2018 World Cup and the last European Championship in 2021. And he closely followed the continuation of the same at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar after his now revised retirement.

Warning about the counterattacks

Consistency is an issue for him. The vulnerability to counterattacks must be reduced to a minimum, especially against the Scots. “It’s not like we have to start flying straight away, I don’t see it that way. But I know what potential we have,” said Kroos.

The Greifswald native only gets nervous away from the football pitch. “That’s private,” he said. Nagelsmann recently reported in Blankenhain that Kroos has also changed as a communicator. No one sits longer at the table with their colleagues in the evening. The Real star is open-minded and friendly. That sounds like an image change in the older footballer.

Antonio Rüdiger, a colleague in Madrid, reported that he had “misjudged” Kroos in previous years with the national team. “I’ve gotten to know him better now at Real Madrid. And I have to say, he’s a very fine guy, a family man and a quiet leader. He’s not someone who talks a lot. But he’s someone who always leads the way on the pitch,” said the German defense chief.

Enjoy the pressure

Kroos can also be more relaxed. Given his successes, no one would see being a loner as a flaw. It is very important to deal sensibly with the special pressure of the home European Championship, he warned. “A home tournament is even more special. We have a great responsibility for the mood in the country in the next few weeks. Knowing this pressure, we must try to enjoy the whole thing,” said the 34-year-old.

Kroos will end his professional career after the tournament, that’s for sure. He could play a maximum of seven games if the German team reaches the final. To achieve this goal, he has also dispensed with major Real celebrations after his historic sixth win of the Champions League. These emotions are “parked in the back of his mind”. They should be dug out after the European Championship, refreshed if possible with new moments of celebration. Kitschy, like a soap opera.

Source: Stern

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