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European Football Championship: The “Boxer” falters: England’s concern about duel with DFB-Elf

European Football Championship: The “Boxer” falters: England’s concern about duel with DFB-Elf
European Football Championship: The “Boxer” falters: England’s concern about duel with DFB-Elf

The team is struggling, former players are moaning, and the tabloids are worried: Despite their decent results, a lot is going wrong for England at this European Championship. A duel with Germany would come at an inopportune time.

Harry Kane compared his team to a “boxer in the first round”, the British tabloids are already fearing a “nightmare round of 16”. After a bumpy start to the European Championship, England is worried about a direct knockout duel with the undefeated hosts Germany.

After the group victory of the team of national coach Julian Nagelsmann, a possible revenge for 2021 is actually within reach – and unlike the English 2-0 win three years ago, the great football classic would not take place in Wembley this time, but in Dortmund.

Kane brushes aside concerns

Almost demonstratively, the Three Lions sent Captain Kane to the press podium before the group final against Slovenia this Tuesday (9 p.m./ZDF and MagentaTV) in Cologne. The 30-year-old star striker from German record champions FC Bayern Munich first casually threw a few darts at a journalist in the team’s headquarters in Blankenhain. Then, with complete conviction, he brushed aside the concerns that had been raised in public that they were nervous about a direct duel with the DFB team.

“Of course people expect us to finish first in the group. We expect that too, especially in our current position. But yes, if that doesn’t happen, there is no reason for us to panic,” said Kane, stressing: “We definitely want to win our group. It’s not about avoiding a particular opponent.”

Victory against Slovenia – otherwise the calculations begin

At home, the poor performances so far have once again sparked a discussion about the Three Lions. The points tally of four is OK, but the style of play has left experts such as British football icon Gary Lineker, former striker Alan Shearer and Rio Ferdinand in despair.

Both the team and national coach Gareth Southgate are under heavy criticism. This criticism is likely to increase further if the European Championship runners-up put in a similarly disappointing performance in the duel with the Slovenians as they did against Serbia (1-0) and Denmark (1-1) and lose the group victory.

As second in the table, they would face the DFB selection on Saturday. A duel with the unleashed hosts? In this condition? In Dortmund? With two days less rest? That really isn’t necessary for the counted-out ensemble with a total market value of over a billion euros.

“You know how hard it is”

Regardless of the outcome of the last group match, Kane appealed for more understanding at home. In response to harsh criticism from Lineker, who had described England’s performance against Denmark as “shit” in a podcast, the striker replied: “I don’t want to be disrespectful to a player, especially not to one who deserves it. They have to be honest, but they also have a responsibility as ex-players. The professionals listen to that, it means something to them. We haven’t won anything for a long time. These players were part of that. They know how hard it is in these tournaments.”

Kane demonstratively backed the embattled coach. He could not praise enough what Southgate “has done for this team and the nation,” Kane said, and demanded more respect: “Being England’s coach is a really difficult task, he knows that and we know that. But he is absolutely the right man for the job. All I can say is: get behind him and support him, just like the players do.”

Nevertheless, it is considered likely that their time together – which has not yet been crowned – will end after this summer. However, a possible departure from Southgate should be postponed as long as possible at this European Championship. To do this, the professionals must finally bring their undoubtedly great potential onto the pitch.

“I always judge myself first and know that I can play better. A lot of players in our team think that. But I’m not panicking. I’m just going to keep going,” said Kane, who scored a goal against Denmark but otherwise remained inconspicuous. That should change against Slovenia: “We are all determined to take the next step.”

Source: Stern

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