Saturday, July 13, 2024

Kroos aims to disappoint Real Madrid teammates


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Berlin, July 4: Germany great Toni Kroos hopes the next game isn’t his last.
Heavyweights Germany and Spain clash at the European Championship on Friday, when the winner will advance to the semifinals.
Kroos is ending his playing career after Germany’s last game at Euro 2024. He hopes that will be the final in Berlin’s Olympiastadion. But he knows it could be as soon as Friday if Spain – the most impressive team so far – knocks out the host nation in Stuttgart.“I’m not nostalgic at all,” Kroos said Wednesday at potentially his last press conference as a player. He said he wasn’t assuming Spain “will be my last game. So, I think we can all look forward to seeing each other again.” Kroos has played a key role in lifting the pre-tournament gloom surrounding the German team and turning it to optimism that the hosts can go on to win Euro 2024. It would be a fitting sendoff for a player who has already signed off on a glittering club career by winning the Champions League and Spanish league with Real Madrid.
“It’s pretty difficult to plan a European Championship title but having it as a goal is of course the case,” Kroos said. “I think it will be really difficult to finish more successfully than I left it with Madrid. And now of course I’m trying to do the same here.” Kroos retired from the national team already in 2021, after Germany lost to England in the last 16 of the pandemic-delayed Euro 2020 tournament. But one of the first things Germany coach Julian Nagelsmann did after his appointment in September 2023 was ask the cool-headed midfielder if he’d consider returning to help Germany’s title bid in its home tournament.
Fortunately for Germany – which was really struggling with two defeats and a draw from Nagelsmann’s first four games – Kroos said yes.
It’s arguably the single biggest factor in the team’s upturn as Kroos’ experience and calmness under pressure gave confidence to the players around him. (AP)


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