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Jurgen Klinsmann tips England to win Euro 2024 – and Germans will toast victory

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JURGEN KLINSMANN knows more than most about the fierce footballing rivalry between England and his homeland.

The legendary German goal machine helped to break English hearts in semi-final penalty shootouts at both Italia 90 and Euro 96.

SunSport's Euro columnist Jurgen Klinsmann is backing England to win Euro 2024

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SunSport’s Euro columnist Jurgen Klinsmann is backing England to win Euro 2024
Klinsmann, with our man Dave Kidd, believes Germans would welcome England as champs

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Klinsmann, with our man Dave Kidd, believes Germans would welcome England as champsCredit: Darren Fletcher
He believes Harry Kane's success at Bayern Munich has played a large role in making England popular

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He believes Harry Kane’s success at Bayern Munich has played a large role in making England popularCredit: Getty

So it might surprise you to hear Klinsmann’s belief that, if Gareth Southgate’s side win this summer’s Euros, they would be popular champions in Germany — “respected and admired” as a team who have long deserved a major trophy.

Klinsmann, who will be a SunSport columnist throughout the Euros, said: “If England win it would be massively respected in Germany.

“Maybe not if they beat Germany in the final . . . but if Germany were already out and England win, it would be respected and admired.

“It helps to have Harry Kane there — he’s adored in Germany after settling in so well at Bayern Munich — and Jude  Bellingham, who played so well for Borussia Dortmund.

“The English league has always been the most watched and admired foreign league in Germany.

“Even when I was a kid watching those great Liverpool teams.

“I sense now is the time to get your trophy that you deserve. You deserved it at the last Euros.

“You need some luck. You’re going to get another penalty shootout because it’s part of tournaments.

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“But England now have so much experience that they should have the belief to get it done.”

It seems, then, that the bitterness in this rivalry is largely a one-way street.

Ripped Jude Bellingham shows off skills in his pants as England star becomes face of Kim Kardashian label

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And while many nations regard England’s anthem ‘Three Lions’, with its ‘football’s coming home’ chorus, as arrogant, Klinsmann says the song is loved and fully understood in Germany.

The Germans hijacked the Baddiel & Skinner/Lightning Seeds tune after winning the Euros at Wembley 28 years ago, after a Southgate penalty miss condemned England to a cruel semi-final defeat.

And Klinsmann, who has managed Germany, the United States and South Korea at major tournaments, said: “We adopted the song totally.

“I love it and I love the approach of the English fans to take it as their anthem. It still drives the fan culture — this hope, this focus on 1966.

“You reach the knockout stage and that song, it’s within you, it always comes out.

“It’s not arrogant at all. It actually makes England very sympathetic to us. People smile at it, knowing they’ve been waiting for a trophy since ’66.

Harry Kane is the best ambassador England can have in Germany

Jurgen Klinsmann

“In 1990 and 1996 those semi-finals could have gone England’s way, absolutely. And we know that.

“It’s crazy when you go through those England teams, the quality of them.

“I don’t think we felt we were superior. We just had a solidity, a confidence and a huge desire to win.

“In ’96 especially, we weren’t the best team, we knew that. We had a crazy amount of injuries and were struggling but somehow we  battled through.”

Klinsmann has been a BBC  pundit at recent tournaments, witnessing first hand the way Southgate’s team  surrendered leads in the 2018 World Cup semi-final against Croatia and the Euros final against Italy in 2021.

He said: “I thought the moment was right in Russia. Everybody was really down after the game against Croatia. They needed to close it down and get into the final. Then Croatia turned it around in the second half.

‘Resurgent Germans can make big impact’

SUNSPORT columnist Jurgen Klinsmann believes Germany have emerged from ‘turmoil’ and can reach the semi-finals.

The tournament hosts ditched boss Hansi Flick last year, following a second successive World Cup group-stage exit in Qatar, but are improving under 36-year-old ex-Bayern Munich chief Julian Nagelsmann.

Germany legend Klinsmann says the Mannschaft’s players were too focused on arguments over human rights in Qatar.

He said: “We hope they get their act together and focus on football because we did a very, very poor effort of approaching Qatar.

“Germany didn’t really know how to approach the whole topic and so they filled the heads of the players with political stuff and that was not part of their job.

“Because they weren’t focused 100 per cent on football, they paid a very high price and went home right away. I hope they learned from that.

“They went through a turmoil last year, they let a coach go, in Flick, who is now going to Barcelona. But in Nagelsmann we have a coach who is very young, knowledgeable and already quite experienced.

“What gives me hope is that because of his age he is really well connected to this young generation of players — he knows their world.

“I’m hopeful they can get to the final four.

“The experience of Ilkay Gundogan and Toni Kroos in midfield is key and Manuel Neuer is back in goal after his long injury.

“Then everyone in Germany is looking forward to seeing Jamal Musiala and Florian Wirtz — two super-talented young players.”

“At the last Euros, you felt, ‘This is it’. At half-time in the final, I gave an interview with the BBC and they asked, ‘What do you do now?’.

“I said, ‘Don’t back off, keep on attacking, get the second goal because Italy can always get a goal out of nothing. Don’t back off’. But that’s what happened.

“Then in Qatar, it was a drama down to a missed penalty against France.

“But after the progression in the last three tournaments you should go to Germany and say, ‘Let’s get this trophy’.

“The level of confidence this English side will bring to Germany has matured and it’s there for people to believe.

“Over these last three tournaments you have matured into the favourites’ role and are comfortable with it. The team embraces that expectation.

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“When I played against England in the 90s, it felt the team wanted to win a  tournament so badly but fans and media were always trying to create negativity. There was so much noise around the team.

“From the outside we were always asking,  ‘Why is this?’. It was a big part of the  culture in England. In the last ten years, I’ve seen this disappearing.”

Klinsmann is a huge fan of Kane, who scored 44 goals in his debut season for  Bayern, and Bellingham, who has won the Champions League and LaLiga since leaving Dortmund for Real Madrid last summer.

The duo have not played together since October, with Bellingham rested for the shock 1-0 Wembley defeat by Iceland which sends England to Germany on a low note.

But Klinsmann said: “Bellingham jumped this year to world-class level and hopefully he can transfer it to the national team.

“Real have many experienced players but he took over as the leader on the field. He said, ‘Give me the ball, I’m not nervous in front of goal’.

Meet England’s Euro 2024 Wags

England Wags range from childhood sweethearts to recently blossoming love stories.

Katie Goodland (Harry Kane’s wife)

The fitness instructor has been married to the England captain since 2019 and joined him in Germany with their four children after he joined Bayern Munich.

Laura Celia Valk (Jude Bellingham’s girlfriend)

The stunning Dutch model, 25, has more than half a million Instagram followers and is said to be absolutely smitten with the Real Madrid star.

Rebecca Cooke (Phil Foden’s girlfriend)

Foden’s childhood sweetheart and the mother of his two kids tends to keep out of the spotlight, but is a regular at England games.

Dani Dyer (Jarrod Bowen’s girlfriend)

England’s most famous Wag, former Love Island winner and daughter of Eastenders’ Danny Dyer.

Iris Law (Trent Alexander-Arnold’s daughter)

Dani Dyer isn’t the only actor’s daughter dating an England star. Iris’ dad is Hollywood legend Jude Law.

Megan Davison (Jordan Pickford’s wife)

Megan has been with Pickford since he was 14 years old. The couple married in 2022 and have one son.

Olivia Naylor (John Stones’ girlfriend)

The 33-year-old former beautician has stepped back from her role after giving birth to a baby son.

Read more about the Wags who will be supporting England at Euro 2024 here

“He should have the confidence to lead with England and build his partnership with Kane.

“Kane will win trophies with Bayern next season, there’s no doubt. The way he settled in with the club and the people has been exceptional.

“He’s the best ambassador England can have in Germany.

“On the pitch, he’s like an automatic machine. And the way he introduced  himself to the Munich lifestyle — with a big beer at Oktoberfest and a white sausage for breakfast — they adore him.”

But Klinsmann believes Southgate could regret axing Jack Grealish from his 26-man squad.

He said: “Grealish can change a game in two minutes, doing stuff nobody else can.

“Grealish is provocative, he goes at people, he has a bit of nastiness and I like that. If you’re Gareth, that’s what you should want — so it’s a big decision to leave him out.”

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