SPL

Celtic appoint Postecoglou as Lennon replacement

By Sports Desk June 10, 2021

Celtic have appointed highly regarded Australian coach Ange Postecoglou as their new manager after several months in limbo.

Neil Lennon resigned from the post in February with Celtic a huge 18 points adrift of bitter rivals Rangers in the Scottish Premiership.

His departure did nothing to prevent the Gers marching to the title, as they ended Celtic's hopes of winning nine league titles on the spin – Steven Gerrard's men doing so without losing a single match.

Numerous coaches were linked with the role, with Celtic even going as far as confirming they had held talks with former Bournemouth boss Eddie Howe but were unable to reach an agreement, reportedly caused by a differing of opinion regarding backroom staff.

Celtic finally have their man in Postecoglou, who was most recently with Yokohama F. Marinos, whom he guided to the 2019 J1 League title.

A Greece-born former Australia international, Postecoglou enjoyed continental success with the Socceroos' youth teams before then also guiding the senior team to Asian Cup glory – the country's first – in 2015.

A year earlier he was Australia's coach at the 2014 World Cup and he then secured their qualification for the 2018 edition, only to resign a couple of weeks after booking their place in Russia.

Upon signing a 12-month deal, Postecoglou said: "The opportunity that has been given to me is one of the greatest honours in football and the responsibility to lead our magnificent football club into the future is one that I will cherish dearly.

"Celtic is one of THE names in world football, of that there is no doubt – a giant of a club, a proper footballing institution and so much more – real history, real substance, real authenticity and real soul. I know Celtic is a true way of life for so many people and I know the demands which come with this position – I am ready to do all I can to meet those demands.

"I will be doing everything I can to get our great club back on top and, at the same time, deliver the kind of football which our fans appreciate. We want to entertain our fans and we want to win, these are the objectives which I always set myself and which I now begin work on."

Throughout his time in football management, Postecoglou – a former defender – has been renowned for implementing progressive, attack-minded systems and drawn praise for his sides' entertaining styles of play.

Postecoglou is only the club's second non-British manager this century after Ronny Deila of Norway, who spent two years in charge up to May 2016.

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    It turned out that surprising wonders dropping from the sky was the theme of the day, as France began their quest for continental glory with a 1-0 win in Munich. That's a circuitous route to talking about the spontaneous brilliance of Paul Pogba. No, honestly.

    Twenty minutes had gone in the first meeting of Group F's three big guns. Germany and France had nullified one another, their 3-4-3 and 4-3-1-2 systems keeping the previous two World Cup winners from laying a glove on each other. Before the game, Deschamps described these teams as the best two in the continent, and you could certainly not accuse either side of lacking respect for their opponents.

    Then, Pogba appeared. A throw-in from Benjamin Pavard, a one-two, a lay-off from Karim Benzema, and the ball was into the midfielder's feet. And then it was out of them, a languid, looping pass drifting over the heads of the German back three and into the path of Lucas Hernandez, the only player who seemed aware the move was even on. His mishit cross was promptly shinned into his own net by Mats Hummels, who was perhaps still wondering how the ball had got there.

     

    In many ways, it was a typical Pogba pass: it was incredible he even saw it but, once he had, of course he was going to try it. The Manchester United man is the king of the unanticipated, never shying away from the implausible, for whom the very idea of keeping it simple seems like an affront. At club level, it makes him a target for traditionalist critics; for France, he becomes the match-winner.

    One of Deschamps' real triumphs has been to construct an imperious unit out of France's mighty individuals. They allowed Germany more than 60 per cent of the possession but conceded only one shot on target, their defensive cohesion summed up by Antoine Griezmann sprinting back to challenge Joshua Kimmich on the right wing shortly before injury time.

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    Pogba attempted 52 passes in total, more than anyone else for France. He had 78 touches, more than anyone else for France. He contested 20 duels, five aerial duels, won four fouls and made three interceptions – all more than anyone else for France. He won back the ball 12 times and gave it away a further 22, both, naturally, the highest figures in the contest.

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  • Italy v Switzerland: Can Petkovic end 28-year wait to beat the Azzurri? Italy v Switzerland: Can Petkovic end 28-year wait to beat the Azzurri?

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    PLAYERS TO WATCH

    Italy – Leonardo Spinazzola

    Among defenders, only Denzel Dumfries (six) attempted more dribbles than Spinazzola (five) before Tuesday's matches, while only three players in his position completed more final-third passes than the Roma full-back (20).

    Supporting Lorenzo Insigne down the left, Spinazzola offers a substantial threat against a Switzerland side with just three clean sheets in their past 10 Euros matches.

    Switzerland – Breel Embolo

    Any hope of penetrating the Italy defence is likely to come through Embolo, who scored Switzerland's opener in the 1-1 draw with Wales.

    No player had more shots (six) or more on target (three) in that game in Azerbaijan. He also had 10 touches in the opposition box, more than any player in the first four days of action – except, once again, for Dumfries (11).

     

    KEY OPTA FACTS

    - This is the first encounter between Italy and Switzerland in the European Championship. However, they have met in two previous major tournaments: in the 1954 World Cup (as hosts, Switzerland won both games: a group stage match and a play-off) and the 1962 World Cup (Italy won 3-0 in Chile, also in the group stages).
    - Italy have lost only one of their 24 games against Switzerland on Italian soil (W18 D5): it was a friendly in October 1982 at Rome's Stadio Olimpico (0-1), in what was Italy's first game after being crowned world champions three months previously.
    - Victory will see Italy become the first team to reach the knockout stages of Euro 2020. However, the Azzurri have won both of their opening two matches in just two of their nine previous appearances at the finals, doing so in 2000 and 2016.
    - Italy goalkeeper Gianluigi Donnarumma is looking to become the second-youngest goalkeeper in the history of the European Championship to keep a clean sheet in consecutive appearances (22y 111d on the day of this game), after Russia's Igor Akinfeev in June 2008 (22y 71d).
    - Switzerland's Haris Seferovic has had 13 shots in five appearances at the European Championship, including four in the first half of their 1-1 draw with Wales. However, he is yet to score in the competition.

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