Andreas Brehme, who scored the winning goal for West Germany in the 1990 World Cup final, has died aged 63.

The defender scored from the penalty spot late on to give his country a 1-0 win over Argentina in Rome.

He played for Bayern Munich and Kaiserslautern, winning the Bundesliga with both and also lifted the Serie A title with Inter Milan.

Bayern said the former left-back will be remembered as a “very special person”.

The club posted on X: “FC Bayern is deeply shocked by the sudden death of Andreas Brehme. The German record champion is united in mourning with his relatives and friends.

“We will always keep Andreas Brehme in our hearts – as a world champion and even more so as a very special person. He will always be part of the FC Bayern family. Rest in peace, dear Andi!”

Scotland boss Steve Clarke is reading nothing into Germany’s struggles heading into Euro 2024, warning the tournament hosts are “always on it” when it comes to major finals.

Scotland will have the eyes of the continent on them on June 14 next year when they take on Germany in the tournament’s opening match in Munich.

Germany failed to get out of their group at the World Cup in Qatar, with a 2-1 defeat to Japan contributing to their exit. A 4-1 loss to the same opponents in a friendly in September cost Hansi Flick his job.

Results have been mixed since, with former Bayern Munich coach Julian Nagelsmann succeeding Flick at the helm.

But Clarke does not see Germany as a vulnerable opponent in any way, shape or form. They are three-time Euro winners with a further four World Cup titles to boot.

“When Germany get to the finals of a major tournament they are always on it,” Clarke told the PA news agency.

“I don’t think it will be a poor Germany team, I think it will be a very, very good Germany side.”

Clarke’s team are also up against Hungary and Switzerland in Group A, as they aim to become the first Scotland side to go beyond the first stage of a finals tournament.

“The first thing for us to do is just to prepare properly,” Clarke said.

“Make sure we’re competitive, play as well as we can in the games and then after that we’ll count on the points and see if we’ve got enough.”

Clarke’s team qualified with two matches to spare, finishing second in their group behind Spain but ahead of a Norway side infused with the star quality of Erling Haaland and Martin Odegaard.

“I think what impressed me most about this group of players (in qualification) is that they want to be competitive every time they go out there,” he said.

“We want to continue to improve – they feel as though they can improve a little bit more and hopefully between now and next summer, we do improve and we can be very competitive in Germany.”

With Saturday's Euro 2024 group-stage draw done and dusted, Europe's elite know what awaits them in Germany next year and all eyes will turn to the opening game in Munich on June 14.

Steve Clarke's Scotland will be Germany's first opponents as they kickstart their bid to become the first sole host nation to win the tournament since France in 1984.

Elsewhere, England can be content with a somewhat kind draw as Jude Bellingham, Harry Kane and company look to bring football home, while Group B looks set to earn the title of 'group of death', with defending champions Italy pitted against Spain and Croatia.

As fans across the continent begin plotting their nations' routes to the final, to be held in Berlin on July 14, Stats Perform runs through the best facts and figures from each of the six groups. 

Group A: Germany, Hungary, Scotland, Switzerland

Germany have endured a troubled build-up to their home tournament, with Julian Nagelsmann parachuted in after the dismissal of Hansi Flick in September. The last Germany boss to win a major tournament at his first attempt was Jupp Derwall, who led the team (then West Germany) to Euro 1980 glory.

They will face a familiar foe in the form of Switzerland, who they will meet for the 54th time in senior internationals – no other team has faced Germany as often, but the teams have never met at the Euros before.

Germany's matchday one opponents will be Scotland, who will be making their fourth appearance at the Euros after also qualifying in 1992, 1996 and 2020. They have never reached the knockout stages. 

However, they may fancy their chances of edging out Switzerland and Hungary in what could be a battle for second place this time around. Hungary took bronze when they first appeared at the Euros in 1964, but they have only won one of their nine games at the tournament since then (four draws, four defeats), beating Austria in the 2016 group stage.

Group B: Spain, Albania, Croatia, Italy)

All eyes will be on Group B ahead of the tournament, with three-time winners Spain drawn alongside defending champions Italy – who they beat in the 2012 final – and 2022 World Cup bronze medallists Croatia. 

Excluding penalty shoot-outs, La Roja have only lost two of their last 22 matches at the Euros, winning 13 and drawing seven. The last two teams to beat them? Croatia and Italy in 2016.

Spain are the only nation to win back-to-back editions of the Euros, doing so in 2008 and 2012. Luciano Spalletti's Italy are looking to replicate that feat, having inched past Ukraine to claim second place in their qualification group.

The Azzurri have now qualified for eight successive editions of the tournament, though this is the first time they have reached a major competition while losing two or more games in their qualifying group, having been beaten home and away by England.

While Spain and Italy will feel unfortunate to have landed in such a difficult group, the omens are good for teams that face Croatia when it matters. They have lost to the eventual winners at four of their last six major tournaments, being beaten by Spain at Euro 2012, Portugal at Euro 2016, France at the 2018 World Cup, and Argentina in Qatar last year.

GROUP C: England, Denmark, Slovenia, Serbia

Gareth Southgate may be relieved to have avoided some of the heavy hitters with England landing in Group C, where they will start against Serbia on June 16 before taking on Denmark and Slovenia.

England's rematch with Denmark – who they beat in the Euro 2020 semi-finals – could be decisive in the battle for top spot. The Three Lions are unbeaten in all three of their meetings with Denmark at Euros/World Cups (two wins, one draw), with Switzerland the only team they have faced as often at tournaments without ever losing.

With Kane thriving at Bayern Munich and Bellingham a former star at Borussia Dortmund, two of the Three Lions' star players are no strangers to German turf.

 

They also have an excellent record against Slovenia, winning five and drawing one of the teams' six all-time meetings. The only one of those games to take place at a major tournament came at the 2010 World Cup, when Jermain Defoe hit the winner in a 1-0 victory for Fabio Capello's team.

Serbia, meanwhile, will be featuring at the Euros for the first time as an independent nation. They competed as Yugoslavia or FR Yugoslavia in five editions, finishing as runners-up in 1960 and 1968.

Group D: France, Austria, Netherlands, play-off winner A

With Kylian Mbappe spearheading their star-studded team, France head to the Euros among the favourites. Boss Didier Deschamps captained his country to glory at Euro 2000, and he could become the first person to win the competition as both a player and a head coach.

Les Bleus, however, face a tough set of opponents in Group D, none more so than the Netherlands.

France have faced the Oranje more often at the Euros without ever winning than they have any other side, losing their last two such matches against them at the 2000 and 2008 tournaments.

Ronald Koeman might be pleased to see his team drawn alongside Austria, with the Netherlands winning their last seven matches against them, averaging 2.9 goals per game throughout that run (20 in total).

The final team in Group D will be decided via the play-offs in March, with Wales, Finland, Poland and Estonia vying for a ticket to Germany. France have met any of those nations at the Euros.

Group E: Belgium, Romania, Slovakia, play-off winner B

Belgium headline Group E, with Domenico Tedesco at the wheel as the last members of the Red Devils' so-called golden generation look to finally deliver on their promise.

Since losing to West Germany in the final of Euro 1980, Belgium have never reached the semi-finals of the tournament, being knocked out in the last eight at each of the last two editions – versus Wales in 2016 and Italy at Euro 2020.

They will be content with a kind-looking draw, with Romania the team drawn into Group E from pot two. Their win ratio of just six per cent at the Euros is the worst of any nation to qualify for more than one edition, winning just once in 16 games at the tournament. 

Slovakia, meanwhile, have only won two of their seven games at Euro tournaments (one draw, four defeats), also failing to score in four of their last five games.

Ukraine, Israel, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Iceland will battle for the final spot in this group in March.

GROUP F: Portugal, Turkiye, Czech Republic, play-off winner C

Group F contains 2016 winners Portugal, the only team to reach the knockout stages of the last seven editions of the Euros, a run that stretches back to the 1996 tournament. In fact, they have always progressed from the group stages in their eight previous appearances at the Euros.

Cristiano Ronaldo seems set to be sticking around for this tournament. He will be 39 by the time it rolls around. The Al Nassr attacker holds the records for most games (25) and most goals (14) at the Euros, has also managed a joint-record six assists (since records began in 1972).

Ronaldo's 20 total goal involvements at the Euros are twice as many as any other player since assist records began, with Michel Platini second on 10 (nine goals, one assist).

Roberto Martinez's team open their campaign against the Czech Republic, who are featuring at an eighth successive edition of the Euros (including appearances as Czechoslovakia). Only Germany (14) and France (nine) are currently on longer runs of consecutive appearances.

One of Georgia, Greece, Kazakhstan and Luxembourg will join Turkiye in rounding out the group. They are looking to improve on their dismal showing at Euro 2020, and have qualified for three successive editions of the Euros for the first time. However, they have lost six of their last seven matches at the tournament (one win).

Germany coach Julian Nagelsmann was relieved to see the Euro 2024 hosts avoid the dreaded 'group of death' at Saturday's draw, but he will not be taking their opponents lightly.

As tournament hosts, Germany were placed into Group A, being joined by Hungary, Scotland and Switzerland.

Germany will face Scotland in the tournament's opening game in Munich on June 14, before taking on Hungary in Stuttgart five days later and rounding off their group against the Swiss in Frankfurt on June 23.

With the likes of Italy, Croatia and the Netherlands lurking outside pot one, Nagelsmann acknowledged Germany could have received a more difficult draw, though he thinks Scotland will pose a particular challenge after impressing in qualifying. 

"I think it’s a very interesting group," the former Bayern Munich boss told ZDF. 

"The opening game against Scotland will of course be emotional. They have great fans, it will be a nice start in Munich. 

"Hungary and Switzerland also have some Bundesliga players, and I've been able to train some of them myself, I know a few players there. There are a few exciting duels. 

"We let the emotions out when the games start, we don't talk too much beforehand, but we have a path that we want to take. 

"It's an interesting group in which we want to assert ourselves, that's clear. 

"It's not a group of death, but there are no really bad opponents if you look at the qualifying rounds. The teams have all left better-rated names behind them."

Rudi Voller, the 1990 World Cup-winning striker who became Germany's national team director in February, echoed Nagelsmann's thoughts after the draw was completed. 

"I'll be honest, there were scenarios with Italy and the Dutch," he said. "If you get into a group with them, it's the so-called group of death. We were spared that. 

"But we are not in a situation where we disrespect any opponents or take them lightly. Those times are over. 

"It's challenging, but I'm especially looking forward to the opening game against the Scots. These are wonderful games. With their fans, who will definitely come to the opening game, it is an honour."

Germany slipped to a thrilling 3-2 defeat to Turkey as Julian Nagelsmann saw his side’s stuttering build up to Euro 2024 continue.

The 36-year-old lost his first game as Germany manager after Yusuf Sari’s second-half penalty won it for the visitors.

Kai Havertz gave the hosts an early lead in the friendly, but Ferdi Kadioglu and Kenan Yildiz gave Turkey a 2-1 half time advantage.

Niclas Fullkrug’s 10th goal in 12 games for his country levelled soon after the break at the Olympiastadion.

Hansi Flick was sacked just nine months before next year’s home European Championship with Nagelsmann attempting to pick up the pieces.

A win over the USA and a draw with Mexico in his first games last month would have given him food for thought.

His early tenure looked to be going well on Saturday when Arsenal’s Havertz, playing in an unfamiliar left-back role, opened the scoring after six minutes when he fired in from Leroy Sane’s cutback.

But Turkey, who have already qualified, refused to crumble and Yusuf Yazici and Yildiz went close, either side of Sane shooting wide for Germany.

Yazici had a shot blocked before Turkey levelled when Kadioglu rifled past Kevin Trapp after losing Sane and they went into the break ahead when Yildiz rammed in at the far post in first-half stoppage time.

Germany, without the injured Jamal Musiala, Emre Can and Christian Gunter, came out fighting in the second half and were level five minutes after the restart.

The hosts hit Turkey on the break and Florian Wirtz supplied Fullkrug to drill in low to equalise in Berlin.

But the visitors almost regained the lead immediately when Dortmund midfielder Salih Ozcan hit a post.

The relentless pace continued and captain Ilkay Gundogan had a shot blocked on the hour before Turkey took the lead for a second time.

A VAR check was needed to confirm a handball by Havertz in the area and Sari buried the penalty with 19 minutes remaining.

Serge Gnabry came close to a leveller with three minutes left but he was unable to get the final touch on Benjamin Henrichs’ cross.

Julian Nagelsmann feels Germany’s rebuild ahead of hosting Euro 2024 cannot just be done from the back.

Germany face Turkey in a friendly on Saturday night in Berlin at the Olympiastadion, where the final of next summer’s showpiece tournament will be played.

Former boss Hansi Flick was sacked after an early exit at the World Cup was followed by a five-game winless run which ended with a 4-1 defeat by Japan in Wolfsburg.

 

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Nagelsmann took over Die Mannschaft ahead of the tour to the United States during October, with his side going on to beat the hosts 3-1 and draw 2-2 with Mexico.

The former RB Leipzig and Bayern Munich head coach accepts tightening up in defence will be key to hopes of making an impact on home soil next summer –  but stressed it must not be his squad’s only focus.

“We want to have good (defensive) stability. There are moments when we want to give up less space to the opponents. We want to defend highly, but also give less space for balls behind our line,” Nagelsmann said.

“With a view to the Euros, a good defence is important, but we will not seek our salvation only on the defensive.

“We want to become even more dominant in the game to reduce the time we have to defend.”

Nagelsmann confirmed goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen would be returning to Barcelona as he deals with “acute back pain”, so will also not be available for next week’s trip to Austria.

 

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Manuel Neuer is working his way back to full fitness with Bayern following almost a year in recovery after breaking his leg while skiing.

Nagelsmann feels the 37-year-old should be allowed all the time he needs to get fully match fit and not face any extra pressure of a swift recall back to the national team.

“Anyone who listened to the reasons explaining the decision (not to call him up) can answer the question itself, why it has made sense not to nominate him (for the current squad),” Nagelsmann told a press conference.

“There are reasons that he has stayed at home and that is why a call-up now makes no sense.

“Manu has played a top role since his return and he should be allowed to continue.

“Afterwards, then at the Euros, the players who perform will play.”

Mats Hummels, a World Cup winner in 2014, should be involved after the Borussia Dortmund defender returned to training following his own back issue.

Germany captain Ilkay Gundogan is set to face his parent’s home nation for the first time.

The Gelsenkirchen-born Barcelona midfielder said: “It will be a very special game for me, no question about it.

“My grandparents, parents and other relatives still live in Turkey in Izmir, and of course I also have many friends there.

“I am really looking forward to it and I hope for a great football festival.”

 

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Turkey have already qualified for next summer’s finals, sitting top of Group D and will head to Wales next week for their last fixture.

New head coach Vincenzo Montella will be without captain Hakan Calhanoglu, who is recovering from a respiratory infection while his wife is also about to give birth to their child.

Fenerbahce winger Cengiz Under is another who did not travel to Germany as he continues to manage various fitness issues.

Former world heavyweight champion David Haye was advised by doctors to retire from boxing on this day in 2013.

The then 33-year-old was told to think about ending his 11-year professional career after undergoing five hours of surgery in Germany in an attempt to reconstruct his right shoulder.

Haye had been due to face fellow Briton Tyson Fury in a rearranged bout in Manchester the following February, but was forced to cancel the fight for a second time, having previously pulled out of a September date due to a cut above his left eyebrow.

In a statement on Haye’s website, he said: “I genuinely believed the shoulder injury wasn’t that bad.

“But the doctor sent me for a detailed MRI scan and within 24 hours I was told the full extent of the damage. Twenty-four hours after that I was in the operating theatre.

“It’s a crushing blow for me. I had big plans for next year and the ultimate goal was to win back the world heavyweight title, something my amazing fans deserve.

“What I didn’t anticipate was that this year would be the unluckiest of my career and that a number of injuries would disrupt my plans so much.

“Perhaps it just wasn’t meant to be. The boxing Gods keep hinting that maybe enough is enough and that it’s time to finally hang up my gloves.”

Despite the medical advice, Haye returned to the ring four years later with wins over Mark de Mori and Arnold Gjergjaj in 2016.

He had become unified cruiserweight world champion by stopping fellow Briton Enzo Maccarinelli in 2008 and beat Russian Nikolay Valuev for the WBA heavyweight title in 2009.

The Bermondsey fighter finally announced his retirement in June 2018 after back-to-back losses to Tony Bellew, walking away from the sport aged 37 with 28 career wins – 26 by knockout – from 32 fights.

Gareth Southgate says there can be no let-up after sealing early qualification for Euro 2024, telling England’s players to grab next month’s chance to impress and ensure their place as top seeds.

Having set out their stall with an impressive victory over Italy in March’s Group C opener, three further wins and an away draw against Ukraine put them within touching distance of progress.

England took their chance to qualify for an eighth straight major tournament with two games to spare on Tuesday night, coming from behind to beat holders Italy 3-1 at a sold-out Wembley.

Southgate’s Euro 2020 runners-up have silverware in their sights next summer and are waiting to find out how things will shape up in Germany at the draw in Hamburg on December 2.

But before that comes the end of qualification at home to Malta and away to North Macedonia, with the England boss calling on his players to end an unbeaten 2023 on a high.

“We can now plan,” England boss Southgate told BBC Radio 5 Live after their place at Euro 2024 was mathematically secured.

“We have been planning anyway for base camps and things because I think the days are gone where we didn’t do that in case it brought bad luck.

“We decided a long time ago that you have to plan as if you’re going to be there.

“We still need to win the matches next month because I think it won’t be enough to win the group to be one of the top seeds, so we’ll need a high points tally as well.

“But also I want to see all the players again next month.

“We’re not going to flog them physically. We didn’t do that this month. We’ve looked after them. We’re dealing well with the clubs on that.

“I have to say Manchester City were brilliant with this with John Stones. We’ve managed his return to play really well and I think that’s worked for both of us.

“So we now can really start to look forward with enthusiasm for next summer, but we want to finish the year, the calendar year, well as well next month.”

Southgate pledged to again give players the chance to stake their claims for a Euros spot in November’s fixtures.

“Similar to this month, we want to give people opportunities,” Southgate said at the post-match press conference.

“We need to win two matches firstly, but there’s a chance to look at look at players again, which we need to do.”

Ollie Watkins and Jarrod Bowen returned to the set-up in October and will be hoping to get another chance to impress, having started against Australia, with the former scoring in the 1-0 friendly win.

Levi Colwill and Eddie Nketiah are also in that boat, having made their debuts on Friday before Southgate reverted to the tried and tested against Luciano Spalletti’s revitalised Azzurri.

The England boss made a full 11 changes from the Socceroos encounter, with eight of Tuesday’s line-up having started the Euro 2020 final against Italy 27 months ago.

Skipper Harry Kane was, unsurprisingly, among them and took his record national team goal haul to 61 with his brace in the comeback triumph.

“There’s a risk we take the goals for granted,” Southgate said of the Bayern Munich sharpshooter.

“But his all-round play, his hold up play, the way physically dealt with the centre-backs, his vision, his passing – because we have had him for a while it’s easy to underestimate, but he’s a top-level player.

“He’s also now got a new experience at a different club, where he’s looking to win trophies all the time, and he’s got to win every week. (There is a) different sort of focus and pressure as the big signing there, so all of that’s good.

“I think he’s enjoying also coming back to England and mixing with the lads because he’s very close with all of the group.

“I’ve said before, our senior players set a brilliant example for the young ones.

“They provide that spirit. They’ve been through so much together and they provide us with such a brilliant platform.”

England, Scotland, Spain, France, Portugal, Turkey, Belgium and Austria all secured their places at Euro 2024 in the latest round of qualifying fixtures.

Here, the PA news agency takes a look at what still to be resolved in November and the play-offs.

Group A

Scotland and Spain have both qualified for the finals, but top spot remains up for grabs.

Spain head to Cyprus and then host Georgia, while Scotland face a trip to Tbilisi before welcoming Norway to Hampden Park – where the Tartan Army are expected to revel in a Euro 2024 qualification party.

Georgia are set to go into the play-offs based on their Nations League ranking as a group winner.

Norway are one of several countries who will have to wait on all the other results to see if they can make the cut as one of 12 teams split through three paths.

Group B

While France have qualified automatically for the finals as group winners, the Netherlands still have work to do.

The Dutch edged past Greece with a stoppage-time penalty from captain Virgil van Dijk on Monday night – and victory over the Republic of Ireland in Amsterdam will secure a top-two finish.

Greece, though, could also still reach Euro 2024, having already been assured of a place in the play-offs.

Indeed because of UEFA’s complex weighted system based on overall Nations League rankings, the Republic are still not theoretically out of the running to be involved in the play-offs in March – and could even see their slim hopes boosted by a loss in Amsterdam on November 18 if other results also fall into place.

Group C

England’s 3-1 win over Italy at Wembley on Tuesday night saw them qualify with two matches left.

Italy are third, but qualification remains in their own hands if they can beat North Macedonia.

The Azzurri would then edge out Ukraine to the runners-up spot should they go on to avoid defeat in the final group game between the two countries in Leverkusen on November 20.

Italy are also assured of place in the play-offs should it be needed.

Group D

Turkey have secured qualification, but the race to join them looks set to go to the wire.

Wales will if they beat Armenia in Yerevan and Croatia suffer an unexpected defeat away to Latvia.

Armenia, though, are still not out of the mix, sitting just three points behind Wales and Croatia with two games left.

Qualification could all hinge on the very last round of fixtures – which sees Wales host Turkey in Cardiff and Croatia play Armenia in Zagreb on November 21.

However, Croatia are assured of at least a play-off spot if they do not qualify automatically.

Group E

In another tight group, leaders Albania, the Czech Republic, Poland and even Moldova can all still qualify.

Albania will qualify if they avoid defeat by Moldova in their next match or if Poland – currently third and with just one game left – beat the Czechs.

An away win in Warsaw, though, would see the Czech Republic qualify if Moldova do not beat Albania.

Moldova have two games left, which they realistically would need to win to keep in the qualification mix.

Despite being bottom of the table with just one point from seven games, the Faroe Islands could yet find themselves in the play-offs depending on other results.

Group F

Austria and group leaders Belgium have both qualified.

Belgium’s game against Sweden at the King Baudouin Stadium on Monday night was abandoned at half-time after two people were shot dead in Brussels. It has yet to be confirmed whether the fixture will be replayed.

Azerbaijan are not theoretically out of play-off contention, while bottom side Estonia are the top-ranked team from Nations League Group D.

Group G

Leaders Hungary – who have Barnsley midfielder Callum Styles in the squad – missed the chance to qualify after having to recover to draw 2-2 in Lithuania.

However, a point in their next match away to Bulgaria would see them through, as would Montenegro not beating Lithuania.

Second-placed Serbia will qualify if Montenegro fail to win on November 16 or they themselves beat Bulgaria in their last game.

Bottom side Bulgaria have slim play-off hopes, but Serbia are secured a spot if they need it as one of the Nations League group winners.

Group H

Slovenia, who beat Northern Ireland in Belfast on Tuesday night, and Denmark are in the driving seat to qualify, sitting four points clear of Kazakhstan.

A win in Copenhagen for either team on November 17 would see them through, as would San Marino getting an unlikely positive result against Kazakhstan.

Finland will go into the play-offs, which is also the likely route for Kazakhstan.

Group I

Switzerland’s fightback with two late goals to draw 3-3 against Belarus left them second in the table, a point behind leaders Romania having played a game less.

Israel – assured of at least a play-off spot – are four points adrift, and have their rearranged match with the Swiss on November 15.

Switzerland will qualify if they win their next two fixtures, while Romania will if the Swiss lose in Tel Aviv and they themselves then beat Israel on November 18.

Romania are set to host Switzerland in the final round of fixtures, while Israel’s postponed match against Kosovo has still to be rescheduled.

Group J

 

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Portugal qualified for the finals as runaway group winners with a 100 per cent record so far through eight games.

Slovakia will also qualify with a match to spare if they avoid defeat against Iceland.

Luxembourg are five points behind, so look likely to go into the play-offs along with Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Hansi Flick has been sacked as manager of Germany in the wake of Saturday’s 4-1 home friendly defeat to Japan.

It comes after the former Bayern Munich coach won just 12 of his 25 matches in charge of the national team following his appointment in August 2021.

Germany will host the European Championship next summer but form had grown increasingly erratic under Flick, with a second successive group-stage exit at the World Cup last year part of a run that has seen just three victories in the last 12 months.

The 58-year-old, who replaced World Cup-winner Joachim Low when he stood down following Euro 2020, becomes the first person to be sacked as Germany manager.

Rudi Voller will take charge of the team for their friendly against France in Dortmund on Tuesday.

German Football Federation (DFB) president Bernd Neuendorf said in a statement: “The committees agreed that the men’s senior national team needs new impetus after the recent disappointing results.

“We need, in facing the European Championship, a spirit of optimism and confidence in our own country.

“For me personally, it is one of the most difficult decisions of my time in office so far, because I appreciate Hansi Flick and his assistant coaches as football experts and people.

“But sporting success is the top priority for the DFB. So the decision was inevitable.”

Voller, who as well as taking over as caretaker also holds the role of director of the national team, added: “Hansi Flick has worn himself out over the past few months; together with his coaching team, he has given everything to get back on track after leaving the World Cup in Qatar to make the turn for the better.

“Unfortunately, we have to realise today that it was not successful. The Japan game has clearly shown us that we can no longer make any progress in this situation.”

Flick’s assistants Marcus Sorg and Danny Rohl have also left their roles.

The defeat against Japan in Wolfsburg came despite a goal in the 19th minute from Leroy Sane to equalise Junya Ito’s early opener, with Ayase Ueda restoring the visitors’ lead moments later.

Takuma Asano and Ao Tanaka struck in the closing stages to compound Germany’s misery in what transpired to be the manager’s final game in charge.

Germany manager Hansi Flick’s position looks uncertain after an embarrassing 4-1 home friendly defeat to Japan on Saturday.

The former Bayern Munich boss has now overseen four defeats in the last five games, which comes on the back of a group-stage exit at last year’s World Cup.

The pressure is increasing on the 58-year-old, with director of the Germany national team Rudi Voller noticeably evasive when asked about his manager’s future.

Voller said in a television interview, reported by German newspaper De Bild: “We should collect ourselves first. There will be a bit of training tomorrow. Then we play against France. Afterwards, we should first reflect and think about what happens next. Let’s see.”

Japan, whose 2-1 victory in Qatar sent Germany home from the World Cup, went ahead through Junya Ito before Leroy Sane levelled.

But second-half goals from Ayase Ueda, Takuma Asano and Ao Tanaka saw Japan coast to victory in Wolfsburg, where the crowd turned on their side at full-time.

Flick replaced long-time boss Joachim Low in August 2021 but has won less than half of his 25 games in charge.

Scotland will stay humble as they look to battle past Cyprus and keep themselves in the driving seat to qualify for Euro 2024, according to former national team striker Charlie Nicholas.

Steve Clarke’s men are aiming for a fifth straight Group A win in Larnaca on Friday night, which, if other results go their way next week, could see Scotland’s place in the finals confirmed.

Nicholas, who played for Scotland at the 1986 World Cup in Mexico, believes Clarke will not allow any thoughts of having already booked a ticket to Germany next summer as his team focus on showing the required mentality in the heat of the AEK Arena.

“This is the first time I can ever recall being in a position of comfort in a group like this. It is a kind of weird experience,” Nicholas told the PA news agency.

“Steve Clarke’s business as a manager is being serious, so the boys will stay humble – and I do think they will get it tough in Cyprus.

“Now this becomes the most important one, because it would give us a really nice buffer if we were to win it, but it will be tight.

“It will be in the heat, which obviously doesn’t complement us, but we have put ourselves in a great position so we must not let it slip now.”

Scotland’s assistant coach John Carver has branded the current squad the “most focused group” he has ever worked with, having seen them beat Spain at Hampden Park in March and then win away in Norway.

Nicholas added: “Looking at these guys, what you have got is a lot of important players playing at top football clubs – even with Kieran Tierney’s move, it is to a top club in Spain (at Real Sociedad).

“There is a lot of knowledge in there and also with that desire – they will be told the whole truth when it comes to these qualifying games, because we are so close to it.

“If we go and win in Cyprus, that doesn’t guarantee us (qualification), but it more or less does – and in Scotland we have learned never to take too much for granted.

“They are a well-respected group with what they stand for together. There is no faking with these guys, they are bang on the money and know where they are trying to get to.”

On September 17, Nicholas will be joining broadcaster Jeff Stelling when he takes on a 34th marathon Football March for Prostate Cancer UK, from Wembley to Wycombe Wanderers, in honour of the late Bill Turnbull.

Former Celtic and Arsenal striker Nicholas lost his father, Chic, to prostate cancer, which affects one in eight men, in December 2009.

The Scot stressed the importance of early diagnosis, which brings with it more options for advanced treatments such as radiotherapy and better life outcomes. 

“I think we (men) are a bit afraid about it, because you don’t want to turn up at the doctors and think you are going to get bad news,” Nicholas said.

“It is scary and it is not nice to go and find out – but the thing is if you have symptoms, then just go and get it checked.

“Because if you sadly have got it and they can spot it early enough, that actually puts you in a good position. It might not sound like it, but you really are.”

:: Jeff Stelling’s Football March 2023 is sponsored by specialist cancer care provider GenesisCare. You can sponsor Jeff to honour Bill’s legacy and help beat prostate cancer via – https://www.justgiving.com/campaign/JeffStellingsFootballMarch2023

German Alexander Zverev had a spectator thrown out of his US Open match against Jannik Sinner for shouting “the most famous Hitler phrase”.

A man could clearly be heard yelling “Deutschland uber alles” inside Arthur Ashe Stadium as Zverev prepared to serve.

Zverev, the 12th seed, approached English umpire James Keothovang and said: “He just said the most famous Hitler phrase there is in the world. It’s unacceptable. This is unbelievable.”

Keothovang turned to the crowd and asked: “Who was the smart guy who said that? Who said that? Put your hand up. We’re going to get him out.”

He then announced to the crowd: “Please be fair and respect the players.”

The man suspected of yelling the slur was ejected by security at the end of the game.

Zverev went on to win the match in five sets and afterwards, the 26-year-old told reporters: “He started singing the anthem of Hitler that was back in the day. It was ‘Deutschland uber alles’ and it was a bit too much.”

Germany Derby hero Fantastic Moon will contest the Grosser Preis von Baden on Sunday – the race that paved the way to the Prix de l’Arc de Triomphe for Germany’s most recent success story.

The Sarah Steinberg-trained three-year-old has a true German pedigree as he is by Sea The Moon and out of a German-bred mare named Frangipani.

He won the Preis des Winterfavoriten, a Cologne Group Three, as a two-year-old and demonstrated he had trained on into his three-year-old season with a third-placed run in the Bavarian Classic in May.

From there he headed to Baden-Baden and won the Derby trial by a comfortable three lengths, a performance that led him to emulate his sire and land the German Derby itself with a two-and-a-quarter-length success in early July

High-profile international targets were then discussed and the Arc was mentioned at one stage, but Fantastic Moon will take up neither his entry in the Prix Niel or the Irish Champion Stakes and will instead stay closer to home this weekend – in a Group One that was previously won by subsequent Arc hero Torquator Tasso.

Lars-Wilhlem Baumgarten of owners Liberty Racing said: “He is very well, he worked well on Monday in the morning and he will run in the Grosser Preis von Baden on Sunday.

“We nominated him today for the race, we supplemented him.

“We decided against the Champion Stakes and against the Prix Niel and went for Baden-Baden.

“It is a German race, we know the horses, there is one French horse in the race and then we will see how good he is.”

The colt would need to be supplemented if he were to follow the path trodden by Torquator Tasso and connections will reconsider that idea after Sunday’s performance.

Baumgarten said: “We will talk about that after the race on Sunday.”

Jamaica missed out on the cut for the final of the Mixed 4x400 metres relay, as they could only manage fifth in heat two of the event on Saturday's opening day of the ongoing World Athletics Championships in Budapest, Hungary.

The Jamaican quartet of Demish Gaye, Natoya Goule-Toppin, Malik James-King and Stacey-Ann Williams, running in that order, struggled from the off and was at the back of the pack for the first two legs.

In fact, it was on the third leg that James King tried to force the initiative and gradually made progress, but faded in the latter stages, leaving Williams with much to do on anchor.

Despite facing an uphill task, Williams showed grit and determination to bring Jamaicans from eighth into fifth and ninth across the two heats in a season’s best 3:14.05.

They finished behind the Femke Bol led Dutch team, who won in 3:12.12, followed by France (3:12.25) and Czech Republic (3:12.52), with fourth-placed Germany taking one of the non-automatic qualifying spots.

United States with a World lead 3:10.41, Great Britain, with a national record 3:11.19, Belgium (3:11.81) and Ireland (3:13.90), are the other finalists.

 

You can catch live action of the 2023 World Athletic Championships by downloading the Sportsmax App.

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