They were the unlikeliest of all European champions and to this day remain the poster boys for all underdogs.

Denmark, the Euro 92 winners, gave hope to generations of teams that would follow them onto the big stage.

How could a nation with a population of a little over five million in 1992 sweep away the competition, when that competition looked so formidable?

Michel Platini's France squad boasted Papin, Cantona, Deschamps, Blanc and Boli; Germany had Klinsmann, Hassler, Moller and World Cup final match-winner Brehme; the Netherlands fielded Van Basten, Gullit, Rijkaard and a young Bergkamp.

Nobody was tipping Denmark, who were called into the tournament 10 days before it began after the expulsion of Yugoslavia, a decision taken by UEFA amid war in the Balkans.

Denmark have given hope to teams who logically should have none. This hope has often been outrageously misplaced. The notion that 'if Denmark can do it, so can we' is a fallacy. The Danes opened the door and fantasists walked through.

The 1992 Denmark team were a band of brothers who seized their unexpected opportunity, facing on-field and off-field challenges along the way. Thirty years since the June 26 final, we celebrate them.

HOW ON EARTH DID THEY DO IT?

There was little indication of what was to come when Denmark followed a 0-0 draw against England by losing 1-0 to hosts Sweden; however, a 2-1 victory over France in Malmo snapped the watching continent to attention.

Peter Schmeichel. John Jensen. Brian Laudrup. Kim Vilfort. Torben Piechnik. The football world knew about goalkeeper Schmeichel, a year into his Manchester United career, and Laudrup was Denmark's star outfielder. But many in their side were barely known outside Denmark. Twelve of their 20 still played in the Danish league.

Michael Laudrup was in international exile, after he and Brian quit the national team in late 1990, unimpressed with new coach Richard Moller Nielsen. Brian came back shortly before the Euros, but Barcelona forward Michael continued to give international football a swerve. Denmark got by without him.

"We were very fortunate that we were one group of people who felt like pioneers in Danish football," Schmeichel told UEFA.com. "We felt we had responsibility to break the waves and go against the tide and prove to everyone that we can compete."

He said it was a "myth" that the Danes had been summoned from the beach, not least because the Danish season was still in full swing.

It was "like a funeral" in the Denmark dressing room after the England stalemate, according to Schmeichel.

"But from that moment on we felt we were definitely in a position where we can compete in this tournament," he said.

SLAYING THE GIANTS

In an eight-team tournament, scraping through in second place from Group 1 meant the Danes went straight into a semi-final.

Getting the better of the Netherlands looked beyond Denmark, given the defending champions were so strong.

Both teams knew Germany were waiting in the final, having got the better of Sweden 3-2 in the first semi-final. The Netherlands had beaten Germany in the group stage, but their hopes of a second clash with Berti Vogts' side were to be shattered in Gothenburg.

Henrik Larsen's double either side of a Bergkamp strike almost gave the Danes victory in 90 minutes, but Frank Rijkaard grabbed a late leveller. When it came to penalties, Schmeichel's save from Marco van Basten made all the difference, every other player scoring from the spot as Kim Christofte sealed the shoot-out success.

In an interview at the FIFA Best awards in 2022, Schmeichel recalled how he had found inspiration in the national team from a young age.

"I have to go back to even 1984 when Denmark lost to Spain in the semi-finals of the Euros," Schmeichel said.

"I was in the generation that came after that and [took] the inspiration from that, and the understanding that even though we are from a small country with a limited number of people playing football, if you work hard and look for your luck, and we always produce skilful players, then there is an opportunity to create very, very good results."

Denmark were winning their battles on the pitch, but the most important struggle was being fought away from the spotlight, with Vilfort's young daughter Line battling leukaemia.

He missed the France game to be with his family in Copenhagen but returned to Sweden before the semi-final. A movie dramatisation of Denmark's great triumph that summer portrayed Line telling her father he should go back and join his team-mates.

Come the June 26 final against Germany, the Danes were not alone in thinking the improbable might just be possible.

At the Ullevi stadium, Germany began strongly but were caught out in the 18th minute when Jensen sent a sizzling strike past Bodo Illgner.

Schmeichel and his defence defied Germany, and in the 78th minute came a magical moment for Vilfort when he found space between Brehme and Thomas Helmer before sending a low left-footed shot in off the right post, sealing a 2-0 win.

Schmeichel said Denmark's achievement came "from not accepting we're a small country".

"If we get the right circumstances, we can go and do whatever job we want to do, so it's more a mentality thing," he said. "I think that, more than anything, was why we won the European Championship. It was magical and unexpected."

Coach Moller Nielsen later reflected on his sudden change of plans for June 1992.

Moller Nielsen, who died in 2014, was quoted by UEFA as saying: "I was supposed to fit a new kitchen [in my house] but then we were called away to play in Sweden. The kitchen is finished now. I got a professional decorator to do it."

From a hospital bed, Line Vilfort got to see her father lead Denmark to the country's greatest footballing success.

She died a few weeks later, at the age of seven. Dad was a national hero, but this would be the cruellest of final chapters in the story of these great Danes, a personal tragedy amid a summer-long national celebration.

Mario Gotze has all the qualities to return to the Germany squad ahead of the World Cup in Qatar, according to former Die Mannschaft coach Joachim Low.

Gotze has won 63 caps for his country and scored an extra-time winner against Argentina in the 2014 World Cup final as Germany lifted the trophy for a fourth time.

The creative midfielder has not appeared for the national side since November 2017, though, when he appeared as a second-half substitute in a friendly against France.

That is due to a lack of club success for the former Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich star, who has traded PSV for Eintracht Frankfurt in a reported €4million move to the Europa League winners.

Appearing in the Champions League for Eintracht, alongside returning to the Bundesliga, the 30-year-old will be hopeful of making his way back into the fold for Germany.

Low, who guided Germany to that World Cup triumph in the crowning achievement of his 15-year tenure, says Gotze has the talent to earn a place in Hansi Flick's Die Mannschaft team before the 2022 tournament in Qatar in November.

"He has all the qualities for it," Low told Sky in Germany. "He will play in the Champions League again, he is the focus here in the Bundesliga and wants to impress for the World Cup."

Gotze scored 12 goals and added 11 assists across all competitions for PSV in the 2021-22 season, playing in 52 games, with reports linking him to Serie A champions Milan.

Eintracht swooped in as Oliver Glasner looked to bolster his squad to compete in Europe, but the Germany international's arrival came as a surprise to Low.

"Of course I didn't expect Mario to return to Germany, not at this point in time," he added.

"But I'm very happy for Mario and Eintracht. Mario is an exceptional player, very professional and with his great playing intelligence, he fits in very well with Eintracht."

Mario Gotze expressed his excitement at returning to the Champions League after sealing his transfer to Europa League winners Eintracht Frankfurt. 

The 30-year-old former Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich man has returned to the Bundesliga for a reported €4million fee after spending two years with Eredivisie giants PSV.

Frankfurt confirmed the midfielder had signed a three-year deal on Tuesday, as Oliver Glasner looks to strengthen his squad for next season's Champions League campaign.

Speaking to the club's website, Gotze said: "I'm incredibly excited about joining Eintracht Frankfurt. This club have made remarkable progress and have started out on an exciting and ambitious path, on which I can now accompany them. 

"This club have a great foundation. From the stadium to the fans to the city, everything is just to my liking. I'm really looking forward to my return to the Bundesliga, as well as the chance to play in the Champions League."

Gotze, who has won 63 caps for Germany, scored the only goal of his country's 2014 World Cup final win over Argentina, earning Die Mannschaft their fourth world title.

Board member Markus Krosche told the club's media channels: "The fact that a player like Mario Gotze has chosen, with full conviction, Eintracht Frankfurt over numerous other offers, speaks volumes for the outstanding image that the club has built over the past few years.

"I don't need to say much about his footballing qualities. We've been lacking a player of his type. Mario's technical ability will help our game enormously."

As well as being seeded for next season's Champions League group stage, Frankfurt will face Real Madrid in August's UEFA Super Cup in Helsinki after beating Rangers on penalties in Seville last month.

Mario Gotze looks set for a Bundesliga second coming after being given permission to miss PSV's first training session under new boss Ruud van Nistelrooy. 

The 30-year-old former Borussia Dortmund and Bayern Munich attacker has been strongly linked with a move to Europa League winners Eintracht Frankfurt. 

Serie A champions Milan were also recently credited with an interest in Gotze, but reports in Germany on Monday indicated a move to Frankfurt was close to completion. 

Sport1 said Gotze, who joined PSV in 2020 and has two years left on his contract, has a clause allowing him to leave for €4million and that an agreement with Eintracht has been broadly agreed. 

PSV confirmed Gotze's absence from training, saying that he had been "given the space... to complete a transfer to another club". 

Gotze, capped 63 times by Germany, was the 2014 World Cup final match-winner, scoring the only goal of the game against Argentina in extra time. 

He scored 12 goals and added 11 assists across all competitions for PSV in the 2021-22 season, playing in 52 games. 

Van Nistelrooy, the former PSV, Manchester United and Real Madrid striker, looks like having to plan without the experienced Gotze, and spoke on Monday of wanting to give opportunities to the club's best young players. 

The 45-year-old was announced as PSV's incoming boss in March, signing a three-year contract. 

Miroslav Klose pointed to the influence of Hansi Flick on his fledgling touchline career as the World Cup record-breaker began his first job as a head coach.

Germany great Klose has taken over as boss of Austrian Bundesliga team SCR Altach. The player whose career haul of 16 World Cup goals remains unmatched was presented to the media on Monday.

The 44-year-old Klose had a spell as an assistant with the Germany national team during Joachim Low's tenure, and worked at Bayern Munich under Flick in the 2020-21 campaign, having previously spent two years with the Bavarians' under-17 team.

Bayern won the Bundesliga, DFL-Supercup, UEFA Super Cup and Club World Cup trophies in the season when Klose was involved in the first-team squad. Flick then departed to become Germany boss, and Klose also left.

"I learned a lot from Flick, he's fantastic in every respect," Klose said.

Altach narrowly avoided relegation in the 2021-22 season, and Klose's impact will be closely watched.

He said: "I'm incredibly happy. I am full of anticipation and have been received in a very friendly manner. I'm able to work where others go on holiday.

"I have a lot of hard work ahead of me. It is important the team shows heart and passion. We have to work out everything step by step, so it's also important that the team communicates with me."

Klose said he would allow himself "time to develop" as a coach, declaring the team must have targets without yet identifying those.

"I don't know how fast that will go. But I think it's incredibly important to have goals," Klose said. "I put myself under a lot of pressure. I have clear ideas. It will be a tough road. I probably need to lower my expectations."

Klose won 137 caps and scored a record 71 goals in a distinguished Germany career, in which he reached the finals of the 2002 World Cup and Euro 2008, before helping Die Mannschaft win the World Cup in 2014.

The winner of the Golden Shoe at the 2006 tournament on home soil also played elite club football with Bayern, Lazio, Kaiserslautern and Werder Bremen.

Miroslav Klose has secured his first senior job as a head coach after taking over as boss of Austrian Bundesliga team SCR Altach.

The appointment of the Germany great, whose career haul of 16 World Cup goals remains a competition record, was announced on Friday.

The news was portrayed as a surprise appointment in Austria. Altach said Klose will sign his contract on Sunday and be presented on Monday.

Klose, the 44-year-old former striker, retired from playing in 2016 after five years with Serie A side Lazio and has since had spells working as an assistant with the Germany national team, and at Bayern Munich.

He was head coach of the Bayern under-17 team for two seasons and served as first-team assistant to Hansi Flick in the 2020-21 campaign.

Altach said in a statement that Klose's former Bayern coaching colleague Slaven Skeledzic would become an assistant coach, once his release from the German champions, where he remains employed, can be secured.

Klose said of his challenge: "I'm really looking forward to my new job here in Altach. It was just that positive feeling right from the start that I have to have, that I'm in the right place here.

"The first discussions with those in charge were so open that it was clear to me that I want to do this. Now I can hardly wait to get to know the team, the people in the club and of course the fans."

Klose won two Bundesliga and DFB-Pokal doubles during four years as a player with Bayern, from 2007 to 2011.

He won 137 caps and scored a record 71 goals in a distinguished Germany career, in which he reached the finals of the 2002 World Cup and Euro 2008, before helping Die Mannschaft win the World Cup in 2014.

The winner of the Golden Shoe at the 2006 tournament on home soil also played elite club football with Kaiserslautern and Werder Bremen.

Altach managing director Christoph Langle offered assurance that the club were not merely attracted by Klose's high profile.

Langle said: "Miro Klose is a very big name in football. But it's not about the name for us, it's about Miro Klose's personality, his skills as a coach and what is very important to us at SCR Altach: the people.

"Known as a hard, down-to-earth worker, Miroslav has risen to world class. The values ​​he stands for are a perfect match for our club and his football skills are undisputed anyway."

Former Australia goalkeeper Mark Schwarzer has backed Germany to win the World Cup in Qatar later this year due to Hansi Flick's swift impression at the helm.

The 2014 winners became the third defending champion in a row to be eliminated at the group stages in the 2018 World Cup in Russia, following on from the previous early exits of Spain in 2014 and Italy in 2010.

Joachim Löw retained his managerial position, with his contract due to last until after the Qatar World Cup, but requested an early end to his spell last year and departed his position following the European Championships.

While Low's 15-year stint in charge heralded success, a poor final year saw Germany smashed 6-0 by Spain in the Nations League before exiting Euro 2020 at the hands of England after a 2-0 defeat in the last 16 of the competition.

Flick took charge in September last year and led to an immediate improvement, becoming the first Germany boss in history to win their first six matches and comfortably securing qualification for this year's World Cup.

A drubbing of Italy in the Nations League on Tuesday once again displayed Germany's credentials and Schwarzer believes they're the team to beat in November when the World Cup begins.

"I think this World Cup, Germany with Hansi Flick at the helm, are genuine favourites and I say that Germany is generally always regarded as one of the teams that could go and do something," he told Stats Perform.

"But they're, for me, stood right up there with being a genuine favourite of winning this World Cup because they've got an amazing manager.

"Someone that's got the belief and support of all the players and has changed the German national team literally overnight exactly like he did with Bayern Munich when he took over after Nico Kovac had a disastrous period at Bayern the season, and then go on to win everything that's possibly there to win. 

"I've got a feeling he's able to do the same thing with Germany right now."

Thomas Muller lauded his side's acceptance of risk, following Germany's 5-2 win at home to Italy in the Nations League on Tuesday.

Muller was among the scorers for Die Mannschaft, who led 5-0 at one stage in Monchenglabach after Timo Werner's second of the night. Joshua Kimmich and Ilkay Gundogan were the other scorers for Germany, handing the home side a 2-0 lead at the interval.

Germany sit second in Group A3 after four games, following draws in the opening three matches characterised by high volumes of passive possession.

Especially after early exits at the past three major tournaments, however, the 32-year-old is buoyed by Germany's play under Hansi Flick despite ever-present room for improvement.

"One good aspect that we brought into play today is that we actually played a little more risky and had more courage," Muller told ZDF. "To accept the risk of losing the ball with the knowledge of snatching away the second ball. So, objective courage and not emotional courage.

"If we understand that a little better on the offensive, that a cross that doesn't lead directly to the goal becomes dangerous with the second ball if we are positioned like that, then we'll make life easier for us.

"We have good players, we have a good attitude and a good project going on. But we still have all sorts of deficits, you have to be honest."

Germany again dominated in possession but were able to translate that into good chances in front of goal on Tuesday, with Joshua Kimmich's opening goal in the 10th minute setting the tone.

The home side were levels above the reigning European champions, who fielded an inexperienced starting lineup and conceded five goals for the first time in a single match since 1957.

For Muller, who insisted he does not see himself playing much longer at international level, it was an affirmation of Germany's quality.

"We have everything to be able to beat anyone on a good day," he said. "We still have to improve on the football-savvy things, like wanting to do the right thing. We won a lot of second balls and that made the game easier for us.

"I know I won't play 50 more international matches. Let's see what happens in the next two or three years, but I'm enjoying it a lot at the moment."

A defiant Gianluigi Donnarumma claimed he will have his "head held high" following Italy's 5-2 defeat away to Germany in the Nations League on Tuesday.

Germany led 5-0 at one stage in Monchengladbach and wearing the captain's armband, the Azzurri goalkeeper had a disappointing night personally, with Timo Werner pinching the ball off him before making it 4-0.

Goals from Wilfried Gnonto and Alessandro Bastoni provided small consolation late for Italy but for an inexperienced squad, Tuesday's loss was a harsh reminder of international football's margin for error.

Asked whether distribution with his feet was an aspect he needed to improve upon post-game, after similarly getting his pocket picked in Paris Saint-Germain's Champions League exit, the 23-year-old responded angrily.

"When did it happen before? When I was fouled against Real Madrid? If we want to cause controversy over these things, then fine," Donnarumma told RAI Sport. "I am here to talk for the team. If you want to blame me, fine, I’ll take the blame, I am the captain and I keep going with head held high.

“I think you’re all trying to create something about these errors, fine.

"We are angry. There are no excuses, we have to get back out there and prove this is not us. There are simply no excuses."

The Azzurri sit third in Group A3 after two draws and a win in their opening three games but following their loss in the UEFA/CONMEBOL Finalissima, Tuesday's defeat represents a return to square one.

Donnarumma suggested end-of-season fatigue had been a contributing factor, but it had not been primary in Italy's performance in Germany.

"We were lacking everything tonight," he said. "There was also some fatigue after four games in 15 days at the end of the season, but we don’t want to seek alibis. Now we will look each other in the eye and analyse everything.

"We’re really disappointed for the fans, for what they saw tonight. We had a few chances, but it’s not good enough. We’ll analyse everything and start again.

"All of us made mistakes. I could’ve dealt with the situation better at 4-0 and kicked it away, but you learn from mistakes and grow. Now we just have to rest and come back much stronger than this."

Germany claimed their first win of this Nations League campaign as they hammered Italy 5-2 in Monchengladbach.

Having drawn each of their previous three Group C matches 1-1, Hansi Flick's side were dominant at Borussia-Park, easily swatting the European champions aside.

Joshua Kimmich got things started in the 10th minute and Germany never looked back, with Thomas Muller netting early in the second half after Ilkay Gundogan had scored from the penalty spot.

Timo Werner's rapid double added further gloss to a mightily impressive victory, as Germany made a statement of intent despite consolations from Wilfried Gnonto and Alessandro Bastoni.

Germany had the bit between their teeth from the off, and although Giacomo Raspadori should have put Italy ahead against the run of play, the hosts had the lead when Kimmich found time in the area to take a touch and side-foot home.

Gianluigi Donnarumma might have done better for Kimmich's opener, but he could do little to prevent Gundogan doubling Germany's lead from 12 yards after Bastoni inexplicably shoved Jonas Hofmann on the stroke of half-time.

Donnarumma was fetching the ball out of his net again six minutes after the restart. A cross from the left caused havoc in Italy's defence, with Muller's snapshot on the rebound making it 3-0.

A remarkable Manuel Neuer save from Nicolo Barella was rendered meaningless by an offside flag, but a dismal display continued for his opposite number.

While Donnarumma would have been hard pushed to prevent Werner's first goal – a close-range effort from Serge Gnabry's cute lay-off – he was at fault for the striker's second a minute later, playing a dreadful pass that was intercepted by Gnabry, before being fooled by the subsequent finish.

Neuer gave Donnarumma a run for his money with an unusually weak save to gift Gnonto a maiden international goal, with Bastoni heading in a further consolation in stoppage time in a nevertheless humbling defeat for Italy.

German goalkeeper and captain Manuel Neuer looked forward to ending a string of mediocre results when his side face Italy on Tuesday, saying "a win would taste good".

Saturday's 1-1 draw against Hungary was Germany's fourth consecutive 1-1 draw, with the same result against England and Italy this month, and the Netherlands back in March.

In that last meeting with Italy, Germany controlled 65 per cent of the possession, completing over double the amount of passes (613-302), but they had to come from behind and settle for the draw thanks to Joshua Kimmich's equaliser.

Speaking to the media ahead of the contest, Neuer said his side played with the "right attitude" against Hungary, and he hopes Germany can get back on track with a strong result when the Italians travel to Borussia-Park.

"The disappointment has already prevailed, but we don't have to bury our heads in the sand either," he said. "Our hunger and our motivation are there. 

"We may have lacked creativity and vigour, but we showed the right attitude in every game.

"A win would taste good for us. We want to get the three points against Italy and the sense of achievement at the end.

"You can't just drop a game. We want to be as well-rehearsed as possible on the defensive for the World Cup. 

"That will be crucial for me, and that's why it's good to play against such good opponents in the Nations League."

Germany head coach Hansi Flick also looked on the bright side, and acknowledged he is still very much in data-gathering mode.

"The team has made good progress – we haven't lost a game yet," he said. "But in the last four games – against quite strong opponents – we've only drawn four times. 

"We were hoping for more, and I also thought that we'd made a bit more progress in development. As I said before, the four games are used for analysis, which we have to fine-tune in September. And that is our task now."

While all focus seems to be on the World Cup, Flick admitted he is desperate to get that winning feeling back in the group.

"I just don't like the four draws because I want to win, and the team feels the same way," he said. "We want to win games.

"Victories are always important for the team. We have to give everything again against Italy, with a win the conviction that you have good quality is much higher.

"Italy are doing very well. They have a broad squad and always bring freshness to the pitch. 

"We want to stress the opponent, put him under pressure. Our transition game has to get better, that's where our focus is.

"Our offensive doesn't lack direction, but rather the determination and the absolute will to finish. This requires conviction, but also freshness – and after such a long season that is not always available."

Robert Mancini has expressed his excitement at the future after offering opportunities to a number of young players with Italy during the Nations League campaign.

Italy crashed out in the World Cup play-offs to North Macedonia, failing to make Qatar 2022 after missing out on the tournament in Russia four years earlier.

That capped a turbulent period in Italian football after winning Euro 2020, with many questioning Serie A coaches for allowing younger domestic players the chance to develop.

Mancini responded by promising more opportunities for youthful players with Italy, after the 'Finalissima' defeat to Argentina at Wembley Stadium at the start of June's international schedule.

Davide Frattesi, Federico Gatti and Gianluca Scamacca were among that emerging crop to feature in the Nations League campaign, with Italy drawing two games and winning the other.

That has left the Azzurri top of League A Group 3, which includes Germany, England and Hungary, ahead of Tuesday's clash with Hansi Flick's side.

Coach Mancini revealed he is learning a lot as he looks ahead to the future.

"I saw some guys who can have a great future," he said. "The level in the national team is very high. I think the boys need to have the chance to play.

"The first time they made me play was Radice, 1981, in the first team. It wasn't Serie A, it was a New Year's tournament.

"At the first ball they gave me, I lifted my foot and the ball passed, I did not touch it. For a young person, it is not easy, you have to have confidence and let them play even without optimal performance.

"It can be an important thing, it is possible to get to know them more closely. Seeing those guys for three days gave us the opportunity to understand who could be more ready."

While Mancini has started to utilise younger players, he remains unsure how Lorenzo Insigne will progress playing in MLS for Toronto FC.

"He will depend on how he will be and what will happen there. He has given so much to us, he is a great player, it depends on what happens in MLS," he added.

Germany were held to their third consecutive 1-1 draw in the Nations League as Hungary earned a point at the Puskas Arena on Saturday.

An early goal from Zsolt Nagy was quickly cancelled out by Jonas Hofmann, but the visitors were unable to find a winner despite dominating the ball.

Hansi Flick's men looked devoid of ideas for the most part and remain third in Nations League Group A3 behind Hungary and Italy.

Marco Rossi's team could be pleased with their night's work, on the other hand, and could consider themselves unfortunate not to have taken all three points.

A strong start for Hungary was rewarded as they took the lead after just six minutes when a long ball down the right found the run of Attila Fiola. His cross was headed at goal by Roland Sallai, and Manuel Neuer palmed the ball only as far as Nagy, who controlled before firing into the roof of the net.

However, Germany were level just three minutes later as Hofmann ran onto a long ball from Nico Schlotterbeck to prod past the onrushing Peter Gulacsi and net his second goal in his past two games for his country.

Clever play from Jamal Musiala helped create an opportunity for David Raum to cut inside and bend an effort just wide of Gulacsi's far post, before Neuer saved a Fiola volley well with his leg just before the break.

The second half was largely spent in the Hungarian half, but Germany created very little until Kai Havertz played Hofmann in on goal with just under 20 minutes to play, only for the goalscorer to make a mess of his attempted pass to Timo Werner, allowing Willi Orban to clear.

Substitute Daniel Gazdag forced Neuer into another good save in the final 10 minutes, but both teams were made to settle for a point.

Germany coach Hansi Flick criticised the UEFA Nations League schedule, claiming teams are being forced to play too many games in a World Cup year.

Die Mannschaft have already played two of their League A fixtures and will play two further games against Hungary and Italy during this window of international games.

The Nations League group stages will wrap up with a pair of games in September.

Germany's players involved in June's games will have less time to recover ahead of the new domestic season, with the Bundesliga starting a week earlier than last campaign on August 5. The Champions League group stage, in which Germany has four participants, will begin on September 6 having started on September 14 last year.

And, with the rescheduled World Cup beginning in Qatar on November 21, Flick believes too much of a burden is being placed on his country's players.

Asked at a media conference ahead of Saturday's game with Hungary if the Nations League games were putting a strain on players, he replied: "I agree with that.

"Four matches are too many after such a season. You have to take the two years into account.

"We had a pandemic and a lot of matches piled up. We will be having 'English weeks' [two-match weeks]

"There will be almost no pre-season preparation then it's Bundesliga and Champions League matches every three, four days until the World Cup.

"This should be looked at and we need to ask ourselves how we can offer players a break because that is important.

"UEFA or FIFA should look into these things and take some measures.

"Now we have to prepare well, we have these four games. We accept them. It is tough for the players after a long season. But we accept it because all teams have the same starting points.

"What we are focusing on is to play a good World Cup in November."

England can look forward to a bright future as Gareth Southgate's Three Lions bid for World Cup glory in Qatar, according to Antonio Rudiger.

The new Real Madrid defender got a first-hand look at the Euro 2020 runners-up when Germany were held to a 1-1 Nations League draw in Munich on Tuesday.

It was the hosts who had the majority of possession but Harry Kane's late penalty – his 50th international goal – sealed a point for Southgate's men, cancelling out Jonas Hoffman's strike.

Rudiger, who signed for Madrid after his Chelsea contract expired, was impressed by England's strength in depth, and reserved special praise for Jack Grealish, who came off the bench in midweek.

"The England squad has great quality," he said.

"It's like [Bukayo] Saka comes out, Grealish comes in. I saw a lot of big, big names were on the bench.

"England have a lot to be optimistic about for the future. I think you people don't need to worry too much. The English players are definitely getting better.

"You have to think about it like this, that players like [Marcus] Rashford and [Jadon] Sancho didn't even make the squad.

"That tells you that you have a lot of depth in the English squad and you have big, big players like Harry Kane, [Raheem] Sterling and Grealish – big names, big players.

"I think Grealish gave the team a real impact – because he came on and he gave good one v ones and everything.

"He is a very dangerous player and those sort of players are going to win you games."

England will face Wales, Iran and the United States in Group B at the World Cup, which starts on November 21.

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