Tite backs Egypt to shine at the World Cup

Egypt are highly fancied by Brazil’s boss. (AFP)
Updated 08 December 2017
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Tite backs Egypt to shine at the World Cup

MOSCOW: Ten years ago, long before he was preparing to lead Neymar and Co. on a journey to Russia in search of a sixth World Cup title, Adenor Leonardo Bacchi, or Tite as he is more popularly known, was coaching in the United Arab Emirates. Employed by Al-Ain to replace the outgoing Walter Zenga, he stayed in the Garden City for only six months before returning to Brazil, where he led Internacional to the Copa Sudamericana title. In 2010, he returned to the UAE, this time with Al-Wahda, but again stayed only half a season, returning home to take the reins at Corinthians. 
“Arab teams have a very strong European influence,” Tite said. “The basic system is with two lines of four and two attackers, one of them coming back to recompose the midfield. They are teams that compact well and occupy spaces intelligently to defend. In Al-Ain and Al-Wahda I learned to play with these two lines of four and two attackers because it is the predominant system with this European influence.”
His experience coaching in the Gulf may afford him a more astute view of football in the region, but it is unlikely to be required in Russia — Brazil and Saudi Arabia can only meet in the semi-finals. 
It’s a similar story with Egypt, who were also drawn in Group A alongside Arab neighbors Saudi Arabia. Tite faced Al-Ahly in 2012 when he led Corinthians to victory at the FIFA Club World Cup in Japan. His side won 1-0, but his overriding memory was of a solid, well-drilled outfit. “I knew more about Egyptian football in 2012 when I faced Al-Ahly,” he said. “They were a team that gave us a lot of difficulty. But the Egypt national team has evolved a lot, with some high-level professionals playing in Europe. They also have the tactical part very well crafted.”
 


Klopp tells Liverpool: ‘We can make history’

Updated 25 May 2018
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Klopp tells Liverpool: ‘We can make history’

  • Blessed with an attacking trio of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino, a forward line to rival any in Europe, the Reds have played with a devil-may-care attitude.
  • Jordan Henderson: “They (the fans) have played a huge part in us getting this far in the competition. Hopefully, they can create an atmosphere similar to Anfield because it has made a big difference.”

LONDON: Positivity and passion carried Liverpool to today’s Champions League final, and that is what will give them victory against Real Madrid in Kiev. That is the message Reds boss Jurgen Klopp delivered to his players ahead of the showdown with the Spanish giants.
Klopp and Co. head into the clash as marginal underdogs, with Real aiming for their third Champions League crown in as many years. But with nobody backing Liverpool to make the final when the competition started nine months ago, the tag is is not something that has bothered them so far.
Blessed with an attacking trio of Mohamed Salah, Sadio Mane and Roberto Firmino, a forward line to rival any in Europe, the Reds have played with a devil-may-care attitude, and Klopp wants his side to forget about the occasion and attack the match as they have done every other Champions League tie.
“We are really fine in our position, with our tools. We don’t want to think about what other clubs have,” the Liverpool boss said.
“We did it our way, and we want to do it our way again — and we will see what it leads to.
“Nine months ago we were already a good football team. Maybe a few of us dreamt of being in the final, but only because of the performances we put in in different games. That created a special spirit. That’s our biggest strength, for sure.”
Jordan Henderson — Klopp’s main man on the pitch, the engine of the team and the man who makes the team tick — while acknowledging the Reds are up against a formidable side in Real, preached the same positive message as his boss.
“We are prepared for anything and everything. Real are a fantastic team, but we can hurt Madrid if we perform to the levels we are capable of reaching,” the Liverpool captain said.
“Anything can happen in a Champions League final. It’s about us creating history. We’ve done well to get to this point, but we want to go one step forward.”
If Champions League trophies were won on positive thinking alone, Liverpool are certainties to beat Real Madrid. Both Klopp and Henderson looked quietly confident and relaxed ahead of the biggest match of their lives. Positivity has propelled them to the showdown in Kiev, and there is no desire to change now.
The passion and free-scoring spirit that has characterized the Reds’ march to the final has been matched in the stands. Anfield has been a daunting place for opposition teams, with the 3-0 win over Manchester City in the quarterfinals notable for its intense, hostile atmosphere. And Henderson has called on the Liverpool fans to recreate the passion of home and intimidate Real.
“As we have said before, the fans are a massive part of the club,” he said. “They have played a huge part in us getting this far in the competition. Hopefully, they can create an atmosphere similar to Anfield because it has made a big difference.”
Standing in the way of a sixth European Cup for Liverpool is Real, who again have saved their best performances for Europe while faltering at home.
Attempting to become the first side since 1976 to win three on the bounce, Zinedine Zidane’s side head into the final with a wealth of experience. Cristiano Ronaldo is the side’s spearhead, with Gareth Bale coming into form at just the right time and likely to start tonight.
Klopp is well aware of the defending champions’ combination of excellence and experience, but remains undaunted.
“We have unbelievable quality on our bench, but nobody has the same quality as Madrid,” the German said. “Whoever they have on the bench, they are really quality players.
“Experience is very important. A second before the game, Real will be more confident than we are, but it doesn’t matter because the game isn’t decided in that second. Real are really strong, but they’ve never played us.”
There seems to be an inner belief within the Liverpool side that is both seductive and refreshing. And that, as much as anything else, is why Klopp is a confident man.
“This club has it in its DNA to win big things. We are here because we are Liverpool,” he said.