Sunday 8 December 2019

England deserves to host World Cup again, says Jurgen Klinsmann

Simon Stone

JURGEN KLINSMANN would love England to host the World Cup again.

There is no immediate prospect of another English bid being launched to stage football's biggest show, with the 2018 and 2022 hosting rights already awarded to Russia and Qatar respectively by the sport's world governing body FIFA.

England did bid for the former but managed to glean just one vote of the 23 available in addition to their own on the FIFA executive committee.

An outside chance of landing the 2024 European Championship could be shot out of the water by German interest.

But former Germany striker Klinsmann knows an English World Cup, to follow the one staged in 1966, would be a successful one.

As the Football Association prepares to launch its 150th anniversary celebrations in central London tomorrow, Klinsmann - a World Cup winner himself in 1990 - believes it would be a fitting tribute.

“If there is one federation in the world that deserves more than any others to host the World Cup, it would be England," said United States coach Klinsmann.

"The FA is a very special federation because it stands for tradition, for a lot of history and for living and breathing the game day in and day out. It stands for being correct and honest and trying to always give it credibility."

Klinsmann was one of the first overseas Premier League pioneers, having two spells with Tottenham.

It was that first one, in 1994-95, for which he is chiefly remembered, scoring 20 league goals for Tottenham and turning a reputation for diving back on himself with a distinctive celebration after scoring on his debut at Sheffield Wednesday.

"In the 1990s it took a while for foreign players to break into the English game," he said.

"They simply did it because of their quality, players like (Gianluca) Vialli, (Ruud) Gullit, (Gianfranco) Zola.

"They just won the people over because they were good. They raised the bar in England.

"For me, as a German, it was not easy. But after the beginning, when there were some sceptics, you can win people over with what you are doing.

"You work as hard as you can and as a striker, you try to score goals and once you've shown them your qualities, the people in England will accept and respect you.

"In the end, my experience of playing in England was a wonderful, positive one."

Klinsmann's video message will be played out tomorrow at the lavish ceremony at the Connaught Rooms in central London, where football's first rulebook was drafted.

Scores of football dignitaries will be in attendance with every living former England manager amongst those invited.

With high-profile friendlies against Brazil, the Republic of Ireland and Scotland already arranged, it promises to be a memorable year, with Pele confirmed as guest of honour at the inaugural player of the year awards night at St George's Park on Sunday, February 3.

The FA will use Wednesday's event to showpiece the huge amount of work it does, both at the highest level and, more importantly, the grassroots game given it is responsible for all seven million officially registered players in England.

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