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The Singapore national team coach is excited about playing European clubs on their training tour and believes the exposure will be hugely beneficial for the players

The Singapore national team and their Under-23 counterparts are currently in Salzburg, Austria as part of a 16-day training stint that will see them play a host of European teams in a series of preparatory friendlies.

Head coach Bernd Stange shared his excitement about the overseas training programme and believes that it will greatly benefit the players, although he did concede that the Lions will probably wrap up their time in Austria without a win.

“I think we have the best players of Singapore together [for this trip],” the German told fas.org.sg on Monday before their departure. 

“We are all [staying] in one hotel and we will be living, training and playing together for three weeks. Even though we have six matches, I personally believe we cannot beat them [but even then], the experience will be good for us.”

There will be six friendly matches in total, with the senior team playing Czech team FC Brno on July 12, Torpedo Moscow on the 18th and Dinamo Moscow on the 21st.

Meanwhile the U23s, which features Fandi Ahmad’s two eldest sons, Irfan and Ikhsan, will be face Czech club FC Pribam on the 11th, Borussia Dortmund U23 on the 15th and a yet-to-be confirmed opponent on the 20th.

Stange also explained that playing against these European clubs will enable players to experience and emulate different playing styles and habits of counterparts.

“It will be good for the players to see the gap [between them and their opponents] not only on the video or the television screen, or from statistics,” he said. “Players must smell and see and feel what we have to do.

“That is why it is good to play these opponents to feel the difference, to see how Yuri Zhirkov is doing his job on the left wing, how Kevin Kuranyi plays or other players from Dinamo Moscow.”

Russian midfielder Zhirkov recently featured for his country at the World Cup in Brazil, while Kuranyi is a former German international who has 52 caps and 19 goals.

Stange also shared his expectations of his players during the stint, saying: “I want to see a lot of enthusiasm, passion and commitment from the players to avoid defeats and I want them to play the sort of football that we want to play - attacking football - and show what we can do.”

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