Soccer-'Tonight's the Night' - Austria to chill out at Rod Stewart gig


FILE PHOTO: Soccer Football - UEFA Euro 2024 Qualifier - Group F - Austria v Estonia - Raiffeisen Arena, Linz, Austria - March 27, 2023 Austria coach Ralf Rangnick before the match REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger/File Photo

(Reuters) - Austria's German manager Ralf Rangnick is treating his squad to a night out at a Rod Stewart concert on Saturday, hoping to ease the pressure two days before their opening Euro 2024 game against France.

The squad will visit Berlin's Mercedes Benz arena to see the 79-year-old British rock star in action, a team official said, before heading to Duesseldorf to prepare for Monday's Group D clash with the twice European champions.

It was not immediately clear why the raspy-voiced rocker, known for his 1970s hits "Hot Legs", "Maggie May" and "Do Ya Think I'm Sexy?", was Rangnick's preferred choice for relaxation for his squad, which is among the youngest at Euro 2024.

The team's average age is 26.8 years, with its members born long after the singer-songwriter's 1970s and 1980s peak.

Under Rangnick, Austria have lost only one game in the 16 matches they have played since November 2022, giving fans reason to believe the side can cause an upset in Group D, where they are joined by Netherlands, Poland and France.

Stewart, a big soccer fan and longtime supporter of Scottish club Celtic, is on a European tour with stops including Vienna, Prague, Paris and Budapest, as well as Euro 2024 host cities Leipzig, Munich, Cologne, Hamburg and Berlin.

(Reporting by Martin Petty, editing by Ed Osmond)

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