Henrikh Mkhitaryan is clear to dedicate himself to Jose Mourinho's Roma project after retiring from international football.

After winning 95 caps for Armenia, who have never qualified for a World Cup or European Championship, the former Manchester United and Arsenal midfielder will end his career in club football.

Mkhitaryan was captain of his country and a record goalscorer for the national team after netting 32 times.

He announced his retirement from the team on social media, writing a message that he titled, "Farewell my beloved national team".

The 33-year-old wrote: "I wanted to win every step of my career, no matter how difficult that would be. It was an honour to play for my nation for the past 15 years and even more so of an honour to captain it for the last six years.

"After 95 international caps, hard work, passion and unprecedented ups and downs along the journey representing my country on the field, I have taken the decision to retire from my international career with the Armenian national team.

"I came to this decision after my last game against Germany in November. I think it is the right time. I've given everything I can possibly give to my national team. For the coming years, I will therefore be fully focused on my club career.

"My soccer nest was woven in Armenia, my homeland, and I will forever be grateful to every single person who supported me, who coached me, who I played with and who contributed to my growth as a footballer and as a person."

Mkhitaryan is approaching the end of a one-year extension to his Roma contract and has performed well for head coach Mourinho.

He has started 24 Serie A games this season, with just two Roma players (Rui Patricio and Tammy Abraham) making Mourinho's starting XI more often. He has contributed five assists and three goals, with only Jordan Veretout and Lorenzo Pellegrini creating more than the 37 chances Mkhitaryan has teed up.

Italian newspaper Corriere dello Sport reported on Thursday that a deal to keep Mkhitaryan at the capital club is increasingly likely to be agreed at the end of the season.

It said there had been interest from Russian clubs Krasnodar and Spartak Moscow but that the possibility of either move has diminished amid the conflict involving Russia and Ukraine, with Mkhitaryan said to be happy about the prospect of an extended Serie A stay.

Germany head coach Hansi Flick was pleased with his team’s 4-1 win in Armenia as they brought a successful World Cup qualification campaign to an end on Sunday.

Goals from Kai Havertz, Jonas Hofmann and a brace from Ilkay Gundogan saw the Germans home in Yerevan. The victory means that Flick has won all of his first seven games in charge of Die Mannschaft, scoring 31 times and conceding just twice.

It is also their joint-longest winning run this century (also seven in 2017). The last time Germany had a longer winning run was across 1979 and 1980, when they managed 12 in a row.

They finish their World Cup qualifying campaign top of Group J having won nine of their ten games, a comfortable nine points ahead of North Macedonia in second.

"We won 4-1 and achieved our aim of ending the group on 27 points," Flick said after the game. "It wasn't all brilliant, but the way we try to play football is great. You can see that the team always wants to attack and create chances.

"We defend high up the pitch and then allow them a few opportunities on the break, though that's just normal. We know what we need to improve on; we've got time for that.

"I'm satisfied with the team. We've won seven games together now, so I can only congratulate them. It's great as the coach to see the team enjoying themselves so much."

Thomas Muller was also pleased with the win, emphasising the importance of getting off to a good start in a "new era" for the national side.

"I think that was a good performance from us overall," the Bayern Munich attacker said. "It wasn't a goal-fest like against Liechtenstein, but we got the job done well. The first goal was important for us and was really well-made. We were concentrated and committed. It's a good way to finish off the campaign.

"A new era began in September for the first time since 2006. You can see that we've played well over the last three months and we want to continue doing so. It doesn't matter who is on the pitch, everyone will give their all and do their job.

"We may not have played any big teams, but we have performed really well at times. We can go into next year with a positive mindset now. We're happy."

Ilkay Gundogan struck twice as Germany rounded off a dominant World Cup qualifying campaign with a 4-1 win in Armenia on Sunday. 

Kai Havertz and Jonas Hofmann were also on target for Die Mannschaft at the Vazgen Sargsyan Republican Stadium, with the hosts replying through a consolation penalty from Henrikh Mkhitaryan.

Head coach Hansi Flick made six changes from the team that thrashed Liechtenstein 9-0 on Thursday, but Germany looked strong again, easing past the side bossed by Joaquin Caparros.

The win was a ninth from 10 qualifying matches for Germany and means they finish nine points clear of second-placed North Macedonia in Group J.

Germany took the lead after 15 minutes when Hofmann played a quick one-two with Thomas Muller before crossing from the right for Havertz to steer home.

The visitors had a penalty in first-half stoppage time when a VAR review led to the verdict that Florian Neuhaus had been fouled by Taron Voskanyan in the box, and Gundogan converted with ease.

The Manchester City midfielder had his second goal five minutes into the second half when his shot from the edge of the penalty area inexplicably slipped through the grasp of Stanislav Buchnev.

Armenia captain Mkhitaryan pulled a goal back from the spot after Neuhaus fouled David Terteryan in the box just before the hour, but a mistake from Mkhitaryan allowed Hofmann to intercept and race through to restore Germany's three-goal cushion in the 64th minute.

 

Germany head coach Hansi Flick has hailed Thomas Muller's importance to the team ahead of handing him the captain's armband for Sunday's World Cup qualifier with Armenia.

The Bayern Munich attacker is the highest-capped player in the squad, moving clear of Jurgen Klinsmann as the sixth-most capped player in Germany's history with his 109th appearance last time out against Liechtenstein, scoring twice in the 9-0 win.

Muller has worn the armband for Germany on a handful of occasions previously, but this would be the first time under new boss Flick, who believes the 32-year-old's presence on and off the field make him fully deserving of the honour.

"Thomas isn't someone to push himself into the spotlight; he prefers to support the team and fire the lads up," Flick said ahead of the game against Armenia. "He is also incredibly important off the pitch because he pushes the group again and again.

"He's a really important player for us, and he'll captain the side against Armenia. I'm happy to have him as a player because he's very, very valuable."

Regular captain Manuel Neuer is rested and therefore does not travel with the squad, missing out alongside Marco Reus, injured pair Leon Goretzka and Julian Draxler and the suspended Antonio Rudiger.

As a result, Muller is given the chance to captain the side, while Marc-Andre ter Stegen has the opportunity to feature between the sticks as Germany look to end their World Cup qualifying campaign strongly, having won eight of their nine games so far to sit nine points clear at the top of Group J.

"Marc-Andre ter Stegen and Kai Havertz will both start the match," Flick continued. "We have already shown in the last few games what quality and mentality the team has.

"Armenia are very strong on the counter-attack, so we'll need to be very alert in defence. Our aim is to end this year with a win, of course."

Defender Christian Gunter is also relishing the chance to stake his claim for a spot in Flick's final World Cup squad next year. 

"For me, it's about putting in a good performance for the team," Gunter said. "I'm part of a real competition for places and I want to give Hansi a tough decision when he comes to name his national team squad."

Hansi Flick was delighted to see Germany show their "enormous quality" as they hammered Armenia 6-0, though Serge Gnabry felt the victory could have been more emphatic.

Germany moved to the top of World Cup qualifying Group J in style in Flick's first home game in charge on Sunday.

Gnabry scored twice in the first 15 minutes before goals from Marco Reus and Timo Werner put the game beyond all doubt by half-time.

Jonas Hofmann and debutant Karim Adeyemi rounded off a rout that thrilled head coach Flick, who was quick to urge his side to stay focused ahead of Wednesday's clash with Iceland.

"I liked this game but on Wednesday we still have a game in Iceland, so the team can be happy with their performance but we have to stay focused," Flick told RTL.

"We have seen that this team has an enormous quality, but what is important is to deliver when it counts."

Flick has won his first two games in charge of Germany, registering a plus-eight goal difference – the best start amongst all Germany coaches after their opening two fixtures.

In UEFA qualification for the 2022 World Cup, only Belgium (10) have scored more first-half goals than Germany (eight), with Gnabry's quick brace leaving Armenia with a mountain they never looked like climbing.

"Compared to the game in Liechtenstein we were more efficient, but we still missed a few chances, we could have scored more goals," said Gnabry. 

"Against Liechtenstein, we had taken three points, but today we are taking the extra euphoria to go to Iceland. 

"Obviously, having led quickly worked in our favour. My two goals are a good feeling when you score and you can help the team."

Germany marked Hansi Flick's first home game in charge in style as they thumped Armenia 6-0 in World Cup qualifying to go top of Group J.

Having suffered a shock 2-1 defeat to North Macedonia in the last round of qualifiers back in March, Germany had found themselves looking up at their less illustrious opponents in the group.

Armenia were unbeaten with 10 points from four games ahead of Sunday's clash in Stuttgart, but Germany, coming off a 2-0 win over Liechtenstein on Thursday, changed that situation in emphatic fashion, Serge Gnabry the undoubted star of the show.

Gnabry scored twice in the opening 15 minutes and Marco Reus and Timo Werner put the result beyond doubt before half-time, with Jonas Hofmann's long-range effort and Karim Adeyemi's goal on his senior debut rounding off a rout.

The players took to the centre circle for a pre-match tribute to Gerd Muller following the Germany legend's death last month, and 'Der Bomber' would surely have been delighted by the attacking football displayed by Flick's side.

A well-worked move on the right concluded with Gnabry lashing home at the near post after latching on to Leon Goretzka's superb pass to open the scoring, and he netted his second from almost the same spot.

Reus' ball in was missed by Werner but Gnabry beat the outstretched leg of David Yurchenko and that trio were too the fore again to make it 3-0 after Leroy Sane's wicked long-range effort clattered the crossbar.

Gnabry lofted a wonderful ball from the right wing towards Werner, whose clever flick was met with a confident first-time finish from Reus.

Goretzka's header across goal teed up Werner for a tap-in for 4-0 in the final minute of normal time in the first half, with more pain for the visitors coming seven minutes after the restart when Hofmann powered home a fifth from outside the box.

Hofmann was only denied his second through a goal-line clearance and Werner was correctly thwarted by the offside flag late on, before Adeyemi capped off another superb attack to make it a debut to remember for him on a night Armenia will quickly want to forget.

Hansi Flick knows Germany must play with more confidence in front of goal after a wasteful performance in what was still a comfortable victory over Liechtenstein.

Germany won 2-0 in Flick's first game as coach on Thursday but would have expected a greater cushion given their dominance.

Flick's team had 30 attempts in total and controlled 85.3 per cent of the possession, though only Timo Werner and Leroy Sane found a way through.

On Sunday, Group J leaders Armenia visit Stuttgart for Flick's first home game since he took over as Germany coach.

"We created three or four good chances at the start; however, we were lacking confidence in front of goal. We need to get that back," Flick said in a pre-match news conference on Saturday, reflecting on the trip to Liechtenstein.

"We coaches are of course not blind either, we are not there to talk things through nicely. In terms of the goalscoring against Liechtenstein, we cannot be satisfied with a result of 2-0.

"At the beginning of a path that you take as a coach with a team, other things are decisive. That was important to me.

"We've got some important games coming up, so it was good to get used to one another. As a result, the starting XI won't change much. Our main aim was nine points from these three matches, and it still is."

With Flick promising few changes, it should mean another start for Werner, who came through the ranks at Stuttgart before moving to RB Leipzig and then Chelsea.

"Sometimes you win a game like that one against Liechtenstein 8-0 because the first few chances go in," said Werner, who is relishing the opportunity to play in his home city.

"On other occasions, however, you only win 2-0. The time will come again where we score two goals from a half-chance.

"Us Swabians are known for being a bit critical, but we love our football. We need to show tomorrow that we're all good players. If we do that, the Stuttgart locals will go home happy."

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