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Former France boss Gérard Houllier sat down to answer UEFA.com users' Twitter questions in our latest #Ask session. He discusses Claudio Marchisio, Liverpool FC's 2001 treble, why Spain are such a joy to watch and shares his excitement ahead of Sunday's rematch of what he considers the best game of UEFA EURO 2012.
@PhilCrawford89: So far, which UEFA EURO 2012 match has been your favourite?
Gérard Houllier: The first match between Italy and Spain. I also really enjoyed the game between Russia and Czech Republic, which wasn't as one-sided as the 4-1 [result suggested], despite what many think. The two teams played with great spirit and managed 37 shots on target, which is exceptional. It was a spectacular game. As far as technical quality goes, I would say that Spain v Italy was even better.
@zefa22: Do you think Spain's perfection has become a little boring?
Houllier: I don't think so. I think that some games are more difficult for them because opponents know their game better and have found ways to counter them. What I noticed against Portugal is that they managed to get out of situations when they were pressed. Thanks to their team skills, they come out and sometimes even manage to play their football from the back. What hasn't maybe gone too well this year is the finishing. Maybe they weren't clinical enough with their final touch, they sometimes had [more] possession but not always the finishing touch that goes with it.
@AntsJuventino: How highly do you rate Italy midfielder Claudio Marchisio?
Houllier: He is a very good player, very good technique, very active. Italy are the team with the most shots on goal, with an average of around 20 shots per game. This team take risks, they play positively, they don't play the 'Italian way', the way we thought they would. And Marchisio is one of the engines of this team.
@jackpaulbrosnan: What is your best moment as a manager?
Houllier: Most probably when we [Liverpool] won our third trophy; it must have been the UEFA Cup in Dortmund. We had won the FA Cup four days before winning the UEFA Cup, so we didn't celebrate it. We had postponed the celebrations a little bit in order to be in the best condition for the UEFA Cup final which we won.
@MarcCampoverde: What's the first step to becoming a professional coach? How can you begin working within a professional club?
Houllier: First of all, you must gain experience, step by step, starting with youth teams and getting your diplomas – B Licence, then A Licence, then Pro Licence. But the most important thing is to gain experience. I would say that spending two or three years as an assistant is very good for your development because you're learning without really bearing responsibility. You are close to what's being done or decided. Then, thanks to your own personality and expertise, and your own football philosophy, you can become a coach.
@RayiMuhammad: Who is the best player in the world?
Houllier: Without a doubt [Lionel] Messi. First of all he has scored more than 60 goals in one season which is huge and on top of that, he can decide a game on his own.
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