• Wednesday, July 24, 2024

FOOTBALL

Germany aim for major crown in a decade as Euro 2024 set to kick off

Germany, with four World Cup titles and three European Championships, have seen their tournament reputation decline since winning the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

German fans are seen at the Marienplatz on June 13, 2024 in Munich, Germany. (Photo: Getty Images)

By: Vivek Mishra

GERMANY will start their quest for their first major title in a decade as they host the Euro 2024 tournament, beginning with their Group A opener against Scotland on Friday.

The country hopes this event will turn into a month-long celebration for visiting fans.

Germany, with four World Cup titles and three European Championships, have seen their tournament reputation decline since winning the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

They were eliminated in the group stage of the next two World Cups and exited the last Euros in the round of 16.

Hosting the tournament brings high expectations, with German fans eager for success.

Despite recent disappointments, including a 4-1 home defeat to Japan in September and a subsequent coaching change, the Germans are still aiming for victory.

Coach Julian Nagelsmann, who took over in October 2023, stated, “The normal ambition: we want to win it. It’s probably not best for us to make this big claim that we’re going to become European champions. We will face up to the task. It is a huge task, it will be challenging, and it’s certainly not a chance that comes around very often.”

Nagelsmann’s team includes talented young players like Jamal Musiala and Florian Wirtz, along with experienced veterans such as Manuel Neuer, Thomas Mueller, and Toni Kroos.

The main concern is their goal-scoring ability, with Kai Havertz as the first-choice striker and Niclas Fuellkrug on the bench.

They will need to demonstrate their ambitions against Scotland, who are playing in back-to-back European Championships for the first time since 1996.

Scotland hopes for an upset that could help them advance past the group stage for the first time in 11 international tournaments.

An estimated 150,000 travelling Scots are set to descend upon Munich for the opening game, dreaming of shocking the Germans in their own backyard.

It is just Scotland’s second major tournament since 1998. They returned to the big stage at Euro 2020 but finished bottom of the group, picking up their only point in a dour 0-0 draw with England.

“We know it’s a big game, but for us it’s the opening game of a four-team section, three matches, we know what we have to do to qualify and that’s all we focus on,” said Scotland boss Steve Clarke.

Beyond the pitch, Germany anticipates a wave of enthusiasm from an estimated 2.7 million visitors for the June 14-July 14 event.

Large fan zones have been set up in major cities, including Berlin, reminiscent of the successful fan zones during the 2006 World Cup.

However, with more than one in four Germans expressing no interest in the Euros, and security being a top priority, thousands of police will be on duty.

Interior minister Nancy Faeser stated, “Each day we have 22,000 police officers in action for the Euro.” German police are working with international colleagues to address potential threats and ensure the tournament’s success.

On Saturday, Hungary take on Switzerland in Cologne in the other match in the section before Spain play Croatia in the opening Group B game in Berlin.

Reigning champions Italy round out the action on day two against Albania in Dortmund.

Related Stories

Loading