• Wednesday, July 24, 2024

FOOTBALL

Germany launch Euro 2024 in style; crush Scotland 5-1

The hosts, who have not a major crown in a decade now, handed the comprehensive defeat to the 10-man opponents after Ryan Porteous was sent off for a two-footed challenge. They also scored an own goal.

Angus Gunn of Scotland dives and fails to save the shot of Kai Havertz of Germany which results in a third Germany goal during the UEFA EURO 2024 group stage match between the two countries at Munich Football Arena in Munich, Germany, on June 14, 2024. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)

By: India Weekly

GERMANY thrashed 10-man Scotland 5-1 as the Euro 2024 hosts kicked off the tournament in style in Munich on Friday (14), the start of a journey they hope culminates in a record fourth continental title.

Florian Wirtz struck the opening goal 10 minutes in and Jamal Musiala soon doubled Germany’s lead with an emphatic finish.

“We couldn’t have had a better start. We’ve seen the atmosphere in the country, and we need that,” Musiala said of Germany’s lightning start.

A long-awaited night for Scotland went from bad to worse before half-time when Ryan Porteous was sent off for a two-footed challenge on Ilkay Gundogan, with Kai Havertz tucking away the resulting penalty.

Niclas Fuellkrug powered in a fourth midway through the second half after coming on as a substitute and not even a late own goal from Antonio Ruediger could spoil an otherwise perfect start to the campaign for Germany.

Read: Germany aim for major crown in a decade as Euro 2024 kick off

There was even time for Emre Can to add a fifth goal with the final kick of the game.

– Disastrous Scottish start –

Scotland could surely not have envisioned such a disastrous beginning, but they must regroup quickly with games to come in Group A against Switzerland and Hungary.

“Today was hugely disappointing but you’re playing against the host nation and it’s the first game… things don’t get much tougher than that,” said Scotland captain Andy Robertson.

After three successive failures at major tournaments, including back-to-back group stage exits at the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, this was a statement of intent from an experienced Germany side.

It is Germany’s first men’s major tournament as hosts since the 2006 World Cup, and they are looking to recreate the magic that helped rekindle the passion for the national team then.

Germany coach Julian Nagelsmann had spoken of his players’ hunger to atone for the shortcomings of recent times, with the outlook improving and optimism gradually increasing since his appointment in September.

His counterpart Steve Clarke on the other hand urged Scotland to “fear no one” going into the country’s second straight Euros after more than two decades in the international wilderness.

Almost right away Germany took the game to a Scotland side who arrived in Munich with only one win from their past nine matches — an unimpressive 2-0 victory over lowly Gibraltar last week.

– Germany hit the ground running –

Scotland goalkeeper Angus Gunn alertly blocked from an offside Wirtz, but Germany soon grasped the match by the scruff of the neck.

Toni Kroos, coaxed out of his Germany retirement earlier this year, pinged a ball out to Joshua Kimmich, who teed up Wirtz to sweep in from the edge of the area as Gunn could only help the shot in via the post.

Kroos will hang up his boots for good after the tournament, but with him and Gundogan running the Germany midfield they bring a level of knowledge and maturity few can match.

Gundogan threaded a pass through the Scotland defence to Havertz, who worked it back towards Musiala, the Bayern Munich attacker creating himself space to crash a strike into the roof of the net.

Germany were initially awarded a penalty as Musiala went down in a heap after getting caught between Ryan Christie and Kieran Tierney, but referee Clement Turpin deemed the foul occurred outside the area after consulting the touchline monitor.

That merely delayed Germany’s third goal, which did eventually come from the spot following another VAR review that led to Porteous being sent off for a crude challenge on Gundogan.

Havertz calmly sent Gunn the wrong way and any remaining optimism drained away from Scotland’s once boisterous and sizeable travelling contingent of supporters.

Scotland tried to limit the damage in the second half, but there was no stopping Fuellkrug’s thumping drive into the top corner within a few minutes of his introduction as a replacement for Havertz.

The only bright spot for Scotland came three minutes from time as Ruediger inadvertently diverted Scott McKenna’s header past goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.

And there was still more punishment to come as substitute Can curled home from 20 yards at the death to cap a glorious night for the Germans.

Reigning European champions Italy, who failed to qualify for the last World Cup, get their title defence under way on Saturday against Albania in Dortmund.

Before that Spain take on Croatia in the opening Group B fixture in Berlin, but the day’s first match is between Hungary and Switzerland in Cologne.

(AFP)

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