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Euro 2024; Germany to go up against Scotland to kickoff tournament 



Hosts Germany kick off Euro 2024 on Friday in Munich against Scotland, the start of a journey the three-time continental champions hope will conclude with victory in the final in Berlin on July 14.

After three dismal tournaments in a row — including going out in the group stage at the 2018 and 2022 World Cups — Julian Nagelsmann’s side took on the challenge of putting Germany back among Europe’s heavyweights.

Three wins in 11 matches last year reduced already low expectations, but under Nagelsmann the outlook has gradually improved, and there is increased optimism from supporters as well.

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 after a similar spell in the doldrums.

“I think it’s normal that you feel a little bit of pressure before a tournament and before important games like these,” the 36-year-old Nagelsmann said on Thursday.

“The players are fired up, they want it, they are hungry for better results than in the last tournaments.”

“I want the country to spur us on, we want to use the home advantage,” Nagelsmann added.

Germany will be fancied to top Group A, which also features Hungary and Switzerland, given the quality at their disposal, from veteran playmaker Toni Kroos to younger stars Florian Wirtz and Jamal Musiala.

Manuel Neuer remains the first-choice goalkeeper despite a series of recent errors, while Antonio Rudiger adds steel to the defence.

Captain Ilkay Gundogan, who played at the last two World Cups and Euro 2020, where Germany exited in the last 16, said it was essential the hosts started well on Friday.

“No other game is like the first one,” said the Barcelona midfielder.

“After this you can use the momentum and euphoria for the next ones. That’s why the most important goal tomorrow is to win the game.”

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