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EURO 2024 DDAY – MYEN
Gareth Bale
OFFICIAL AMBASADOR
FULHAM-WIDE-EN
PROMO-WIDE-EN
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Euro 2024: Host Nation Dismisses Selection Debate and Focuses on Job in Hand

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So, here we are on the verge of Euro 2024 and it will all begin with the hosts – and the Scots – on Friday in Munich.

As opening spectacles go, it should be enjoyable.

One heavyweight nation against massive underdogs – remember this Scotland side does not have the talent it used to possess in abundance – two sets of supporters who are colourful and know how to party.

Once the action begins though, it could be rather one-sided.

Look at the SBOTOP Euro 2024 betting odds and you would certainly expect a one-sided encounter.

Make no mistake, Germany are back as one of the favourites for their home European Championship and they have Euro 2024 highlights and silverware in their sights.

They are my tip to win the tournament for a reason and have been for some months.

At just 36 years old, Julian Nagelsmann is the figurehead of the German coaching school once described by Mehmet Scholl as consisting of “laptop coaches”: i.e pure tacticians, many of whom were never professional players. Never afraid to try new things, he used a skateboard to whiz around the training ground at Bayern Munich. who probably would have welcomed him back to the club this summer had he been available.

As they look to put recent disappointments behind them – back-to-back World Cup group stage exits that were scarcely believable – Germany are firmly looking to turn the tide on home soil.

Amidst the inclusions and omissions, not all of Nagelsmann’s decisions have been universally popular.

Although experience can be found in defence with Antonio Rudiger at centre back and Joshua Kimmich at right back, his omission of Mats Hummels means he will not be able to rely upon one of Europe’s most in-form veterans.

It hasn’t gone down well with the player himself, only 18 months younger than Nagelsmann who gave his reasoning in April for opting to leave out the Dortmund defender and Bayern Munich midfielder Leon Goretzka.

Julian Brandt, Karim Adeyemi and Timo Werner also failed to make the cut, while a hamstring injury has seen the exciting Serge Gnabry ruled out.

There is plenty of talent at the hosts’ disposal mind.

In Hummels’ place, Jonathan Tah should partner Rudiger om the back of a super season with Bundesliga league and cup double winners Bayer Leverkusen.

Toni Kroos’ decision to come out of international retirement has naturally grabbed the headlines in the country.

The Real Madrid star has been at his metronomic best for Los Blancos this season, turning in countless superb performances to control a humming side.

It appears another of Leverkusen’s heroes, Robert Andrich, will join Kroos at the base of the Germany midfield, with Barcelona man Ilkay Gundogan playing in a more advanced role, likely alongside Jamal Musiala and Leverkusen standout Florian Wirtz.

Germany have lacked a true, world-class No.9 for a number of years, and the responsibility to lead the line is likely to fall on Niclas Fullkrug’s shoulders.

Fullkrug has netted 11 times in just 15 international appearances, five of those as a substitute, although Kai Havertz may be preferred as a starter on occasion too with the Dortmund frontman having an impact from the bench.

Another player who may have to accept servitude is Marc-André ter Stegen, with Nagelsmann indicating a fully fit Manuel Neuer remains his No.1.

Germany’s Manuel Neuer aims to produce Euro 2024 highlights
Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer during a training session in preparation for the Euro 2024

This is the manager who handed first caps to Andrich, Maximilian Beier, Aleksandar Pavlović, Waldemar Anton, Kevin Behrens, Marvin Ducksch, Chris Führich, Maximilian Mittelstädt and Deniz Undav.

Indeed, the quartet who helped VfB Stuttgart finish runners-up in the Bundesliga are coming into the tournament in form too.

You can certainly peak too soon in championships like Euro 2024, but a competition held over a month doesn’t give you too much time to play yourself into contention.

By opting for the form men, and an exciting blend of youth and experience, Nagelsmann can blank out the noise and focus on getting the country behind him and his players to create a summer to remember.

Germany are three-time European champions, a record they share with Spain.

Can they now make themselves four-midable?

   

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