• Saturday, July 20, 2024

FOOTBALL

Euro 2024: Germany face Denmark in last 16 after Swiss wake-up call

Germany, with a more impressive record than Denmark, were defeated by the Danes in the Euro 1992 final. (Photo: Getty Images)

By: Vivek Mishra

Euro 2024 hosts Germany face Denmark in the last 16 in Dortmund on Saturday, following a 1-1 draw with Switzerland in their final group stage match.

Germany had a strong start to the Euros with wins over Scotland and Hungary but were challenged by Switzerland, only securing a draw with Niclas Fuellkrug’s stoppage-time header, which ensured they topped their group.

This match served as a crucial reminder for Germany, with fans eyeing a fourth Euros title, highlighting areas for improvement under coach Julian Nagelsmann.

‘We underestimated them’

Germany, with a more impressive record than Denmark, were defeated by the Danes in the Euro 1992 final. Denmark’s unexpected triumph, after being admitted following Yugoslavia’s exclusion, remains a significant memory for Germany.

Berti Vogts, a Euros and World Cup winner as a player, and Germany’s coach in the 1992 final, admitted in his RP newspaper column that his team “underestimated” Denmark back then.

“In 1992 we lost the Euros final against a great Danish team even though we were the favourites — like the German team is now,” Vogts wrote. “Everyone thought we had the title in the bag — unfortunately, some players did too.”

Vogts noted that Denmark, like Switzerland, has a well-drilled team with players at top clubs. He emphasised that while today’s Danish team might not match the 1992 squad’s quality, Germany is under significant pressure.

“The Danes were hungry for success and carefree, they just played football and took us by surprise — also because we underestimated them. The German team should not make that mistake now. The Switzerland game was therefore an important warning shot.”

Questions for Nagelsmann

Germany won just three of 11 games in 2023 but remain unbeaten in 2024, with five wins and two draws. Nagelsmann’s strategy of sticking with the same starting XI has provided stability but will cost him centre-back Jonathan Tah for the Denmark match due to a second yellow card against Switzerland.

Nico Schlotterbeck from Borussia Dortmund will replace Tah. Antonio Rudiger is also doubtful with a hamstring injury. Schlotterbeck expressed hope for Rudiger’s recovery, noting the difficulty of overcoming such an injury.

Schlotterbeck stated that the Germans were well-prepared for Denmark. “The whole match plan, defence, offence. We know about Denmark and how we will play them,” he said. Playing in his home stadium, he anticipated Dortmund’s yellow wall turning into a “wall of white.”

Nagelsmann might also consider replacing Arsenal forward Kai Havertz with Niclas Fuellkrug, who has scored twice off the bench in the tournament. Since his debut in 2022, Fuellkrug has 13 goals compared to Havertz’s seven.

Fuellkrug, who was in second-division football two seasons ago, said he was not concerned about his role as a substitute. “The title is so much more important than the individual,” he stated.

(AFP)

Related Stories
Videos

Mrunal Thakur on Dhamaka, experience of working with Kartik Aaryan,…

Nushrratt Bharuccha on Chhorii, pressure of comparison with Lapachhapi, upcoming…

Abhimanyu Dassani on Meenakshi Sundareshwar, how his mom Bhagyashree reacted…