• Wednesday, July 24, 2024

FOOTBALL

Germany thump 10-man Scotland in Euro 2024 opener

After three successive failures at major tournaments, including group stage exits at the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, Germany made a strong statement of intent.

Florian Wirtz of Germany celebrates with teammates after scoring his team’s first goal during the Euro opener against Scotland. (Photo: Getty Images)

By: Vivek Mishra

Germany thrashed 10-man Scotland 5-1 as the Euro 2024 hosts launched the tournament in Munich on Friday, starting their journey toward a potential fourth continental title.

Florian Wirtz scored the first goal 10 minutes in, followed by Jamal Musiala doubling Germany’s lead with a decisive finish.

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

Scotland’s night worsened before halftime when Ryan Porteous was sent off for a two-footed challenge on Ilkay Gundogan, with Kai Havertz scoring the resulting penalty.

Niclas Fuellkrug added a fourth goal midway through the second half after coming on as a substitute. A late own goal by Antonio Ruediger did not spoil Germany’s strong start, and Emre Can added a fifth goal with the final kick of the game.

Scotland’s disappointing beginning means they must quickly regroup for upcoming Group A games 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 group stage exits at the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, Germany made a strong statement of intent. This is Germany’s first men’s major tournament as hosts since the 2006 World Cup, aiming to recreate the national team’s passion from then.

Germany coach Julian Nagelsmann spoke of his players’ desire to overcome recent shortcomings, with optimism increasing since his appointment in September. Scotland coach Steve Clarke urged his team to “fear no one” going into their second consecutive Euros after a long absence from major tournaments.

Germany immediately took control against a Scotland side with only one win from their past nine matches, an unimpressive 2-0 victory over Gibraltar last week.

Scotland goalkeeper Angus Gunn blocked an offside Wirtz, but Germany soon took control. Toni Kroos, who came out of retirement earlier this year, set up Wirtz to score from the edge of the area.

Kroos, set to retire after the tournament, and Gundogan provided experience in Germany’s midfield. Gundogan assisted Musiala, who created space to score Germany’s second goal.

Initially awarded a penalty for a foul on Musiala, referee Clement Turpin changed the decision after a review. However, another VAR review led to Porteous being sent off, and Havertz converted the penalty, deflating Scotland’s traveling supporters.

Scotland tried to limit further damage in the second half, but Fuellkrug’s powerful drive added a fourth goal. Ruediger’s own goal gave Scotland a brief respite, but Can’s late goal sealed a dominant win for Germany.

Reigning European champions Italy, who missed the last World Cup, begin their title defense on Saturday against Albania in Dortmund. Spain faces Croatia in Berlin, while Hungary plays Switzerland in Cologne in the day’s first match.

(AFP)

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