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Three things we learned as Germany thump shell-shocked Scotland in Euro 2024 opener


Germany thumped Scotland in the Euro 2024 opener (Pictures: Getty)

Germany kick-started their home Euros in some style as they thumped a shell-shocked Scotland 5-1 at the Allianz Arena.

Any hopes of a stunning Euro 2024 upset were put to bed early as young guns Florian Wirtz and Jamal Musiala put the hosts two goals up inside 20 minutes.

Germany added a third on the stroke of half-time through a Kai Havertz penalty and to make matters worse for the Scots, defender Ryan Porteous was sent off for clattering into Ilkay Gundogan.

Champions League finalists Niclas Fullkrug and Emre Can came off the bench to score Germany’s fourth and fifth, though Scotland at least avoided the heaviest-ever Euros defeat and gave their loyal fans something to cheer about courtesy of Antonio Rudiger’s late own goal.

With Euro 2024 now officially underway, here’s what we learned from a most one-sided opener in Munich…

GERMAN FEAR FACTOR RETURNING

Given Germany’s sheer dominance this evening and the celebratory scenes around the country, it’s worth remembering that not too long ago many within German football feared the Euros could became an embarrassment for the hosts.

From March to September 2023, Germany lost four out of five games against teams they should be beating. The run of form led to the unprecedented sacking of Hansi Flick.

But former RB Leipzig and Bayern Munich boss Julian Nagelsmann turned things around and optimism had been growing in the weeks leading up to the Euros.

Germany celebrate their fourth goal at the Allianz Arena (Picture: Getty)

They remain behind England and France in the pecking order, according to the bookmakers at least, but they sent a clear message to their Euro 2024 rivals by dispatching Scotland.

It did not take long for the hosts to take control, Bundesliga winner Wirtz silencing the Scottish faithful with a crisp strike from the edge of the box.

Jamal Musiala and Havertz combined to double Germany’s lead nine minutes later, the former smashing past Angus Gunn to leave Scotland with a mountain to climb.

Things got even better for the hosts before half-time – Arsenal’s Havertz placing a penalty into the bottom corner after Porteous crashed into Gundogan with a rash foul that led to his straight red.

Despite Fullkrug’s powerful fourth and Can’s injury-time fifth, Scotland were able to limit the damage in the second half and avoid the biggest-ever margin of defeat in a Euros game, which remains five goals.

Julian Nagelsmann’s side laid down a marker (Picture: Getty)

They will come up against stronger opponents but Germany looked worryingly impressive as they thrashed Scotland. Musiala ripped the defence apart with a display that suggests he could be on the verge of an outstanding tournament, while the retiring Toni Kroos ran the show as he begins his farewell tour.

Perhaps we shouldn’t be surprised by Germany’s early surge. After all, their squad includes World Cup winner Manuel Neuer, two-time Champions League winner Antonio Rudiger, 12-time Bundesliga winner Thomas Muller as well as the aforementioned Gundogan, Musiala and Havertz.

As always, write off the Germans at your peril.

SCOTLAND HAVE WORK TO DO

This was never going to be the game that decided Scotland’s Euros fate, but they will need to pick themselves up ahead of their remaining Group A games against Hungary and Switzerland.

Even after going 2-0 down, Scotland favourite Ally McCoist said it was important for Steve Clarke’s side to avoid a thrashing, for their goal difference as much as their confidence.

That failed to happen but the many Scotland fans in Germany shouldn’t be booking their flights home just yet. Yes, the nation have never reached the knockout stages of a European Championships, and this was a big setback, but they can respond against Hungary and Switzerland, two teams they have no reason to fear.

Scotland suffered a heavy defeat in Munich (Picture: Getty)

Losing Watford defender Porteous for half of the Germany game and at least one more group match won’t help their cause but they can more than compete with the Hungarians and the Swiss.

With six third-placed teams set to join the top-two from each group in the knockout stages, Scotland could progress with just three points, and they should take solace from that fact as they reflect on a humbling night in Munich.

‘Everything that could go wrong, has gone wrong,’ ex-Scotland defender Graeme Souness told ITV at half-time.

‘You don’t make a good start, it’s sloppy first goal, you’re then angry at yourself and a catalogue of mistakes follow. Culminating in a player being sent off. It’s been an absolute nightmare.’ 

THE TARTAN ARMY ARE HERE TO PARTY

An estimated 150,000 Scots (4% of the population) are expected to descend into Germany by the conclusion of the group stage and their presence already promises to be an off-field highlight of Euro 2024. 

Around 10,000 tickets were given to Scotland for the tournament opener but ITV commentator Sam Matterface suspected far more had bagged tickets for the showpiece event. 

As you would expect, the Scots were in fine voice ahead of the game, with some even able to enjoy the build-up alongside legendary manager Sir Alex Ferguson. 

The vocal support continued inside the stadium, a resounding rendition of Flower of Scotland prompting Matterface to suggest the match was ‘turning into an away game’ for hosts Germany. 

One end of the stadium was a sea of blue as Scotland shirts and flags covered the entire stand. And ex-England striker Ian Wright believes that support will be crucial for Scotland in the Euros. 

‘That will definitely help Scotland during this tournament,’ he said on ITV’s coverage. ‘Especially when things get tough.’

Even given the desperate scoreline, several renditions of Flower of Scotland rang out while the sound of bagpipes could be heard reverberating around the stadium.

Ironic chants of ‘You’re Not Singing Anymore’ were aimed at even appreciated by the German faithful after Scotland’s late consolation goal, though the hosts soon went up the other end and secured the biggest-ever opening Euros win.

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