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Euro-2024: the atmosphere rises in Munich before the Germany-Scotland opening match

The fever of Euro-2024 took over the streets of Munich on Friday and the first supporters were able to access the stadium at the end of the afternoon -noon for the opening match between Germany and Scotland, for a continental tournament played in a tense political and geopolitical context.

In a good-natured atmosphere, the imposing Tartan Army, nickname of Scotland's supporters (between 100 and 200,000 expected in Germany throughout the competition), took possession of Marienplatz in the center of Munich . And the fan zone in the Olympic Park (35,000 seats) was already full at 6:00 p.m., three hours before kick-off.

At around 6 p.m., as the sky turned blue, spectators were able to enter the stadium (66,000 seats) in the north of the Munich metropolitan area, usually occupied by Bayern Munich.

Less than a week after European elections marked by a surge in populist parties in several countries, Euro 2024 is intended to bring Europeans together around the round ball, at a time when war is still raging on the continent. The Ukrainian selection is also one of the 24 that dream of succeeding the Italian Nazionale, winner in 2021.

Euro-2024: the atmosphere rises in Munich before the Germany-Scotland opening match

Interior view of the Allianz Arena stadium during an open media day ahead of Euro-2024, in Munich, southern Germany, June 8, 2024 © AFP – Odd ANDERSEN

“For our democratic and European values, Euro-2024 can be used at any time,” said tournament director Philipp Lahm, in an interview with the German agency SID, a subsidiary of AFP, recognizing that such a competition is “always” a platform for social and political issues.

– “Europe is a great country” –

“Europe is a great country. Welcome to Euro football,” launched the popular German daily Bild in its Friday edition, with 24 faces of supporters in the colors of the qualified countries, on a central double page. in his first notebook.

“The more colorful it is, the better it will be. That means that next to black-red-gold (the German colors, Editor's note) , I will also be happy for other colors and flags of the tournament teams”, slipped German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on Friday.

Beyond the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the context of the war in Gaza between Israel and the Palestinian Islamist movement Hamas also gives rise to a “diffuse high risk”, according to Interior Minister Nancy Faeser, even if no threat of attack has been clearly identified.

Euro-2024: the atmosphere rises in Munich before the Germany-Scotland opening match

Germany midfielder and captain Ilkay Gündogan before the Germany-Ukraine friendly match in Nuremberg, eastern Germany, June 3, 2024 © AFP – Tobias SCHWARZ

Three years after a European Championship postponed by a year due to the Covid-19 pandemic, in stadiums with reduced capacity and spread across 11 different cities on the continent, ranging from Seville to Baku, the 2024 edition returns to of the most classic, in Germany, with its experience of the 2006 World Cup. Above all, all stadiums have now returned to a normal configuration, with 2.7 million spectators expected in the 10 stadiums to follow the 51 matches of the tournament.

Privilege of the country -host, the Mannschaft of Julian Nagelsmann opens the ball in front of 66,000 spectators in Munich, hoping to unite an entire country behind it, on the model of the “summer fairy tale” (“Sommermärchen”) of 2006, when the Germans finished third of a World Cup marked by incredible fervor.

– First shock Saturday –

The teammates of İlkay Gündogan, who spoke of an “incredible honor” to be able to “represent the German people with pride”, will have to be wary of Scotland, while the Germans have missed out on their last three tournament entries major (defeats against Mexico at the 2018 World Cup, France at Euro 2021 and Japan at the 2022 World Cup).

Euro-2024: the atmosphere rises in Munich before the Germany-Scotland opening match

The star striker of the France team Kylian Mbappé against Luxembourg, in a friendly match, June 5, 2024 in Metz © AFP – FRANCK FIFE

Given its record (quadruple world champion and triple European champion) and the fact that it plays at home, Germany is one of the favorites for the tournament, with Kylian Mbappé's France , vice-world champion in December 2022, and Harry Kane's England.

After the opening match, the first shock of the tournament is scheduled for Saturday in early evening in Berlin between Spain, European champion in 2008 and 2012, and Croatia of the indefatigable Luka Modric, vice-world champion in 2018 and again semi-finalist at the end of 2022 in Qatar. Two serious outsiders, just like the Italian title holder and Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal.

All rights of reproduction and representation reserved. © (2024) Agence France-Presse

Teilor Stone

By Teilor Stone

Teilor Stone has been a reporter on the news desk since 2013. Before that she wrote about young adolescence and family dynamics for Styles and was the legal affairs correspondent for the Metro desk. Before joining Thesaxon , Teilor Stone worked as a staff writer at the Village Voice and a freelancer for Newsday, The Wall Street Journal, GQ and Mirabella. To get in touch, contact me through my teilor@nizhtimes.com 1-800-268-7116