Euro 2024: Let's rock, says Kroos but Scotland 'fear no one'

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Euro 2024: Let's rock, says Kroos but Scotland 'fear no one'
Germany and Scotland kick off the Euros inside the Allianz Arena tonight

EURO 2024

Today, 10pm | Germany v Scotland

FOOTBALL | One thousand sixty-nine days since England lost to Italy in the final of Euro 2020 and the Euros are back.

Scotland face host Germany in the opening game of this summer's tournament at the Munich Allianz Arena at 10pm.

The host, who are determined to use the home tournament to regain their lost luster, have in their ranks World Cup winner Toni Kroos, who was convinced by coach Julian Nagelsmann to return to the fold in February.

Kroos said it is time to rock as he bids to Germany beat a dangerous Scotland team that boasts several Premier League players and beat Spain during qualification.

Scotland coach Steve Clarke said his team should "fear no one" ahead of Friday's Group A opening match in Munich where he hopes to become the first man to lead Scotland into the knockout phase of a major tournament.

"We have a lot of respect for the host nation and we know they're a good team," said Clarke.

"It's a difficult game. One of the mantras I've had is respect everyone and fear no one."

Scotland captain Andy Robertson said the pressure was all on Germany, who have failed to get past the last 16 at any major tournament dating back to 2016.

"We're excited. We know the games are close and we know how fast the tournament can go by you," he said.

Kroos said Scotland is not a team full of world stars, but that it was this same aspect that makes them dangerous.

While Germany do feel the pressure and tension ahead of the tournament's opening game, that was necessary, Nagelsmann said, and the team is fully fit and prepared.

"When I look in my players' eyes, I see a lot of belief and a lot of confidence, which is what I want," the former Bayern Munich coach said. "We have the home advantage, we want to win.

"We can beat pressure, and we can beat Scotland, as well."

Germany have won four World Cups and three European Championship titles, but their stellar tournament reputation has been somewhat tarnished with a series of failures since a 2014 World Cup victory in Brazil.

After their match against Scotland, Germany will face Hungary and Switzerland in a bid to reach the round of 16 and lift the trophy on home soil.

The favourites

Opta’s supercomputer has England at the top of the favourites list, with two-time world champions France and hosts Germany behind them.

France beat England in the 2022 World Cup quarter-finals, eventually finishing runners-up, four years after they won the crown in Russia.

Didier Deschamps' side are spearheaded by Real Madrid’s new recruit, superstar Kylian Mbappe, and they sit second in Fifa's world rankings.

Hosts Germany have a rich history of major tournament success, winning three Euros - the most by any nation alongside Spain.

Julian Nagelsmann’s side have a squad packed full of talent, but the Germans have failed to qualify from the group stages in the past two World Cups and reached only the last 16 in the Euros three years ago.

Spain – back-to-back champions in 2008 and 2012 - reached the semi-finals last time out, while Belgium are the second-highest ranked European nation in the world but have often disappointed on the main stage.

Defending champions Italy, who beat England in a penalty shootout at Wembley in 2021, have largely been written off having failed to qualify for the 2022 World Cup - and Euros-winning manager Roberto Mancini is no longer at the helm.

Elsewhere, Portugal, the Netherlands and Croatia sit inside the world's top 10 and could challenge.

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