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Euro 2024 Group A guide: Fixtures, squads and star players to watch as Scotland take on Germany

Hosts Germany face Scotland, Hungary and Switzerland in Group A

Jamie Braidwood
Thursday 13 June 2024 12:28
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Steve Clarke leads Scotland to Germany
Steve Clarke leads Scotland to Germany (Getty Images)

Don’t laugh but when the draw for the Euro 2024 finals was made, there was a faint sense of optimism among the Scotland contingent that Steve Clarke’s side were ready to spoil the party when facing hosts Germany in the tournament opener on Friday 14 June. Frankly, December 2023 feels a long time ago now. Back then, Germany were in a funk and could have been susceptible to a well-organised, cohesive unit. Now depleted and out-of-form, Scotland do not look like the same team that roared to automatic qualification last year. The odds of an upset are stacked against them.

Still, the Tartan Army will be out in force as Scotland head to just a second men’s major international tournament in 25 years, determined to put on a better show after falling a little flat at Hampden at Euro 2020. As it was three years ago, Scotland’s goal will simply be getting out of their group and reaching the last-16. Given the tournament format, securing even just one Group A victory against Germany, Switzerland or Hungary could be enough. There are harder groups, sure, but Scotland’s form suggests they could still be fourth-favourites to progress.

Germany, for instance, look like Germany again, even as expectations for the host nation are not as high as you might expect. Embarrassing group-stage exits from the 2018 and 2022 World Cups still hang over this team but Julian Nagelsmann appears to have rediscovered the feel-good factor. Comparisons are already being made to Ein Sommermärchen, the summer fairytale of 2006, when a young, fresh Germany side united a country as they progressed through their home World Cup. Recent wins over the Netherlands and France suggests Germany are coming into form at the right time.

Julian Nagelsmann takes hosts Germany into Euro 2024
Julian Nagelsmann takes hosts Germany into Euro 2024 (Getty Images)

Hungary and Switzerland, meanwhile, have certain reputations to uphold. Hungary were drawn in the group of death at the last Euros but claimed draws against France and Germany and almost snuck through; their performances in the following Uefa Nations League, beating England home and away and winning against Germany in Leipzig, underlined their capacity to thrive as the underdog. This has hardly been a golden generation for Switzerland but they have qualified from the group stages at their last five major tournaments - three World Cups and two Euros. The Swiss stunned favourites France on penalties on their way to reaching the quarer-finals at Euro 2020, where they almost did the same to Spain.

Scotland could only dream of such a track record at major tournaments, yet the journey the national team has been on under Clarke has been one of small but consistent steps. Scotland made an outstanding start to qualifying, with famous wins over Spain at Hampden and Norway in Oslo. It gave Scotland a sense of momentum that has rather fizzled out in the months since. Scotland head into Euro 2024 lacking wins, goals, and right backs since the turn of the year, with too many injuries and not enough squad depth. The opening night in Munich now looks daunting and Scotland need a reason to believe.

Squads for Euro 2024

Germany

Goalkeepers: Oliver Baumann (Hoffenheim), Manuel Neuer (Bayern Munich), Marc-Andre ter Stegen (Barcelona)

Defenders: Waldemar Anton (Stuttgart), Benjamin Henrichs (RB Leipzig), Joshua Kimmich (Bayern Munich), Robin Koch (Eintracht Frankfurt), Maximilian Mittelstadt (Stuttgart), David Raum (RB Leipzig), Antonio Rudiger (Real Madrid), Nico Schlotterbeck (Borussia Dortmund), Jonathan Tah (Bayer Leverkusen)

Midfielders: Robert Andrich (Bayer Leverkusen), Chris Fuhrich (Stuttgart), Pascal Gross (Brighton & Hove Albion), Ilkay Gundogan (Barcelona), Toni Kroos (Real Madrid), Jamal Musiala (Bayern Munich), Leroy Sane (Bayern Munich), Florian Wirtz (Bayer Leverkusen), Emre Can (Borussia Dortmund)

Forwards: Maximilian Beier (Hoffenheim), Niclas Fullkrug (Borussia Dortmund), Kai Havertz (Arsenal), Thomas Muller (Bayern Munich), Deniz Undav (Stuttgart)

(Getty Images)

Scotland

Goalkeepers: Zander Clark (Hearts), Angus Gunn (Norwich), Liam Kelly (Motherwell);

Defenders: Liam Cooper (Leeds), Grant Hanley (Norwich), Jack Hendry (Al-Ettifaq), Ross McCrorie (Bristol City), Scott McKenna (Copenhagen), Ryan Porteous (Watford), Anthony Ralston (Celtic), Andy Robertson (Liverpool), Greg Taylor (Celtic), Kieran Tierney (Real Sociedad)

Midfielders: Stuart Armstrong (Southampton), Ryan Christie (Bournemouth), Billy Gilmour (Brighton & Hove Albion), Ryan Jack (Rangers), Kenny McLean (Norwich), John McGinn (Aston Villa), Callum McGregor (Celtic), Scott McTominay (Manchester United), Lewis Morgan (New York Red Bulls)

Forwards: Che Adams (Southampton), Tommy Conway (Bristol City), James Forrest (Celtic), Lawrence Shankland (Hearts).

(Getty Images)

Hungary 

Goalkeepers: Denes Dibusz (Ferencvaros), Peter Gulacsi (RB Leipzig), Peter Szappanos (Paks)

Defenders: Botond Balogh (Parma), Bendeguz Bolla (Servette), Endre Botka (Ferencvaros), Marton Dardai (Hertha BSC), Attila Fiola (Fehervar), Adam Lang (Omonia Nicosia), Willi Orban (RB Leipzig), Attila Szalai (Freiburg)

Midfielders: Mihaly Kata (MTK), Milos Kerkez (Bournemouth), Laszlo Kleinheisler (Hajduk Split), Adam Nagy (Spezia Calcio), Zsolt Nagy (Puskas Akademia), Loic Nego (Le Havre), Andras Schafer (Union Berlin), Callum Styles (Sunderland), Dominik Szoboszlai (Liverpool)

Forwards: Martin Adam (Ulsan Hyundai), Kevin Csoboth (Ujpest), Daniel Gazdag (Philadelphia Union), Krisztofer Horvath (Kecskemet), Roland Sallai (Freiburg), Barnabas Varga (Ferencvaros).

(Getty Images)

Switzerland

Goalkeepers: Yann Sommer (Inter Milan), Yvon Mvogo (Lorient), Gregor Kobel (Borussia Dortmund)

Defenders: Ricardo Rodriguez (Torino), Fabian Schar (Newcastle United), Manuel Akanji (Manchester City), Nico Elvedi (Borussia Monchengladbach), Silvan Widmer (Mainz 05), Cedric Zesigner (Wolfsburg), Leonidas Stergiou (Stuttgart)

Midfielders: Granit Xhaka (Bayer Leverkusen), Xherdan Shaqiri (Chicago Fire), Remo Freuler (Bologna), Denis Zakaria (Monaco), Michel Aebischer (Bologna), Fabian Rieder (Rennes), Ardon Jashari (Luzern), Filip Ugrinic (Young Boys), Vincent Sierro (Toulouse)

Forwards: Breel Embolo (Monaco), Steven Zuber (AEK Athens), Ruben Vargas (Augsburg), Renato Steffen (Lugano), Noah Okafor (AC Milan), Zeki Amdouni (Burnley), Andi Zeqiri (Genk), Dan Ndoye (Bologna), Kwadwo Duah (Ludogorets).

(Getty Images)

Fixtures

14 June

20:00: Germany vs Scotland (Munich)

15 June

14:00: Hungary vs Switzerland (Cologne)

19 June

17:00: Germany vs Hungary (Stuttgart)

20:00: Scotland vs Switzerland (Cologne)

23 June

20:00: Switzerland vs Germany (Frankfurt)

20:00: Scotland vs Hungary (Stuttgart)

Four players to watch

Germany: Florian Wirtz

The 21-year-old Wunderkind of German football, and the jewel in Bayer Leverkusen’s unbeaten Bundesliga season. Wirtz enjoyed a stunning comeback campaign after recovering from an ACL injury that ruled the attacking midfielder out of the 2022 World Cup and was named Bundesliga player of the season as Leverkusen won the league title for the first time. Wirtz, with his silky dribbling, creativity and eye for a goal, was instrumental. A first major tournament offers a new stage to display his talents.

(Getty Images)

Scotland: Scott McTominay

Only Romelu Lukaku, Cristiano Ronaldo, Kylian Mbappe and Harry Kane scored more goals in qualifying for Euro 2024 than then Manchester United midfielder, which isn’t bad company. An easy target for blame at club level, McTominay was transformed wearing the Scotland jersey and his seven goals helped Steve Clarke’s side to Germany. Scotland desperately need some more if they are to get out of the group. His build-up has been disrupted by injury, but McTominay’s late-runs and presence in the box offer an important threat. Once used in Scotland’s defence, he is now a key part of Clarke’s attack.

(Getty Images)

Switzerland: Granit Xhaka

A player who often doesn’t get the respect that he deserves, but maybe that is starting to change after helping Leverkusen to an unbeaten Bundesliga title in what was an unforgettable debut season in Germany. Now 31, Xhaka flourished in his new home after leaving Arsenal last summer and offered important leadership to Leverkusen as they closed in on an historic achievement in club football. His role for Switzerland is similar: this will be Xhaka’s sixth major tournament and his experience will be vital if they are to make it out of Group A.

(Getty Images)

Hungary: Dominik Szoboszlai

The undisputed star in the Hungary side, Szoboszlai successfully made the step to the Premier League and enjoyed an impressive start to his first season at Liverpool, even earning comparisons to Steven Gerrard in his first few months at Anfield. A hamstring injury over the winter lingered into the spring and rather stalled his progress, which is a concern as Szoboszlai prepares to lead his country into the Euros. But when fit and firing, few midfielders in the world offer more variety than the 23-year-old, with energy, dribbling, passing and a ferocious strike from distance. Hungary will need a few moments of his magic.

(Getty Images)

Odds to win Group A

Germany 4/9

Switzerland 6/1

Hungary 10/1

Scotland 11/1

Prediction

Germany should win the group comfortably - although most people would have predicted that ahead of the 2018 and 2022 World Cups - theoretically leaving a scrap for second and third place. One win could be enough, which offers a considerable advantage to Switzerland and Hungary as they face each other in their opening game. Scotland will be targeting the Switzerland fixture in Cologne and hoping a draw against Hungary in Stuttgart is enough to guarantee progress. It’s difficult to call but Scotland could find it even harder if they are playing catch-up from the opening night.

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