Nagelsmann embracing Germany's blistering EURO 2024 start

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Nagelsmann embracing Germany's blistering EURO 2024 start

Nagelsmann on the touch line in Germany's Euro opener
Nagelsmann on the touch line in Germany's Euro openerAFP
Germany manager Julian Nagelsmann (36) said he would not be a "killjoy" after the host nation's blistering start to Euro 2024 - a 5-1 thumping of Scotland in Munich.

With five different players scoring goals, Germany delivered their best showing so far under Nagelsmann - and one of their most convincing team performances in some time.

"I'm pretty far away from being a killjoy," Nagelsmann said, adding "it doesn't make much sense to step on the brakes now."

Nagelsmann, who at 36 is the youngest coach in Euros history, has turned around a side which won just three of 11 games in 2023.

Germany impressed acros the park against the Scots. Veterans Toni Kroos and Ilkay Gundogan pulled the strings from midfield, while 21-year-old duo Jamal Musiala and Florian Wirtz dazzled up front.

Musiala, named man of the match, said "yes, I think we can say that" when asked if he played the best game of his young career.

Thomas Mueller, one of three 2014 World Cup winners in the side alongside Toni Kroos and Manuel Neuer, said "it was a perfect evening for us.

"We want to keep going like this," he added. "This was one game on the way to much, much more that we want to achieve."

With a month to go until the July 14 final in Berlin, Nagelsmann said he would give his players time to recover and enjoy the victory, before preparing to take on a "free-spirited" Hungary in Stuttgart on Wednesday.

"Tomorrow, I'll leave the players alone. On Sunday, I'll start getting them ready.

"We won a game but we need to win at least another one (to qualify for the knockouts)."

Hungary beat Germany 1-0 in Leipzig shortly before the Qatar World Cup in 2022. Since then, Hungary have only lost two of the 17 games they have played.

"Hungary are an unpleasant opponent, they can sometimes be wild and they're difficult to get a hold of. There are a lot of free spirits out there."

'Now, we have a team'

After years of reports the German public had fallen out of love with the side, fans in the football-mad nation appear to have returned to the men's national side.

A domestic audience of 22.49 million people watched the tournament opener on TV, a 69% market share, a higher quota than any Qatar World Cup match and the best total since Germany's last 16 exit at the Euros in 2021.

Niclas Fuellkrug, an old school centre-forward with a missing front tooth who made his Germany debut three months shy of his 30th birthday, has been particularly embraced by the German fans.

An elated Fuellkrug, who scored Germany's fourth with a powerful strike and had another chalked off for offside, said things were falling into place for the hosts.

"When you look at the past few years, that was very important for us. Hopefully it continues like that and we'll score a few more goals.

"We've also had good quality in the past few years, but we couldn't put it all together. Now, we've got a team on the field."

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