Football News

Germany route to the Euro 2024 final: Die Mannschaft’s potential opponents on path to glory

By Andy Watson

Published: 10:30, 5 July 2024

Euro 2024 has been positive for Germany so far, with the hosts preparing for the quarter-finals. But who could Die Mannschaft face on their route to the final?

The hosts will be eager to do well on home soil, but entered the tournament on something of a low ebb given their high-achieving past.

They were ranked #16 in the FIFA men’s rankings, their lowest ranking since 2004. Of course, that will have been impacted slightly by the fact that they were not playing competitive fixtures having automatically qualified for Euro 2024.

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Germany’s potential route to Euro 2024 final

Germany’s route as Group A winners

Last 16:  After their dramatic equaliser against Switzerland, Germany were matched with Group C runners-up Denmark in the last 16. Kai Havertz converted from the spot shortly after the interval before Jamal Musiala doubled the hosts’ lead in Dortmund, sending Germany through with a 2-0 victory.

Quarter-finals: In the next round, Spain await having come from behind to beat Georgia 4-1 in the last 16.

Semi-finals: Things don’t get any easier in the semi-finals, with Portugal or France the potential opponents.

Final: Based on outright odds and their side of the draw England could be the most likely opponents for Germany in the final. But it could just as easily be the Netherlands, a group-stage rematch against Switzerland, or Turkey.

Germany’s Group A results

5-1 vs Scotland – Germany kicked off the tournament against Scotland on the opening night of Euro 2024 and it couldn’t have gone much better. They won 5-1 with five different scorers. Florian Wirtz, 21 years and 41 days old, became the nation’s youngest-ever goalscorer at the Euros. Then Jamal Musiala became their second-youngest goalscorer at the Euros. Kai Havertz added a third from the penalty spot and substitutes Niclas Fullkrug and Emre Can completed the rout. Germany’s odds on winning the competition subsequently shortened.

2-0 vs Hungary – Germany were able to secure their passage to the knockout stages with a game to spare, following a 2-0 victory over Hungary. The German side had to hold on to their lead at points, with their opponents missing a couple of big chances in the second half but goals from Jamal Musiala and Ilkay Gundogan were enough to see Julian Nagelsmann and his side through to the round of 16.

1-1 vs Switzerland – Switzerland almost shocked Die Mannschaft in their final group stage game after a well-taken goal by Dan Ndoye almost handed the Nati all three points. However, Niclas Fullkrug came off the bench to score a 92nd-minute equaliser to send Germany through as winners of the group rather than in second place.

Germany’s reasons for optimism

Apart from reaching the quarter-finals and scoring 10 goals in the process? Well, there is a lot more optimism around German football now than there was last autumn. At that stage, Germany looked lost for ideas and for a nation of their history to have to appoint a temporary manager, even one of the quality of Nagelsmann, is obviously not an ideal solution.

But Nagelsmann has turned things around. The approach of Nagelsmann to use younger, in-form players, regardless of club, has meant that there is a bit more freshness to the squad as well. Florian Wirtz is full of confidence after winning the Bundesliga with Bayer Leverkusen, and Jamal Musiala has put Bayern Munich’s tough season behind him — also overcoming his injury issues.

Die Mannschaft have already proven they can overcome adversity after Denmark pushed them all the way in their 2-0 last 16 win.

Germany’s potential roadblocks

Youthfulness could be an issue for Germany in terms of a lack of late tournament experience, but what better way for them to get used to the latter stages?

And, of course, there’s the road to the final. Many of the big names at Euro 2024 are in Germany’s half of the bracket, with Die Mannschaft potentially having to beat Spain and one of Portugal, France or Belgium en route to the final, where they could then face an England side who, despite not convincing, boast the likes of Harry Kane, Jude Bellingham and Phil Foden.

Julian Nagelsmann tactical insights

Julian Nagelsmann has made it very clear what his favoured starting XI is for Germany. Die Mannschaft have made minimal changes through the tournament so far, with only Leroy Sane, David Raum and Nico Schlotterbeck coming in for Florian Wirtz, Maximilian Mittelstadt and Jonathan Tah, respectively, in the last 16. That means Kai Havertz has started up front ahead of Niclas Fullkrug, though the Borussia Dortmund man has certainly made an impact from the bench.

Nagelsmann has lined Germany up in a 4-2-3-1 with Ilkay Gundogan in the No.10 flanked by wonderkids Florian Wirtz and Jamal Musiala. It was easy to predict, with Nagelsmann preferring to play quick forwards, often bypassing midfield, and taking as few touches as possible to play into the opposition’s defensive area.

But he does also have Toni Kroos capable of pulling the strings from deep. The midfielder’s return to availability, just before his retirement, has been a massive boost for Nagelsmann and Germany. Kroos has looked sensational so far during this tournament.

Fan and media perspectives

There is an acceptance in Germany that this is not their vintage crop of players. But there is also genuine excitement in the country around a number of young talents that are emerging in attack.

A good start has proven vital in getting supporters excited on home soil and the atmosphere in Dortmund against Denmark carried a real buzz. If they can make it past Spain in the quarter-finals, the German public will really start believing they can go all the way.