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Previewing Germany's Opponents and Potential Upsets in Group A

Previewing Germany’s Opponents and Potential Upsets in Group A

The European Championship is back this summer after a shortened three-year break, with Germany set to host the tournament from June 14 to July 15. The 17th edition of this competition promises to live up to expectations as the best teams on the continent face off for a shot at glory. Given the hype surrounding this year’s tournament, Euro 2024 tickets have continued to sell fast, with thousands of fans hoping to see the games live in Germany. 

 

Title holders Italy hope to repeat as champions and clinch their third European trophy, but they face stiff competition from other football giants like France, England, Spain, and the host country, Germany. Based on the quality of players these teams possess and their records in previous European competitions, a deep run in the tournament is expected. However, the Euros have given us moments of drama and surprising outcomes in the past, and considering the teams featured in this year’s tournament, we could be in for some surprise.

 

Group A is one of such groups to watch for potential upsets, with Germany set to take on Scotland, Switzerland, and Hungary. While the hosts look like the best team to win the group on paper, their competition should not be considered walkovers. Here, we analyze the other three teams in Group A and how they could potentially match up against Germany at the Euros.

Scotland

 

Scotland are a team to watch out for in Germany at the Euros, with Steve Clark’s men finishing second in the qualifying round, behind Spain. They won five out of eight games and were the only team to hand Spain a defeat after a surprise 2-0 win on Matchday 2. Although heavy underdogs make it out of the group, they could spark a surprise when they face Germany in the Euro 2024 opener on June 14.

 

Their form is questionable going into the tournament as they are yet to win a game since their 3-1 triumph over Norway. During that span, Scotland lost to England, Spain, and the Netherlands, and their most recent defeat to Northern Ireland poses even more concerns ahead of the Euros. Nevertheless, they are still a tough team that can rally them to a surprise win against the hosts.

 

Steve Clarke will likely set up a 3-4-2-1 formation like he did almost throughout the qualifiers. Angus Gunn is expected to start in goal, with Ryan Porteous and Kieran Tierney as wingbacks and Jack Hendry as the center back. Andy Robertson is expected to start higher up the pitch and play a more offensive role, while Anthony Ralston is the favorite to replace the injured Aaron Hickey on the right wing.

 

In midfield, Scott McTominay and Billy Gilmour will handle the pace of the game. The latter is expected to provide balance to the midfield while McTominay, who was Scotland’s top player in the playoffs, leads the attack. John McGinn and Ryan Christie should start behind center forward Lyndon Dykes, although they both face competition from Bologna forward Lewis Ferguson.

 

Switzerland

Germany might face another potential upset here against a Switzerland side characterized by grit and perseverance. The Swiss may have lost the top spot to Romania at the Qualifiers in what many consider an easy group, but they shouldn’t be overlooked at the Euros.

 

Murat Yakin’s side is littered with great players like Xherdan Shaqiri and Granit Xhaka, who were pivotal to a Switzerland offense that scored 22 goals in the qualifiers. Shaqiri has a reputation for scoring in big tournaments and could do it again this summer. He is in an elite company of players to scored in the last three World Cup tournaments, joined only by Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo.

 

Other key players on the team include center forward Zeki Amdouni, who finished as the Swiss’ top scorer at the Euro Qualifiers (6), rising talent Noah Okafor, and veteran midfielder Granit Xhaka, who was a key contributor to Bayer Leverkusen’s unbeaten domestic season.

 

In terms of playing style, Yakin will likely line up in 4-2-3-1, a formation he has preferred since his appointment in 2021. Premier League duo Fabian Schar and Manuel Akanji are two solid center backs and will be tasked with protecting Yann Sommer in goal, while Ricardo Rodriguez and Kevin Mbabu assume duty on the flanks. Xhaka will lead the midfield, with Remo Freuler, Denis Zakaria, and Ruben Vargas as his companions. Amdouni and Shaqiri will be the potential starting forwards, while Okafor is expected to start on the bench.

 

Hungary

 

Some bookmakers have Hungary as one of the two favorites to make it to the next round and it’s hard to argue why. Hungary is one of six teams with an unbeaten record at the Euro Qualifiers Qualifiers and will hope to continue this streak in June.

 

Marco Rossi may not have the quality of players compared to Germany, but Hungary has a good record against the hosts. In the three matches they’ve played since 2021, Germany has failed to secure a win, drawing two games and losing their most recent matchup in September 2022.

 

Rossi will favor a 3-4-3, with Peter Gulacsi as starting goalkeeper, and Attila Szalai, Adam Lang, and Willi Orban manning the defense. Loic Nego is expected to start on the wing, giving Hungary room to exploit Germany’s weak right-wing defense, while Milos Kerzek will play a more defensive role on the left. Hungary’s center midfield will feature Adam Nagy and Andras Schafer, but it is its attacking trio of Dominik Szoboszlai, Roland Sallai, and Barnabas Varga that Julian Nagelsmann should be most worried about.

 

Euro 2024 will be Szoboszlai’s debut main tournament for Hungary, and the 23-year-old captain looks ready for the task ahead of him. He was the third player with the most assists at the Qualifiers (5), and will be Rossi’s main man on the attack yet again. Varga, on the other hand, has had a stellar year at club level, with 29 goals scored in 38 games for the Hungarian side, Ferencvárosi.

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