Euro 2024 kick-off: Germany and Scotland prepare to get party started – live | Euro 2024

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It being the first day of the tournament – we are now under eight hours from kick-off – here is team guide 24 out of 24.

It’s none other than Euro 2020 dark horses, Turkey, now managed by the estimable Vincenzo Montella:

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Marktweg, a street in The Hague, has turned orange to honour the Oranje. Which is nice.

Marktweg, The Hague, Netherlands. Photograph: Peter Dejong/AP
Even mailboxes are adorned with the Dutch lion. Photograph: Peter Dejong/AP
Yet more orange. Photograph: Peter Dejong/AP
Marktweg, The Hague, Netherlands, featuring the Lion of the Dutch Republic. Photograph: Piroschka Van De Wouw/Reuters
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Kroos. Nagelsmann. Gundogan. They all feature on this pre-tournament-hype X graphic courtesy of Die Mannschaft:

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Regarding variations on office sweepstake rules, we went even further,” emails Jeff:

1. Winner
2. Worst team (least points, fewest goals scored if a tie)
3. Most entertaining (a complex equation involving average number of goals in their games, with close, high-scoring games getting most points)
4. Most brutal (points for red and yellow cards and total fouls).

“It’s pretty fun, the last two categories can stay alive until the end.”

Zinedine Zidane headbutts Marco Materazzi at the 2006 World Cup. Who will claim the “most brutal” prize at Euro 2024? Photograph: A9999 DB WDR/EPA
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My view on England, since you didn’t ask for it: Some people think a world-beating [or Europe-beating] midfield is the first requirement for tournament success. Personally I think it’s a settled and miserly defence, and that’s something England don’t have.

Consequently I am a bit baffled by the predictions for England to win this thing. But it will be undoubtedly be enjoyable if Gareth Southgate does let that famous handbrake off and allow England’s talented attackers to run free.

Cole Palmer and Jude Bellingham. Good players, to be fair. Photograph: Eddie Keogh/The FA/Getty Images
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Fans from across Europe share their predictions for the Euros.

By Guardian readers and Paul Campbell:

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We know what’s at stake,” said Liverpool’s Andy Robertson of tonight’s Munich encounter with Die Mannschaft. “We’ve got a lot of incentive to do well, but one is becoming that legendary squad that qualifies for the knockout stages.

Scotland’s Andy Robertson. Photograph: Andrew Milligan/PA

“We feel the excitement. We know all our families and all the Tartan Army are now landing in Munich and are ready to get behind us. We know the support back home will be there as well, so it’s just a feeling of excitement now.”

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Germany will want to win. We want to win. Everyone else can enjoy the occasion.”

I’ll be honest, this is not earth-shattering news from Steve Clarke in Scotland’s official match preview for tonight’s curtain-raiser. But there it is.

“Play well, make sure you get some points to take to the next game,” Clarke added. “Three would be good. One would be OK.”

Steve Clarke wants to win. Photograph: Jasmin Walter/UEFA/Getty Images
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I organised my office sweepstake and took the last team out the hat – Hungary,” emails Richard Allan.

“The rules for my sweepstake are a bit different from the usual. To keep everyone invested at every stage, the prizes are as follows:

Tournament winner (1st prize)
Worst performing team (2nd prize)
Tournament runner-up (3rd prize)
Team with most Round of 16 goals, including penalty shootsouts (4th prize)

“It’s a lottery anyway so might as well make it interesting!”

Will Hungary secure sweepstake glory for Richard? Photograph: Tibor Illyes/EPA
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Jamie Jackson

Jamie Jackson

Manchester United will start a £50m revamp of the men’s first-team building at their Carrington training complex next week, with Sir Jim Ratcliffe stating this will transform it into a “world-class” facility and improve performance.

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Here’s a story about freedom of movement – or a temporary lack of it – via Reuters:

Danish police have reminded fans to take their passports with them as they travel in their thousands for their team’s opening Euro 2024 clash with Slovenia on Sunday, announcing temporary changes at the country’s southern border in the process.

As part of heightened security measures around the tournament, Germany, which shares a 68-kilometre land border with Denmark, has introduced random passport checks for travellers coming into the country, including those arriving from within the Schengen zone.

Danish police announced on Friday morning that cars, trucks and buses crossing the border via the E45 motorway at Froslev would be divided into two lanes, and that passport checks could be carried out.

“New signs have been erected at the border during this period of temporary checks to help you choose the right lane. Make sure you have your passport ready so that the check can take place quickly to reduce the risk of queues,” Danish police said.

The Danes, who won the Euros in 1992 and lost to England in the semi-finals of the most recent tournament, are expected to be cheered on by more than 50,000 travelling fans during their three Group C games against Slovenia, England and Serbia. The temporary border controls would remain in place until July 19, police said.

Denmark head coach Kasper Hjulmand speaks to the media before Sunday’s opener against Slovenia. Photograph: Liselotte Sabroe/EPA
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There’s an election coming up. Joel Golby has made an emotional appeal for Rishi Sunak and Keir Starmer to stop talking about football:

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I just want to enjoy this opportunity. I’m seeing it as the hard work I’ve put in has got me here. I’m ready to give my all. That’s the main thing for me, enjoy the moment.”

David Hytner spoke to Eberechi Eze, of Crystal Palace and England, before Gareth Southgate’s side kick off against Serbia on Sunday:

Eberechi Eze of England. Photograph: Dave Shopland/Shutterstock
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The Ukrainian national football team has released a video before Euro 2024 featuring 13 players, each hailing from hometowns affected by the Russian invasion or occupation.

Among those featured are Real Madrid’s Andriy Lunin and Chelsea’s Mykhailo Mudryk, who are from Krasnohrad in Kharkiv Oblast, which has been shelled by the Russian army since the beginning of the war.

‘We are fighting for freedom’: Ukraine football team address the world before Euro 2024 – video

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Victor Orbán isn’t anti-migrant – he’s anti-the-wrong-type-of-migrant.”

Tom Mortimer here, on why Hungary’s team represents a counterpoint to the epicentre of nativist thought created by the country’s Prime Minister:

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Live in the moment. Be calm,” says a Zen-like Cristiano Ronaldo before appearing at his sixth European Championship – a record.

“I think the team is very prepared. I’ve prepared myself very well. The dream must always be alive, and it’s game-by game. We know it’s a short tournament, now it’s about getting on with it.

“It [a record sixth tournament] is not a goal for me. I think it comes naturally.

“I enjoy football. Records are a consequence … It’s about playing well and making sure the team wins. I’ll try my best – and enjoy it.”

Six of the best for Cristiano Ronaldo. Photograph: Patrícia de Melo Moreira/AFP/Getty Images
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Hello Luke,” offers Andrew Benton on email.

“Could I suggest your preamble section is renamed ‘Warming up’. ‘Penalty practice’ or ‘Shots on goal’ for the duration of the tournament? Footballers rarely amble pre-match, I’d have thought.”

Footballers may not, Andrew, but writers definitely do. But thank you for your email.

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Who did you get in your office sweepstake, and how disgusted are you about it, on a scale of 1 to 10? Let me know on email.

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As someone who drew Switzerland in the office sweepstake, I’m pleased to see them atop our “Which is the best kit?” gallery, compiled by Lauren Cochrane. This has to be a good sign.

“Observant viewers will notice the pinstripes on Switzerland’s kit look a lot like barbed wire. They are actually inspired by the native Edelweiss flower, but the resemblance to something spikier brings an unexpected rock’n’roll flavour to a team more known for reaching the last 16 by playing organised football.”

Spain and Switzerland Euro 2024 kits. Composite: Guardian Design/Adidas/Puma
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Jacob Steinberg

Jacob Steinberg

Conor Gallagher has revealed he was rejected by Scotland as a teenager. The midfielder has Scottish ancestry through his maternal grandfather and it was not always certain that he would represent England.

“My dad’s side is Irish and my mum’s dad is Scottish,” Gallagher said. “When I was 15 or 16 I wasn’t good enough to play for the England youth team so I think I went to train with one of the Scotland teams to see what I was like, and I wasn’t good enough for them either.”

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We’ve got to be at our best,” David Seaman tells Sky of England’s prospects over the next four weeks. “But so have the other teams.”

That’s some deep analysis right there.

“I want to be involved in that party when it comes home,” Seaman continues. “Because it’s going to be a hell of a party.”

Insert facepalm emoji here.

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Julian Nagelsmann has spoken of the positive change to Scotland’s national team under Steve Clarke: “There’s been a transformation of Scottish football because of his brilliant job. Most of the time [before his tenure] it was a team that would play lot of long balls, balls up in the air, only fighting,” said the Germany manager. “Now they can do every part of the game in a good way.”

On Toni Kroos’s continued presence in the national setup, he took some persuading, Nagelsmann says: “It took a period of time to convince him … in one of our first phone conversations he said to me he’d only be part of the team if he has a feeling the team can win something … [then] he said – yes, I’ll be part of it, and ‘Let’s rock’.”

Germany. Photograph: Alexander Hassenstein/Getty Images
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Ewan Murray

Ewan Murray

It felt significant that John McGinn’s viral bout of Bavarian dancing as the Scotland team were welcomed to their training base in Garmisch-Partenkirchen did not precede interviews with the Aston Villa midfielder. As in, not a single one. On Sunday evening, for a brief time only, McGinn and Scotland had their fun. They have not arrived in Germany as a circus act. The sole focus is on competing at the European Championship. Nobody is here to have their tummy tickled.

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A bit of housekeeping: We’ve got Euro 2024 team guides, a complete guide to all 622 players, tables, fixtures, live scores, and Golden Boot standings for when the goals start flying in. All the latest Euro 2024 content can be found here.

And here is Barney Ronay on why you might consider supporting the Guardian, during the Euros and beyond in a packed sporting summer:

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Preamble

Your tournament wall chart is Blu-Tacked firmly in place, the preview supplement’s been scoured from cover to cover, your work diary is marked “busy” for the next month. The day of reckoning, or certainly the day of Germany v Scotland in Munich, has finally arrived.

In just a few hours’ time the curtain will be raised on a four-week festival of football the like of which we’ve rarely seen, unless you count the two other major international tournaments that have somehow been shoehorned into the past three years.

Will France and Kylian Mbappé take Euro 2024 by storm? Will Germany thrill home fans with a run deep into the knockout rounds? Will [pre-2008] perennial underachievers, Spain, flatter to deceive – or tiki-taka their way to glory? Will Italy leave their egos at the door and become much greater than the sum of their parts? Will Poland be frustrating and a bit rubbish? Will England flop early, or crash out agonisingly late? We’re about to have answers to all these questions – and so much more.

Today, on this blog, we’ll have previews, team news, other news, and emails from you. Auf gehts!

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