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Euro 2024: 100 days to go

March 5, 2024

In 100 days, the Euros get underway in Germany. Can national football team coach Julian Nagelsmann deliver a second summer fairytale for Germany?

Julian Nagelsmann is hoping Germany can win Euro 2024
Germany are hoping Julian Nagelsmann can deliver a summer fairytaleImage: Thomas Boecker/DFB/Sven Simon/IMAGO

Which teams are involved?

On Wednesday, March 6, it will be exactly 100 days until Euro 2024 starts. Twenty-one of the 24 nations competing have already qualified. Germany is hosting and 20 others have confirmed their spots through qualification. Germany face Scotland, Hungary and Switzerland in their group. Some teams who missed out on automatic qualification can still secure a spot through the playoffs.

Twelve nations — Poland, Estonia, Wales, Finland, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Israel, Iceland, Ukraine, Georgia, Luxembourg, Greece and Kazakhstan — will compete in the playoffs at the end of March in hope of booking the last three spots.

What's the format?

The format of Euro 2024 is exactly the same as in the previous tournament. There will be six groups of four teams with the top two progressing from each group. The four best third-placed teams will also secure a spot in the Round of 16. After that, the competition continues in a knockout format.

Games will be played in 10 stadiums across Germany, with kick-off times ranging from 14:00 (UTC) to 20:00. The tournament opens with Germany's game against Scotland on June 14 in Munich. The final is exactly a month later, July 14, in Berlin's Olympic Stadium.

What are Germany's chances?

Germany are currently ranked 16th in the FIFA World rankings, a place they have fallen to after a disappointing few years under previous head coach Hansi Flick,  as well as in the latter stages of World Cup-winning coach Joachim Löw's time in charge. Between 2006 and 2016, Germany were always in the final four of the World Cup, and even won it all in Brazil in 2014.

But since then, Germany have been in freefall. In both the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, Germany were knocked out in the group stages, and at the Euro 2020 Germany were beaten by England in the Round of 16.

Germany's players on the bench at the Qatar World Cup
Germany have played poorly in recent tournaments Image: Frank Hoermann/Sven Simon/IMAGO

Julian Nagelsmann's arrival last September brought some euphoria, but the mood was dampened somewhat after the opening game victory against the USA. A draw against Mexico and two defeats against Turkey and Austria followed. 

There is no doubt Germany has a lot of talented players, but some, such as Leon Goretzka and Joshua Kimmich, are out of form. Toni Kroos' return could help a struggling group.

"I can no longer listen to this talk that our players are all so talented," Nagelsmann said recently in an interview with the magazine, "Spiegel".

"We tell ourselves that Germany is a top football nation, even though we've been experiencing failures for years. We finally have to start making football work again."

Nagelsmann will have one last chance to do so before the Euros when he faces France and the Netherlands in friendlies at the end of March.

How is the atmosphere in Germany ahead of the Euros?

Despite the disappointing results in recent games, there is a huge feeling of hope that the country will have the chance to celebrate the tournament like it did when it hosted the World Cup in 2006. Tournament director Philipp Lahm is hoping for this competition to have a lasting impact.

"The players also need to know how important a home tournament like this is for Euro 2024. They have to identify with it again, be approachable and full of passion for the Germany jersey. That's their main task," said Lahm in an interview with the German Press Agency (dpa) . "As a fan, I haven't felt recently that anyone in our team is sacrificing themselves for each other on the pitch."

Germany fans celebrate in 2006
Germany are hoping Euro 2024 delivers a similar atmosphere to the 2006 World CupImage: Müller-Stauffenberg/IMAGO

Last September, German Football Association Sports Director Rudi Völler said he saw a lot of room for improvement in the attitude towards the home tournament, especially in political circles.

"Many people haven't even realized what a huge success the European Championship will be, similar to 2006, our summer fairytale," criticized Völler in an interview with the magazine Stern. "We have a tournament in the middle of Europe.  Every game will be sold out, Germany can show itself as an open, hospitable country. For this to succeed, politics will also have to play its part."

How safe will the tournament be?

Euro 2024 will take place during politically volatile times. As a result, UEFA boss Aleksander Ceferin recently told the Daily Telegraph newspaper that security is his biggest concern.

He has already met twice with Germany's Interior Minister, Nancy Faeser, and says he is sure that with the support of the German authorities, who are "very determined to help us," everything will go well.

UEFA President Aleksander Ceferin
Aleksander Ceferin hopes the tournament will be safeImage: Andres Gongora/Pressinphoto/IMAGO

The security concept for the tournament was presented to the national coordination committee for the European Championships in January and met with its approval. Juliane Seifert, state secretary with the Interior Ministry, told dpa that the security of the tournament was "as top a priority for the Ministry of the Interior, as it was for the federal government."

"We are aware that we are living in particularly challenging times when you look at Russia's war against Ukraine; when you look at the war in Gaza; when you look at new challenges, for example, with regard to cyber attacks," said Seifert.

The German Football Association seems to be much more relaxed about the situation: "I would like this European Championship to have a positive effect, especially in people's minds," Managing Director Andreas Rettig told the sports news agency SID, "In terms of security, I can tell everyone that nobody needs to worry."

However, the possibility of Israel or Ukraine qualifying could significantly increase the level and need for security precautions.

This article was translated from German.

Draw made for Euro 2024 football championship