Six of the Best at Euro 2024


We are all enjoying Euro 2024 whether we are in Germany or not.

After the last Euros was played to less than full stadia across various countries during the pandemic and the last World Cup was in the bizarre setting of the Qatari winter, it feels like a major football tournament is back where it belongs - in a country with soccer heritage, history, intercity trains, a relaxed social culture and street life.

German cities.
German cities offer an ideal fan experience

From afar it is almost as if we can smell the sausages from Munich's Vikualientmarkt and the hoppy notes of nectar from a Bavarian beer garden. I remember feeling after enjoying France '98 and Germany 2006 in person that I would be happy if the mundial alternated forever between those two nations.

Since 2002 the majority of World Cups have been played outside the traditional Europe/South America duopoly, which is understandable as the world globalises, but it still feels reassuring to have the Euros on familiar soil

And what a Euros it has been so far.

The goals started tumbling out from the first match - the hosts' drubbing of Scotland, and are currently 2.6 per match which is a decent ratio. Plus, it has been great to see the minnows getting their fifteen minutes of fame - Albania, Czechia, Georgia, Romania, Scotland, Slovenia and Turkey have all had something to cheer. None of those fan groups got to go to Qatar but are creating memories for life right now.

My only sadness is that Hungary have not lived up to their dark horse potential.

The big powers are on pole though - all the usual suspects except Croatia won their opening matches. It is hard to pick a winner but frankly who wants to beyond gambling addicts?

If there is one thing that has irked me about this Euros it has been journalists ending interviews asking others to predict the score of a match. That sucks the magic out of football. Before games I want to be, in the words of C.S. Lewis, surprised by joy, not dead certain at a foregone conclusion.

Who foresaw Denmark or Greece winning the Euros in 2004, or Korea and Turkey reaching the 2002 World Cup semis? Predictions are pointless.

Euro 2024.
Antonio Rudiger scores for Scotland

Leaving aside the traditional travails of being an England fan, I have enjoyed all the own goals and long-range strikes, even Morten Hjulmand's yesterday. I am not sure a flurry of autogols proves anything beyond the fact the more crosses fizz into the box the more likely we are to see a wicked deflection.

Euro 2024.
Guler Grabs one of the Goals of Euro 2024

As for so many 20-yard efforts, that could down to a mixture of tight defences and teams noting the effectiveness of shooting from distance in other matches.

Own Goals:

  1. Germany's Antonio Rudiger for Scotland
  2. Austria's Maximilan Wober for France
  3. Czechia's Robin Hranac for Portugal
  4. Albania's Klaus Gjasula for Croatia
  5. Switzerland's Fabian Schar for Scotland
  6. Italy's Riccardo Calafiori for Spain

Goals From Outside The Box:

  1. Emre Can for Germany v Scotland
  2. Niccolo Barella for Italy v Albania
  3. Michel Aebischer for Switzerland v Hungary
  4. Cody Gakpo for Netherlands v Poland
  5. Erik Janza for Slovenia v Denmark
  6. Nicolae Stanciu for Romania v Ukraine
  7. Razvan Marin for Romania v Ukraine
  8. Lukas Provod for Czechia v Portugal
  9. Xherdan Shaqiri for Switzerland v Scotland
  10. Mert Muldur for Turkey v Georgia
  11. Arda Guler for Turkey v Georgia
  12. Kerem Akturkoglu for Turkey v Georgia
  13. Morten Hjulmand for Denmark v England
Poland fans in Berlin.
Poland fans in Berlin

Euro 2024

Hotels in Germany

Euro 2024 Group A

Euro 2024 Group B

Euro 2024 Group C

Euro 2024 Group D

Euro 2024 Group E

Euro 2024 Group F

Germany v Scotland

First Weekend

The Group Stage in Stats

Bratwurst & Fußball

Poland fans ahead of their game in Berlin v Austria

(c) Sean O'Conor & Soccerphile

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