TEAM TO WATCH

Germany back in football’s elite despite Euro 2024 disappointment

Millions of supporters from overseas peacefully celebrated a football party.

In Summary

• Euro 2024 might have ended in tears for Germany, and many of the players lost the fight against their emotions, including the coach, but the tournament on home soil stands for a successful restart after years of drought.

• Euro 2024 might not fully have met the effects of Germany’s so-called 2006 summer fairy-tale when the country hosted the World Cup, but it came near it.

Thomas Muller (L) of Germany reacts after the Uefa Euro 2024 quarter-final match exit
Thomas Muller (L) of Germany reacts after the Uefa Euro 2024 quarter-final match exit
Image: XINHUA

Germany head coach Julian Nagelsmann turned the hour of disappointment into a new starting point and spoke about the intention to win the 2026 Fifa World Cup.

Euro 2024 might have ended in tears for Germany, and many of the players lost the fight against their emotions, including the coach, but the tournament on home soil stands for a successful restart after years of drought.

Millions of supporters from overseas peacefully celebrated a football party. Euro 2024 might not fully have met the effects of Germany’s so-called 2006 summer fairy-tale when the country hosted the World Cup, but it came near it.

From a sporting point of view, Germany is back in the circle of the world’s best, and no less importantly, the team has regained the fans’ trust and confidence, despite having lost 2-1 in the quarterfinals to a resilient Spain, whose winning goal came in injury time.

To compete on eye level with teams such as Spain only a few months ago seemed unimaginable. Last November, after suffering defeats against Austria and Turkey, and being burdened by painful group exits at the 2018 and 2022 World Cups, the struggling 2014 World Cup winners hit rock bottom.

Now, Nagelsmann’s renovation triggered euphoria in and around the newly formed team. Packed fan zones, some cities reported up to 80,000 people gathering for the games, and German flags on cars and windows might tell the story.

Within nine months, the 36-year-old former Bayern Munich coach, in collaboration with sporting director and former striker icon Rudi Voller, has managed to breathe new life into the squad.

The big goal of winning the trophy might have been missed, but the team has recaptured the hearts of fans. Nagelsmann and Voller managed to break off from old patterns, selecting a squad perhaps not containing the best personnel, but forming a well-oiled and well-balanced team.

“We felt this unique sense of community. Thank you for that feeling. We triggered euphoria with fan-zones packed,” said striker Niclas Fullkrug.

Nagelsmann praised the team’s fighting spirit and never-say-die spirit. “We saw a squad with everyone fighting for each other,” he added.

Bayern Munich full-back Joshua Kimmich’s perspective might hit the nail on the head, as he mentioned that this tournament exit feels different to those of previous tournaments.

Nagelsmann quickly turned his head to future challenges such as the Nations League and the 2026 World Cup qualifiers. After the summer break, German football will restart at a new level, facing Hungary, the Netherlands and Bosnia-Herzegovina in the Nations League.    The burdens of the past seem to have vanished.