All eyes on Munich as Scotland kick off Euro 2024

Scotland manager Steve Clarke, Euro 2024 trophy and England boss Gareth SouthgateGetty Images
  • 4 hours ago

Euro 2024 is finally here and the tournament kicks off in Munich on Friday (20:00 BST) as hosts Germany take on Scotland.

The BBC Sport website and app will be the 24/7 home of the tournament, 27 matches will be broadcast live on BBC TV, and BBC Sounds has coverage of all 51 ties.

But how will England and Scotland get on? Read on for that or more…

How will the home nations fare?

Scotland and England's groups

BBC Sport

All eyes back in the UK will be on England and Scotland, who are flying the flags for the home nations at this summer’s tournament.

Scotland have been drawn in a tough group with hosts Germany, Switzerland and Hungary.

They are the lowest-ranked side in the group and will come up against a vociferous home crowd in Munich for the tournament opener.

It is just a fourth Euros appearance for Steve Clarke’s side but, after a strong qualifying campaign, they will hope to cause an upset.

The Scots lost just one of their eight qualifying matches, finishing second in Group A behind Spain, having taken four points from challengers Norway.

They ended a 23-year absence from major tournaments in 2021 and Clarke has now become the first manager to guide the Scots to successive European finals.

Meanwhile, Gareth Southgate’s men, ranked fourth in the world, head to Germany as one of the big favourites having reached the final last time around.

Under Southgate, the Three Lions have made it through to at least the quarter-finals in all three major tournaments – but is this the year they finally go all the way?

Jude Bellingham is one of the stars of the tournament, having recently helped Real Madrid win the Champions League trophy, while captain Harry Kane had a brilliant individual campaign, netting 44 goals in 45 appearances in all competitions during his debut season with Bayern Munich. Manchester City’s Phil Foden was also named the Premier League’s Player of the Season after winning the title.

England face Serbia, Denmark and Slovenia in their group and will hope to get off to a strong start, having underwhelmed in their final warm-up match at Wembley – a shock 1-0 defeat by Iceland.

Who are the favourites?

Jamal Musiala and Kylian Mbappe

Getty Images

Opta’s supercomputer has England at the top of the favourites list, with two-time world champions France and hosts Germany behind them.

France beat England in the 2022 World Cup quarter-finals, eventually finishing runners-up, four years after they won the crown in Russia.

Didier Deschamps’ side are spearheaded by Real Madrid’s new recruit, superstar Kylian Mbappe, and they sit second in Fifa’s world rankings.

Hosts Germany have a rich history of major tournament success, winning three Euros – the most by any nation alongside Spain.

Julian Nagelsmann’s side have a squad packed full of talent, but the Germans have failed to qualify from the group stages in the past two World Cups and reached only the last 16 in the Euros three years ago.

Spain – back-to-back champions in 2008 and 2012 – reached the semi-finals last time out, while Belgium are the second-highest ranked European nation in the world but have often disappointed on the main stage.

Defending champions Italy, who beat England in a penalty shootout at Wembley in 2021, have largely been written off having failed to qualify for the 2022 World Cup – and Euros-winning manager Roberto Mancini is no longer at the helm.

Elsewhere, Portugal, the Netherlands and Croatia sit inside the world’s top 10 and could challenge.

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What is the atmosphere like in Germany?

Germany is hosting a major men’s football tournament for the first time since the 2006 World Cup and there’s been plenty of anticipation for the arrival of Euro 2024 within the country.

An estimated 2.7 million fans are expected to attend the 51 matches across 10 stadiums, while each of the host cities have set up fan zones that are set to welcome some 12 million supporters overall.

With Scotland facing the hosts in the Euro 2024 opener, their fans have been determined not to miss the opportunity to witness their side kick off a major tournament.

More than 200,000 supporters are expected to travel over to soak up the atmosphere – be it from within stadiums or just in and around the cities where their side plays.

Accommodation in Germany for the tournament isn’t cheap, and to cut down costs hundreds of Scotland fans have descended on a campsite just outside of Munich.

Scotland fans pose for the camera as they prepare for the Euro 2024 opener in Germany

BBC Sport

England, meanwhile, are expected to be backed by about 300,000 supporters throughout the tournament as they hope to witness their side live up to their tag as one of the tournament favourites and win a major men’s tournament for the first time since 1966.

In Gelsenkirchen, before England’s first game of the tournament against Serbia on Sunday, 40,000 English supporters are expected and security has been stepped up for a fixture German authorities have deemed to be “high-risk”.

Meanwhile, the streets leading from Hamburg city centre to Volksparkstadion are expected to turn orange on Sunday as thousands of Dutch fans embark on their customary march to the stadium at major tournaments.

Oranje supporters have followed a double-decker party bus to grounds since Euro 2004, and this will be the 50th parade they have held.

The Netherlands face Poland in their opening fixture.

Netherlands fans march

Reuters

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How can you follow on the BBC?

The BBC will have live coverage of 27 matches which will be broadcast live on BBC One or BBC Two, BBC iPlayer and the BBC Sport website and app.

Presenters Gary Lineker, Gabby Logan, Mark Chapman and Alex Scott will lead the coverage from the studio in the heart of Berlin, with live match commentary from all 10 host cities across Germany.

Scotland’s group matches against Switzerland and Hungary will be live on BBC One Scotland, while all three group matches will be live on BBC Radio Scotland.

BBC Radio 5 Live and BBC Sounds will provide coverage of all 51 matches in Germany, with presentation coming from Mark Chapman, Kelly Cates and Steve Crossman.

German legend Beckenbauer to be remembered

Germany kick things off on Friday when they face Scotland in Munich.

Beforehand, the opening ceremony will take place and Uefa will honour German football icon Franz Beckenbauer, who passed away earlier this year.

The former defender – widely regarded as one of the best ever – captained his country to glory at the 1972 European Championship and 1974 World Cup, and led his nation to success at the 1990 World Cup as manager.

Beckenbauer’s wife Heidi will bring the European Championship trophy on to the pitch with Bernard Dietz and Jurgen Klinsmann, who captained the winning German sides of 1980 and 1996 respectively.

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