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EURO 2024

Germany name four goalkeepers in Euro 2024 squad

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 LaLiga - Girona v FC Barcelona - Estadi Montilivi, Girona, Spain - May 4, 2024 FC Barcelona's Marc-Andre ter Stegen during the warm up before the match REUTERS/Albert

Hosts Germany will have four goalkeepers at Euro 2024 but there were few other surprises in coach Julian Nagelsmann’s preliminary squad unveiled on Thursday.

VfB Stuttgart keeper Alexander Nuebel was named along with Manuel Neuer, Oliver Baumann and Marc-Andre ter Stegen as Nagelsmann otherwise largely showed faith in the players he has used over the past seven months.

“When you have this structure which is still growing but fragile after our performances in March, bringing in new elements could trigger an implosion of that structure and you would have to start from scratch,” the coach said ahead of his first international tournament.

Germany beat France and Netherlands in back-to-back friendlies in March, their best results for some time, and the three-times European champions have not won a major trophy since the 2014 World Cup.

Nagelsmann said having four keepers was crucial for spreading the workload during the tournament.

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“We have nominated four goalkeepers and we will go with four to the tournament. Nuebel has deserved the nomination,” Nagelsmann said.

“Why four keepers? You can have goalkeepers in training as well and Manuel (Neuer) does not always have to do it. We can control training and spread the load.

“That means 22 infield players. I can live with that very well. We can still do proper training with at least 20 infield players if some are missing.”

In veterans Thomas Mueller, Toni Kroos and Neuer, there are three 2014 world champions in the 27-man squad which must be cut to 26 before the tournament.

Aleksandar Pavlovic, 20, who missed the March friendlies through injury and is still waiting for his first cap, earned a place following his superb form for Bayern Munich.

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Robert Andrich, Florian Wirtz and Jonathan Tah are the Bayer Leverkusen players in the squad having helped the Bundesliga champions go through the season unbeaten across all competitions.

The two most notable absences were Borussia Dortmund’s Champions League finalist Mats Hummels and Bayern Munich’s Leon Goretzka who narrowly missed the cut.

Germany kick off their Group A campaign in the tournament opener against Scotland on June 14. They also play Hungary and Switzerland in the first stage.

-Reuters

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Kunle Solaja is the author of landmark books on sports and journalism as well as being a multiple award-winning journalist and editor of long standing. He is easily Nigeria’s foremost soccer diarist and Africa's most capped FIFA World Cup journalist, having attended all FIFA World Cup finals from Italia ’90 to Qatar 2022. He was honoured at the Qatar 2022 World Cup by FIFA and AIPS.

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EURO 2024

Germany’s Beckenbauer honoured in Euro 2024 opening ceremony

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UEFA paid tribute to Germany’s late World Cup-winning captain and coach Franz Beckenbauer during the Euro 2024 opening ceremony on Friday, with fans applauding as videos of one of Germany’s greatest players were shown in the Munich stadium.

“We will never forget you,” said an announcement.

Beckenbauer, who died in January aged 78, captained West Germany to European Championship victory in 1972 and a World Cup success in 1974 before winning the World Cup as national team manager in 1990.

“Der Kaiser”, as he was nicknamed for his imperious playing style and command of the game, was also a stalwart of the Bayern Munich team who won the European Cup three times in a row from 1974-76.

His wife Heidi joined Bernard Dietz and Juergen Klinsmann, who captained the Germany sides that won Euro 1980 and Euro 1996, in bringing the Henri Delaunay Cup – the trophy which will be presented to Euro 2024’s winning team – on to the pitch.

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-Reuters

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EURO 2024

England’s soccer fortunes add sporting drama to UK election

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Britain's Prime Minister Rishi Sunak poses with England striker Harry Kane and England Manager Gareth Southgate during a visit to St George's Park in Burton-on-Trent, Britain, October 10, 2023. DARREN STAPLES/Pool via REUTERS/files

Does British Prime Minister Rishi Sunak risk scoring an own goal by calling an election during the 2024 European Championship soccer tournament in July?Sunak, himself a soccer fan, might be hoping for a boost to his struggling campaign if England do well, although whether there really is a link between sport and elections is disputed by experts.

Given the national team’s habit of morale-busting defeats in major tournaments, the chance of another hit to the English psyche appears just as likely a backdrop to the election.

On a positive note, however, England, runners-up three years ago, are among the favourites under manager Gareth Southgate with a team full of in-form attacking players including Harry Kane, Jude Bellingham, Phil Foden and Bukayo Saka.

Sunak unexpectedly called a national election for July 4 when the European Championship in Germany will be entering its most exciting phase.

Voters will head to the polls four or five days after England’s first knockout match, assuming the team avoid the embarrassment of elimination in the group stage.

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There is also a chance England will have been pitted against their hosts and old rivals Germany in that last-16 game, a prospect that will fill many fans with dread.

Scotland are competing in the tournament too, potentially offering relief to the ruling Scottish National Party which, like Sunak’s Conservatives, is floundering in opinion polls.

Political pundits have offered non-sporting explanations for Sunak’s decision to call an early election, including a fall in Britain’s once double-digit inflation to close to 2% and signs that his flagship plan to send asylum-seekers to Rwanda might not get off the ground.

The timing has raised eyebrows, however, for the unusual overlap of an election campaign with the summer sporting calendar.

That has raised memories of one of the most painful of England’s defeats.

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In June 1970, a 3-2 loss to West Germany in a World Cup quarter-final was followed four days later by a shock election defeat for incumbent Prime Minister Harold Wilson, triggering debate about the impact of the match.

LINK OR NO LINK?

Much has been written since about a possible link between sport and elections.

A 2010 paper by academics at Stanford and Loyola Marymount University in the United States said wins for local college American football teams earned political incumbents an extra 1.61 percentage points of support in subsequent Senate, gubernatorial and presidential elections.

Others have found no clear connection.

Stefan Mueller and Liam Kneafsey, at University College Dublin and Trinity College Dublin, mapped Irish election outcomes over decades with Gaelic football and hurling match results and found no correlation with support for incumbents or ruling party politicians.

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Kneafsey said there were signs that some kind of influence on voters did occur.

“Whether they actually switch their votes, that’s probably a higher bar to clear and certainly the results there are inconclusive,” he said.

While that debate continues, it is clear that politics do weigh on the minds of soccer fans.

At a Euro 2016 match, three days after Britain’s shock Brexit referendum decision, many England fans joined in a crude chant directed at the European Union which ended with the words: “We all voted out”. England were beaten 2-1 by underdogs Iceland and were knocked out of the competition.

Another risk for Sunak is that sports fans resent his scheduling of the election at a time when not only Euro 2024 is taking place – from June 14-July 14 – but also the Wimbledon tennis championships which run from July 1-14.

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Campaigning will also overlap with cricket’s T20 World Cup involving England and Scotland from June 2-29.

Some academics will be happy, however, as they will be able to do more research into the links between sport and voting patterns.

“We could actually do with politicians having more elections during this time to definitively test this,” Kneafsey said.

-Reuters

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EURO 2024

How hosting Euro 2024 could impact the German economy

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 Euro 2024 - Trophy Display at Allianz Arena, Munich, Germany - May 13, 2024 General view of the Fussballliebe match ball on display next to the European Championship trophy during the presentation REUTERS/Angelika Warmuth

Germany will be hoping for sporting success as host of the 2024 Euros soccer championship kicking off in a month’s time, but it will also be looking for a consumption boost from all the fans guzzling beer and staying in hotels and rented rooms.

Europe’s largest economy is expected to grow around 0.3% this year, slower than other large industrialised countries. The following is an overview of how the tournament could give it a welcome boost.

WHO CAN HOPE FOR BETTER BUSINESS?

There are 2.7 million tickets available for the four-week event from June 14 to July 14. The hosting venues Berlin, Munich, Cologne, Dortmund, Duesseldorf, Frankfurt, Gelsenkirchen, Hamburg, Leipzig and Stuttgart can expect a rush of domestic and foreign guests.

“People are more active when it comes to travelling, for example going to major events and concerts by international stars,” said Norbert Kunz, Managing Director of the German Tourism Association (DTV).

“It could well be that 2024 will be a new record year for tourism in Germany – also thanks to the many enthusiastic football fans who want to experience this event live.”

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Breweries can also expect a boost.

“Large football events in the past have shown that more beer is drunk during the tournament than is normal in the summer weeks,” said Holger Eichele of the German Brewers Association. During the 2006 World Cup, which Germany also hosted, beer sales rose around 5% before and during the tournament.

That would be especially welcome as 2023 was a difficult year for the beer industry, with sales in the country falling by 4.5% to 8.4 billion litres, continuing a long-term downtrend, according to government data.

WILL THE TOURNAMENT CREATE A CONSUMPTION BOOM?

“The experience of the World Cup in 2006 shows that major sporting events are not economic fireworks,” said Michael Groemling of the German Economic Institute (IW).

Many consumers are likely to use the tournament as an opportunity to buy a new television or drink an extra beer.

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“But they save money elsewhere: bratwurst instead of a restaurant, a TV evening instead of going to the cinema,” said Groemling. “As a result, consumer spending is not necessarily increasing but rather shifting.”

Commerzbank economists say the economy could stagnate in the second quarter – which includes the first half of the tournament – after growing by 0.2% from January to March.

WHO ELSE COULD BENEFIT?

Retail sales could receive a consumption boost if the home team does well on the pitch, said a spokesperson for the industry association HDE.

“Only if the German national team survives the first phase of the tournament can consumer sentiment also benefit,” the spokesperson said. Grocery stores tend to do well during major sporting events as fans stock up on drinks and food while watching together.

The booking portal AirBnB (ABNB.O), opens new tab expects the Euros to provide an additional tailwind for the rental of holiday apartments.

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The advertising space marketer Stroeer (SAXG.DE), opens new tab also expects a boost, as well as sporting goods manufacturer Adidas. World market leader Nike (NKE.N), opens new tab has nine teams under contract at the European Championships, Adidas (ADSGn.DE), opens new tab six and Puma (PUMG.DE), opens new tab four.

WHAT ABOUT GERMANY’S IMAGE?

“A major sporting event can brighten the mood and improve the image of the host country,” said the IW’s Groemling, speaking about its allure at a time when foreign direct investment into the country has fallen.

“At the same time, the economy is shaped by expectations and moods – the emotional return from the EM should not be underestimated.”

-Reuters

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