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Nagelsmann hails Germany for handling pressure, admits surprise at Scotland´s slow start

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 14 Jun 2024

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Julian Nagelsmann hailed his Germany players for the way they handled the pressure of being Euro 2024 hosts in their 5-1 win over Scotland, adding he was surprised by the lack of aggression on show from Steve Clarke’s men.

Germany recorded the biggest opening-game win at a European Championship, with Florian Wirtz, Jamal Musiala, Kai Havertz, Niclas Fullkrug and Emre Can scoring.

The result made Nagelsmann just the second coach to win his first Euros game by four or more goals, after Sweden’s Lars Lagerback in 2004 (5-0 versus Bulgaria).

It was also Germany’s biggest victory at the Euros, and the first time Scotland had conceded five or more goals in a competitive game since they were trounced 6-0 by the Netherlands in a Euro 2004 qualifier 21 years ago.

Germany endured a troubled build-up to their home tournament, with Nagelsmann only having eight games to prepare after Hansi Flick was sacked last year.

He believes they did an excellent job of handling the pressure that comes with a home opener, telling ITV Sport: “I’m happy, I’m satisfied.

“In the first game as the home country… we looked back at the first games of the last tournaments and there can be a kind of pressure.

“Especially in the first 20 minutes, we were brilliant, we had great ball possession and great counter-pressing.

“I was happy with the performance and we stayed focused for the whole game.

“We conceded one goal, but in the end it’s okay. Our players were complaining about conceding that goal, which is a good sign when we were already four goals in the lead.”

Scotland did not attempt a single shot on target and failed to register an effort of any kind until Scott McKenna forced an own goal off Antonio Rudiger in the 87th minute.

Nagelsmann admits he was expecting more from Clarke’s team, who found themselves three goals and a man down by half-time as Ryan Porteous was sent off for a horror challenge on Ilkay Gundogan.

“I was kind of surprised that Scotland weren’t that aggressive in the first 20 minutes,” Nagelsmann said.

“I think they were surprised by our possession, which was really concentrated. They started the game very well and made one mistake in the first 15 minutes.

“Then they were kind of surprised, kind of afraid. They felt we had players in the offensive row that could score goals so they defended low.

“They didn’t make the high pressure like they sometimes did in the qualifiers. I think the first 20 minutes were the key to the game.”

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