Germany 5-1 Scotland: From bad to Wirtz as hosts batter 10-man Tartan Army

Matt Stead
Kai Havertz celebrates his goal for Germany against Scotland at Euro 2024
Kai Havertz helped put Scotland down

Germany kicked off Euro 2024 with a dominant performance as four different scorers helped the hosts ruthlessly dispatch an abysmal 10-man Scotland.

As one of the tournament favourites, much was expected of Germany but most predicted Scotland to offer at least some form of resistance to an imposing attack.

But Julian Nagelsmann’s side raced into a two-goal lead within 20 minutes through 21-year-olds Florian Wirtz and Jamal Musiala, the latter of whom was particularly brilliant throughout.

Kai Havertz made it 3-0 on the stroke of half-time with a penalty after Ryan Porteous was shown a red card for an abhorrent tackle on Ilkay Gundogan, whose touch in the second half from a stunning Musiala pass was collected by substitute Niclas Fullkrug and hammered into the top corner to make it 4-0.

Scotland clawed a consolation goal back in the final minutes through a deflection off Antonio Rudiger on what was otherwise a chastening night for Steve Clarke and his side, only for Emre Can to complete a glorious team move soon after to restore Germany’s four-goal lead and secure the biggest win ever in the opening game of a European Championship.

The beleaguered Scots face Switzerland in Cologne next week before taking on Hungary in Stuttgart. They have to quickly get this performance and result out of their heads while the Tartan Army will also have to regroup.

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Tens of thousands of Scotland fans had flooded into Munich and they helped with the noise and colour inside the packed stadium.

Clarke opted for Anthony Ralston as right wing-back and a midfield of Scott McTominay, Callum McGregor, John McGinn and Ryan Christie, with playmaker Billy Gilmour perhaps unlucky to be on the bench.

Midfielder Toni Kroos had been tempted out of international retirement but Die Mannschaft boss Julian Nagelsmann had other world-class players such as Manuel Neuer, Rudiger, captain Ilkay Gundogan and Havertz, albeit it was their young guns who began the damage in the first half.

A spectacular opening ceremony, and two anthems boomed out loud, preceded a whirlwind start from the hosts.

Scotland goalkeeper Angus Gunn had to make a crucial save after a minute from 21-year-old Wirtz, although the offside flag went up.

However, the Scots were not so lucky when Wirtz took a pass from Joshua Kimmich at the edge of the box and fired in a low drive which Gunn touched on the post before it went in.

Germany’s domination of the ball continued and their next goal was well-worked, starting with a defence-splitting pass from Gundogan and when Havertz laid off the ball to Musiala, the 21-year-old took a set-up touch and fired the ball high past the helpless Gunn.

Scotland were being ripped apart.

In the 24th minute, when Musiala went down at the edge of the box under a challenge by Kieran Tierney and Christie, French referee Clement Turpin pointed to the spot but after a long VAR check a free-kick just outside the box was given, with Gunn saving Havertz’s shot.

But it went from bad to worse for Clarke’s side.

Gunn made a great save from a Gundogan header but the Germany captain was then tackled heavily by Porteous which led to a VAR check.

Clement went pitchside to view his monitor, awarded a penalty and sent off Porteous before Havertz sent Gunn the wrong way to effectively win the tie.

Grant Hanley came on for lone striker Che Adams for the start of the second half, with Christie playing furthest forward as the Germans looked to have dropped down a gear or two.

However, seconds after McGinn and McGregor were replaced by Gilmour and Kenny McLean, Fullkrug, on for Havertz, beat Gunn with an unstoppable drive and then forced the ball over the line again eight minutes later, thwarted, however, by the offside flag.

Rudiger’s own goal, turning in a header by Scotland substitute Scott McKenna, was loudly cheered by the Tartan Army but Can curled in a fifth from the edge of the box.

It was a calamitous night for Clarke and his men and they will need instant rehabilitation.

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