16 Conclusions on Germany 5-1 Scotland: Predictably hopeless Scots, Souness, Musiala and…Radhi Jaidi

Jason Soutar
Germany batter and humiliate Scotland in the Euro 2024 opening fixture
Germany batter and humiliate Scotland in the Euro 2024 opening fixture

Germany proved their tournament credentials – in our eyes, not those of Graeme Souness (CBE) – as Scotland were battered in Friday’s Euro 2024 opener. Who saw that coming? Well, we did.

A miserable Scot has 16 Conclusions on Germany 5 Scotland 1 for you beautiful people.


1) For a match with great potential for a tournament opener, it was disconcertingly uncompetitive. The phrase ‘men against boys’ comes to mind.

One of the tournament favourites – not in the best form – facing off against a side capable of causing an upset. If Scotland unsettled their hosts and kept it 0-0 until half-time, there may have been cause for concern.

If, buts and aunties being your uncle aside, Steve Clarke’s men made it so easy for the boys in white and any question marks over Germany’s tournament credentials were thrown in the bin within 20 minutes.


2) There were no hugely alarming selections in either starting XI, though Callum McGregor over Billy Gilmour saw some eyebrows raised. McGregor next to Scott McTominay in midfield showed Clarke wanted two hard-working players in the middle of the park capable of smashing into dribbling demons Jamal Musiala and Florian Wirtz whenever necessary; they got nowhere near either player and completely forgot about Ilkay Gundogan, which was far from ideal.

In the No. 10 role, the Germany captain had all the freedom in the world. The gap in between the defensive five and midfield four is where Scotland were hurt most with Gundogan able to receive at free will and Wirtz and Musiala allowed to wander into dangerous positions.

For the second goal, Gundogan’s little half-turn in the semi-circle took McGregor out of the game and Kai Havertz’s run was easy enough to find thanks to the glaring holes in the Scottish backline. Musiala again found space in the box and smashed it beyond Angus Gunn.

The lack of a real defensive midfielder killed Scotland and Kenny McLean and Gilmour did nothing to end Gundogan’s joyous evening when Clarke summoned them. Putting the centre-backs in one-on-one situations with Wirtz, Musiala and Gundogan was only going to end one way. It is clear what Clarke must address for Switzerland in the next group game.


3) Scotland gave Gundogan damaging space and time in the final third and decided to give midfield orchestrator Toni Kroos the same things needed to pull strings from deep. The 34-year-old would slot himself in between left-back Max Mittelstadt and central defender Jonathan Tah and while it is easy to scream ‘close him down’ when he is rolling the ball and looking for a pass, the respect shown to Kroos was baffling.

He switched it for the opening goal to find assister Joshua Kimmich on the right flank. That crossfield pass meant it was Kimmich vs Robertson and the Bayern Munich star found Wirtz – you guessed it – in acres of space in between the defenders and midfielders. His shot was not diverted past the post but instead onto the inside of the post by Gunn to open the scoring.

The floodgates were opened after Germany punished the Scots with two simple passes they were seemingly happy to let happen.


4) There could be 16 Conclusions on how Musiala, Wirtz and Gundogan took the mick out of Scotland from start to finish alone; while we wax lyrical, why not continue the momentum?

The two youngsters are outrageous. They are so clever with their decision-making and technically, wow. Words cannot do justice to how good they are. Will we take it with a pinch of salt given the calibre of the opposition and how bad they were on the night? More on that in a bit.

As Musiala danced beyond McGregor and co. time after time, you had to be jealous of Manuel Neuer, who had the best seat in the house.


5) It was Musiala slaloming through the lines that triggered the moment which summed up Scotland’s night. His ability to breeze through the opposition midfield dragged players out of position and helped him find Kimmich in more space to make an attempted assist. His cross was met by Gundogan, who forced Gunn into a save that did his defenders no favours. Havertz’s hopeless swipe allowed for the ball to run back to Gundogan, whose right ankle was close to being snapped in half by Ryan Porteous.

The phrase ‘he’s not that kind of player’ does not resonate here. He has calmed down a bit since leaving Hibs for Watford but the challenge on Gundogan was brutal. At first, it looked like an effective clearance through committed defending but the replay showed that a red card and penalty for 3-0 was coming. It was horrific and kudos to Gundogan’s ankle for living to tell the tale.

It meant an already dismal half somehow became worse. Down to 10 when it already looked like they were a man down, Scotland will be thankful Germany took pity on them and only won the second half 2-1.

“Scotland need Angus Gunn to pull something big out of the bag here” from the commentator just about summed it up. If they needed him to be their hero, Scotland had already messed up.

👉 Read more: Nagelsmann has Liverpool, Manchester United ‘decision from the heart’ justified by Musiala


6) Angus Gunn. Not great, buddy.

Scotland’s demise on Friday was predicted by yours truly and that piece included this line:

If you watched Leeds United batter Norwich City in the play-offs, you know that a Euro 2024 team with Angus Gunn as its No. 1 are in a sticky situation.

It’s not Gunn’s fault that he is Scotland’s best goalkeeper but things are bleak with him in between the sticks. On nights like these, you often ironically come out with something close to, ‘If not for the goalkeeper, it would have been double figures!’. Nope. Not tonight.

Craig Gordon did not die for this, people.

7) So much will be about how bad Scotland, Gunn, McGregor, Porteous and everyone else in dark blue were but what about those Germans?

Their awful form leading up to the tournament was all a hustle. Victory – due to the third-place rule – essentially ensures they will make it out of a group at only a second major tournament in four. That record isn’t very German.

Their rubbish form and downing tools under Julian Nagelsmann’s predecessor, Hansi Flick, have been ignored in many predictions with Germany rightly one of the big favourites to win Euro 2024 on home turf.

They have the benefit of the narrative as well with our pick for Player of the Tournament, Toni Kroos, retiring straight after. It is obviously happening.


8) Germany might have won comfortably – it was the biggest win in a European Championship opening fixture – but Nagelsmann has a few decisions to make before his side’s second game against Hungary.

Robert Andrich was hooked at half-time after committing four fouls and picking up a deserved yellow card. Pascal Gross came on for him and didn’t do an awful lot to stake a claim but Emre Can – who wasn’t in the squad a few days ago – came on and scored. Andrich did nothing to prove he should stay in the German starting XI so don’t be surprised to see him on the bench on Wednesday.

Niclas Fullkrug was another who made a positive impact off the bench. Displacing penalty scorer Havertz seems unlikely though. It’s hard to see that happening but he boosted his chances. His goal was the pick of the bunch, smashing the ball top corner on the half-volley. We can criticise Gunn until the cows come home but there was nothing he could have done to stop that one.


9) There was obviously the narrative that Scotland would look to punish the Germans with set-pieces. But they were largely comical. Scott McTominay, Scotland’s biggest goal threat who stands at 6ft 4ins, swung in the first one. It’s not quite Harry Kane on corners but it was bizarre.

And John McGinn hiding behind the front post as some sort of Radhi Jaidi-inspired free-kick tactic? What the sh*tting f**k was that?


10) Kieran Tierney celebrated winning a goal kick by the corner flag after a few minutes. You can take the boy out of Arsenal, but you can never take Arsenal out of the boy.


11) Such is the nature of how ineffective Che Adams was up top, I found myself mesmerised by substitute Lawrence Shankland controlling a high ball into him and laying it off to a teammate. Everything into Adams – which was not a lot in truth – bounced off him. It was not a surprise to see him hooked at half-time with Scotland down to 10 men.


12) ITV did a great job boiling some Scottish p*ss early on. Fifteen minutes into their coverage and straight after the first advertisement break they went to the England camp to show an interview with Gareth Southgate. Saw yer maw was raging on Facebook about it.

They were on good form with an Englishman, Irishman, and a Scotsman (no, this is not the beginning of a joke) on the punditry panel. Graeme Souness had some wonderful things to say about the seriously ill Alan Hansen, labelling him the greatest defender ever and an even better man.

Our screens showing us an interview with Lorraine Kelly as the line-ups were released was another beauty.

📣 TO THE COMMENTS! Can Scotland get out of Group A? Join the debate here.


13) On the punditry team, we got some golden Souness quotes as expected as not even Hells Bells could improve Ally McCoist’s mood. Scotland’s performance was so bad that it didn’t tell us anything about Germany apparently. Whatever helps you sleep at night, Graeme.

That was nowhere near the most outrageous claim as Souness compared Scotland’s 5.5 million population to Germany’s 83.8 million. Mark Pougatch quickly noted that Croatia’s population is lower than Scotland’s in presumably nervous terror. He did at least gather himself to get a little joke in about it at the end of the show. Say it with your chest, son.

The CBE stuff was nice at least but calling Portugal “dark horses” is beyond preposterous.


14) The biggest crime of the evening wasn’t anything to do with the football. It was that bloody Gillette advert coming on at half-time. Bad time to advertise razors, fellas.


15) This is the most basic statement possible but Scotland fans are outstanding, aren’t they? Not only are they passionate but they “behave themselves”, in the words of Souness, who clearly missed the viral clip of a true Scotsman getting their private parts out on live German TV.

Even at 4-1 down on the night, you could hear Flower of Scotland being belted out. Whether it is supporting their club or country, Progres Niederkorn in a Europa League first-round qualifier or Moldova in a dead-rubber World Cup qualifier, Scottish football fans will be there, and boy will they make noise and behave themselves – you know, besides the indecent exposure.


16) Oh, and Scotland fans: it’s not too late to make curling your number-one sport. Scotland are really good at curling.

👉 More Euro 2024 content: Most valuable XI | Our predictions | Squad depth XI