Euro 2024 Football News

UEFA Euro 2024: Day 1 Match Reviews

Rahul Saha Rahul Saha

Day 1 of Euro 2024 saw the hosts opening the tournament with an emphatic victory by obliterating Scotland 5-1 in the Allianz Arena thanks to a man of the match performance from youngster Jamal Musiala. In the second Group A fixture, Switzerland overcame Hungary 3-1 with Bree Embolo sealing the victory three minutes into stoppage time while in the battle of the heavyweights, Spain’s clinical finishing meant the 2012 champions started their campaign with a resounding 3-0 victory over a wasteful Croatian side. 

Without further ado, let’s break down all the action from day 1 of Euro 2024. 

Match 1: Germany 5-1 Scotland 

Yesterday’s resounding victory epitomised the great German teams of yesteryears. Hard-working. Ruthless. Efficient. 

If there were any doubts regarding this German side’s ability to perform on the big stage, all were put to bed with this comfortable 5-1 victory, their biggest ever at the Euros. The entire German front three was electric throughout the night, with Toni Kroos pulling the strings with acres of space and not a single player closing him down. Their defense also didn’t have much to do throughout the 90 minutes, barring an unfortunate Antonio Rüdiger own-goal. If this is the sign of things to come, make no mistakes, this German side can go very deep into the tournament. 

However, it has to be said that Steve Clarke and his men laid it on a platter for the hosts to take advantage of Scotland’s uninspiring showing. 

Right from the start, it felt like it was a matter of: by how many goals and not how or when. Despite fielding a five-at-the-back system, the lack of positional awareness from some of the Scotland players in wide areas would give Steve Clarke a few sleepless nights as the German fullbacks repeatedly probed and exploited those areas. 

If Clarke doesn’t address this soon, I’m afraid it’s going to be a tough learning experience for some of his boys, especially with both Hungary and Switzerland currently looking much better placed than them. 

Match 2: Hungary 1-3 Switzerland 

It was a tale of two halves at Cologne. Murat Yakin’s Switzerland side flew out of the blocks as they dominated the opening exchanges. It only took the Swiss 12 minutes to open the scoring when Michel Aebischer’s waited pass cut open the Hungarian defense and found Kwadwo Duah who calmly slotted his effort behind Péter Gulásci to give Switzerland the lead. 

Switzerland dominated the majority of the first half with much to show for it until Michel Aebischer struck a curling effort past Gulásci to double the lead in the 45th minute. It took almost an hour before Hungary started playing on the front foot. Their front trio of Barnabás Varga, Roland Sallai and Dominik Szoboszlai repeatedly poked and probed the Swiss defense before Szoboszlai’s in-swinging cross was put in the back of the net by Varga with just 25 minutes of normal time remaining. 

As Hungary pushed forward, they became more and more susceptible to getting overturned on the transition. Eventually, it was Willi Orbán’s poor headed clearance in the 93rd minute that led to Bree Embolo running through on goal and sealing the victory for the Swiss in this crucial Group A fixture. 

Match 3: Spain 3-0 Croatia 

It was a clinical performance by the 2012 champions. The 3-0 Scoreline hardly gives us a fair reflection of how the game really panned out. Spain were the more positive of the two sides as they started the game by dominating the opening exchanges. Croatia slowly grew into the game as it turned into an end-to-end tussle before near the half-time mark Fabián Ruiz cut open the Croatian defence with a delightful through ball which was neatly tucked away by the Spanish skipper Álvaro Morata. 

A few minutes later, provider turned scorer as Fabián Ruiz doubled Spain’s lead following a mazy run inside the Croatian defensive third. However, the game was all but decided two minutes into the first half stoppage time when Lamine Yamal’s corner was headed in at the near post by Real Madrid legend Dani Carvajal to give Spain an unassailable 3-0 lead at half time. 

Croatia didn’t bow down though, and kept on coming at the Spanish defence. However, finding the back of the net has proven to be their achilles heel for quite some time now. The Croats came close to getting one back when Rodri brought down Ivan Periši? inside the box in the 78th minute. Bruno Petkovi? stepped up but his effort was saved by Unai Simón. Ivan Periši? was first to the loose ball and played it square for Petkovi? to get one back for Croatia. 

However, in what looked like a contentious call, the VAR ruled out the goal citing encroachment inside the box by Ivan Periši?. But on a closer look, it was evident that the Spanish keeper was also off his line and the spot-kick should have been retaken. Although as far as the result is concerned, it wouldn’t have made any difference but in terms of qualification into the next round, that one goal can have a lasting effect if Croatia somehow fail to go through because of that. 

How the points table looks: 

Group AGroup B 
Teams PlayedGDPointsTeamsPlayedGDPoints
UEFA Euro 2024: Day 1 Match Reviews
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Rahul Saha

Rahul Saha

An engineer taking the road less taken. I love writing, live and breathe football, and am always up for a tactical conversation.

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