Being the Euro 2024 hosts, Germany required no participation in the qualifying round of the competition and are automatically qualified for the Finals at their home ground. On the other hand, the Euro 2024 hosts’ preparation to their home event next summer is anything but excellent thus far, having suffered another loss in an international friendly against Austria at Ernst Happel Stadion last night. The 2-0 defeat to the Austrians yesterday was Germany’s sixth loss in the calendar year of 2023, and they have now failed to win eight out of their 11 matches this year.
Austria Handled Germany Their Sixth Loss This Year, Sané Saw Red for the First Time
Julian Nagelsmann’s Germany were looking forward to return to winning ways in this friendly game against Austria, but the Euro 2024 hosts soon found themselves 1-0 behind in the opening 30 minutes, thanks to Marcel Sabitzer’s opening goal. The former RB Leipzig and Bayern Munich man measured his chances inside the penalty box, followed by a shot into the bottom left corner to break the deadlock.
Early in the second half, the moment of the match came from the visiting Germany, but it was not the highlight that they were looking for this time. 27-year-old Leroy Sané was initially seen to have tripped Phillipp Mwene, and as soon as the left-back was back on his feet, the former shoved the latter on the face, prompting the referee to give the Bayern Munich striker his marching orders; The straight red was the first for Sané, who have more than 400 combined appearances at senior international and club football levels, and his send off left a huge hole for Germany to fill in the rest of the game.
With a man down, the visitors struggled to find an equaliser and only managed eight shots as compared to Austria’s 16 in the entire 90 minutes plus added time. Almost half an hour later, the home side doubled their lead with Christoph Baumgartner. The 24-year-old attacking midfielder from RB Leipzig blew past Borussia Dortmund’s Mats Hummels and took on Kevin Trapp on his own, before the former cleverly chipped the ball over the Eintracht Frankfurt goalkeeper. Baumgartner’s fourth international goal this year sealed a famous victory against the Euro 2024 hosts for Austria.
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Mixed Reactions From the Euro 2024 Hosts
36-year-old Nagelsmann, who assumed the position of the Germany manager earlier this year and has failed to win three of his four matches in his new role thus far, did not hide his sentiments over the Euro 2024 hosts’ sixth loss in 2023. “We’re not playing freely. We’ve an unbelievable amount of work to do in each position. We need to accept the situation but we can’t fall into the role of being victims. We were a really well-functioning group at training, but it’s not transferring onto the pitch. We’re missing some self-confidence, which is not a surprise when you see the past few months.”
Captain of the Euro 2024 hosts İlkay Gündoğan shared the same feelings as his manager: “Doing it this way, we won’t be successful. We have to be honest and say it’s not only the defence. I said after Turkey (Germany’s 3-2 loss last weekend) that defence starts up front, with the way we run and pass, and with our attitude. We need to infuse ourselves with some positive energy, with some emotion and defend emotionally — right now we’re doing the opposite.”
Nevertheless, 34-year-old defender Hummels remained optimistic about Germany’s chances in the Finals as the Euro 2024 hosts, in which he believed the team have sufficient time to rectify the current situation. “It takes a while. We have a bit of time until the Euro. I think we can take massive steps. If we work hard, it could be a really good tournament for us.”
Germany going from Hansi Flick to Julian Nagelsmannpic.twitter.com/YgCXpHfKEq
— Troll Football (@TrollFootball) November 21, 2023
France Denied a Perfect Record in the 2024 UEFA Euro Qualifiers
Didier Deschamps’s Les Bleus joined 19 other teams and Euro 2024 hosts Germany in the Finals next summer, but unlike Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal, France did not secure a perfect qualifying round as expected, having dropped points for the first time in the final Matchday of the 2024 UEFA Euro Qualifiers. The 2022 FIFA World Cup runners-up were held to a 2-2 draw by Greece at OPAP Arena – Agia Sofia Stadium after they went ahead in the first half. Click here for the full match details now.