Nagelsmann urges Germany to harness the 'privilege of pressure'

football13 June 2024 18:34| © AFP
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Julian Nagelsmann © Gallo Images

Germany coach Julian Nagelsmann said his side needed to use the pressure of hosting Euro 2024 to their advantage ahead of Friday's tournament opener against Scotland in Munich.

This summer's hosts are three-time winners of the European Championship but have endured a poor time since reaching the semifinals at Euro 2016.

Since that tournament, the Germans were eliminated twice at the group stage of the World Cup, and lost to England in the last 16 at the Euros in 2021.

Admitting to being a "little nervous" ahead of his first game coaching Germany at a major tournament, Nagelsmann said he told his players to embrace the pressure in front of their home fans.

"I think it's normal that you feel a little bit of pressure before a tournament and before important games like these," the 36-year-old told reporters on Thursday.

"Ultimately for me it's the most important theme, when I speak with my players, that pressure is a form of privilege.

"We need to simply enjoy being on the pitch. That's very important. Our players started playing when they were young. They love it (football).

"If you do it that way, you're doing it right."

"We will work out the pressure and we will work out Scotland," he added.

While tens of thousands of Scotland supporters are due in Munich for Friday's game, Nagelsmann said Germany must capitalise on their "home-field advantage" during the tournament.

"It's crazy, I come from a village with 700 residents," said Nagelsmann, joking his hometown had "more cows than people".

"And now we have the opening of the Euros in Munich tomorrow – we're really looking forward to it."

Germany captain Ilkay Gundogan also spoke of the "huge privilege" and "incredible honour" of leading the hosts onto the pitch.

"It's something that doesn't come around often in your career. To be a part of this team, this country, and to represent the German people is an honour."


Nagelsmann shed light on the process of bringing veteran midfielder Toni Kroos, who retired from international duty in 2021, back into the squad. He revealed it took a while to convince the 2014 World Cup winner to return.

"It took a period of time to convince him because he wanted to know what we'll change in the future," explained Nagelsmann.

"He said he'll only be part of the team when he feels we can win, so he wanted to know how we'll change the team.

"Then he said he'll be part of it and 'let's rock'."

Kroos retired from club football after winning the Champions League with Real Madrid at the start of the month and will hang up his boots for good at the end of the Euros.

Gundogan, who will line up alongside Kroos in midfield, said the six-time Champions League winner "made the difficult look easy".

"I know how important and how decisive these simple-looking passes can be," said the Barcelona midfielder.

"You have to be a ridiculously good footballer to achieve the things he has achieved, so that's why he's so important for us."

Nagelsmann warned his players not to underestimate Scotland, saying Steve Clarke's side were not the "kick and rush" team of the past.

"They have flair and good physicality. They may not be full of superstars, but that can make them dangerous."