Lahm: Germany's Confidence Restored Ahead Of Euro 2024

Philipp Lahm, speaking to reporters, emphasized the restored confidence within the German team following their significant 2-0 win against France, signaling a promising outlook as they prepare to host Euro 2024 in three months.

As the tournament director for Euro 2024, Lahm noted that the impressive display on the field reignited a sense of “euphoria within our nation,” attributing it to the German national team’s skilled and passionate style of play.

Germany’s campaign at the 2022 World Cup in Qatar ended in disappointment as they suffered elimination at the group stage for the second consecutive time, highlighting a worrying trend in their recent performances on the global stage.

The football world took notice in September as Hansi Flick made history by becoming the first Germany coach to be sacked, paving the way for Julian Nagelsmann to assume control of the national team.

Nagelsmann, in Lyon on Saturday, appeared to be successfully sculpting a vibrant, young squad, just shy of three months before their opening clash against Scotland on June 14.

“(Germany) performed completely differently” against France, Lahm said of the victory that came thanks to a first international goal from Bayer Leverkusen’s Florian Wirtz and a Kai Havertz strike.

“We had an established midfield and of course very, very young, dynamic, attacking players. And of course that brings self-confidence.

“But we can only know for sure over a longer period of time.”

Read also: Boniface Ruled Out Of AFCON, Returns To Germany

Lahm played every minute in Germany’s run to the semi-finals as hosts of the 2006 World Cup before captaining the side to victory in Brazil eight years later.

As captain of the last world-beating German team, Lahm understands how complex the process of developing a top team can be — and that talent may not be enough.

“Super-talented players like Jamal Musiala and Florian Wirtz are still relatively young, but have a lot of experience,” he said.

“They certainly have the talent to raise the German national team to another level, but it’s important everything fits together, that the pieces of the puzzle fit together — and that was certainly the case in 2014.

“Everyone identified with their role and made their skills available to the team.”

Saturday’s victory against France even overshadowed the controversy surrounding the DFB’s decision to ditch long-time kit maker Adidas in favour of Nike, ending a 70-year collaboration with the German sports brand.

“I made 113 international appearances for Germany in Adidas, I played at Bayern Munich in Adidas, I only know the national team in Adidas,” Lahm said.

“When I watched Germany play on TV as a child, it was in Adidas.”

Lahm admitted the move was “a change for us in Germany”, but said: “There must have been serious reasons to change.”

Despite the hope fuelled by Germany’s defeat of France on Saturday, Lahm still named the French — spearheaded by Kylian Mbappe — as tournament favourites.

“They have 40 players who are very, very talented. They have a balanced squad,” he said.

“They can always bring players off the bench who would normally be good enough to play from the start.

“But the important thing is that you have a team on the field.”

While predicting a “big football nation” will win, Lahm said he hoped “perhaps there will be a surprise, that a smaller nation will go far in the tournament and will celebrate together with their fans.”

“But as for winning the title? I’m pretty sure it will be a football nation and one of the favourites, one who has won in the past few years.”

The organizers of Euro 2024 aim to capture the essence of the 2006 FIFA World Cup, a tournament deeply ingrained in Germany’s collective memory.

Famously dubbed the “summer fairytale,” it represented the instance when a united and progressive Germany displayed itself internationally.

Only 18 years ago, the tournament seemed to hail from a different era, whereas this year’s event unfolds amidst a backdrop of global conflicts and instability.

Towards the end of 2023, Germany’s Federal Office for the Protection of the Constitution (BfV) raised concerns about the heightened risk of a terror incident, describing it as “unprecedented in recent memory.”

The recent attack on a concert in Moscow, orchestrated by militants associated with the Islamic State group and claiming 137 lives, has reignited apprehensions regarding security in Germany. Meanwhile, neighboring France has elevated its security alert to its most critical level.

Lahm acknowledged the challenges, but said he hoped the tournament could play a unifying role as the World Cup had done in 2006.

“Safety is the highest priority, right from the start until the end of the tournament,” Lahm said.

“It’s a tournament in challenging times, but I still believe it’s important that we keep coming together.

“In Europe, we always come together to strengthen ourselves, to strengthen our democracy.

“Everyone is warmly welcomed to Germany, especially at this time, when there are many challenges all over the world. (It is important) that people can come together again and celebrate together again.”

Africa Today News, New York

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