Soccer-Munich buzzes with Germany and Scotland fans out for a fairy tale Euro 2024


Soccer Football - Euro 2024 - Group A - Germany v Scotland - Munich, Germany - June 14, 2024 Germany and Scotland fans pose for a photograph with a Euro trophy cutout before the match REUTERS/Leonhard Simon

MUNICH, Germany (Reuters) -Germany fans answered coach Julian Nagelsmann's call to "please be loud" on Friday, descending on Munich's medieval Marienplatz in their thousands to party with Scotland supporters and heading to a giant fan zone hours before the opening match of Euro 2024.

Munich authorities later said the fan zone, which has a capacity of 25,000, was full and closed to new arrivals, as was Marienplatz as the hosts prepared to face Scotland in Group A.

"The Fan Zone in the Olympic Park is temporarily closed due to overcrowding. Please do not come to the Olympic Park!Marienplatz is currently overcrowded. There will definitely be no public screening there. Please spread out elsewhere in the city!," the city said in a statement.

Scottish fans clad in kilts have dominated central Munich for the last few days, playing bagpipes, chanting and endearing themselves to the locals. Hours before kick-off Germany fans emerged to join the excitement, saying they were proud to host the tournament and ready to get behind their team.

"I'm really happy it is getting started now and I am sure there will be a great atmosphere. I think there will only be a few times that Germany hosts a tournament like this, so we need to make the absolute most of it," said Benny Kuehnel, 32, a software developer from Stuttgart.

Jutta Huelsheger, 54, had travelled across Germany to be in the Munich fan zone in the city's Olympic Park for the opening game. Eight hours ahead of kick off, it was a struggle to find a good spot in front of the giant screen by a lake.

"I wanted to be here for the opening game, to absorb all the atmosphere and joy. I'm amazed at how full it is already," she said.

Germany have won four World Cups and three European Championships but their stellar tournament reputation has been somewhat tarnished by a series of failures since their 2014 World Cup triumph in Brazil.

They went out of the next two World Cups in the group stage, their worst showing in more than 80 years, and exited the last Euros in the round of 16.

NEW HOPE

Fans are desperate for a fresh start and some new hope.

Fabian Schroeder, a 33-year-old engineer, strolled through the fan zone in a Germany football shirt and a red kilt.

"This is to create good relations," he said.

Asked if he thought Germany might relive the party atmosphere it enjoyed when hosting the 2006 World Cup, he said: "I hope so. The country needs it."

Mention that tournament and many Germans get misty eyed, recalling a summer of sunshine and an unprecedented freedom to wave their national flags and explore their identity as a relatively newly reunified country.

The World Cup triggered a wave of support for the Germany team that reached the semi-finals, with millions packing into the fan zones set up across the country every evening.

Scottish fans praised their German hosts at the Euros.

"We've had a really great time so far. The Germans have been very friendly," said Duncan Kellock, 70, from Alva near Stirling in Scotland.

"I don't think you can find a better host country," said Robert Holland, a 52-year-old solicitor from Edinburgh.

(Writing by Alexandra Hudson; editing by Clare Fallon and Ken Ferris)

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