Soccer-Euro 2024 to be tournament of the ages


Soccer Football - Euro 2024 - Group A - Germany v Scotland - Munich Football Arena, Munich, Germany - June 14, 2024 A giant replica European Championship Trophy is displayed during the pre match show inside the stadium before the match REUTERS/Michaela Stache

HAMBURG, Germany (Reuters) - Age records look likely to be broken at the European Championship in Germany with Spain’s Lamine Yamal set to become the youngest player in tournament history and Portugal's Pepe the oldest.

Barcelona's Yamal, Spain’s youngest international and goalscorer, will become the most youthful player to appear at the Euro finals if he represents Spain in their Group B opener against Croatia in Berlin.

Yamal will be 16 years, 11 months and two days old on Saturday, poised to shatter the record set by Poland's Kacper Kozlowski at the last finals when he took to the field aged 17 years and 246 days.

Midfielder Kozlowski broke a record set six days before by England's Jude Bellingham, who was 17 years and 349 days in his first Euro 2020 appearance against Croatia at Wembley.

Spain coach Luis de la Fuente was tight-lipped about who would start his side's Euro 2024 opener against Croatia, but praised flying winger Yamal.

"He's a young boy with an incredible talent, it's almost a gift from God. Very few players have his attributes in terms of understanding the game," the coach said on Friday.

Switzerland’s Johan Vonlanthen is the youngest scorer in the European Championship at the age of 18 years and 141 days against France at Euro 2004.

The tournament is also likely to see a new record for the oldest player, held by Hungary's Gabor Kiraly who was 40 years and 86 days old when he kept goal against Belgium in the round of 16 at Euro 2016 in France.

Centre back Pepe, however, will be 41 years and 113 days when Portugal take on the Czech Republic in Leipzig on Tuesday.

(Editing by Ed Osmond)

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