Soccer-German's Can switched Spanish holiday for Euro 2024 and opening-match goal


Soccer Football - Euro 2024 - Group A - Germany v Scotland - Munich Football Arena, Munich, Germany - June 14, 2024 Germany's Emre Can celebrates scoring their fifth goal REUTERS/Lee Smith

HERZOGENAURACH, Germany (Reuters) - Germany midfielder Emre Can cancelled a planned holiday to Spain for a last-minute call-up to the Euro 2024 squad before scoring in the tournament's opening-match victory over Scotland.

The 30-year-old Can, who scored Germany's final goal in their 5-1 Group A demolition of Scotland on Friday, was a surprise addition to the squad only two days earlier.

"My wife was very, very happy for me to be here," Can told a press conference on Sunday. "On Saturday it was her birthday and we would have been in Spain. It then came differently. She supports me and I would not be the person I am without the support of my family.

"My first contact with the coach was on Wednesday. I missed his first call and then he sent me a message."

The Borussia Dortmund midfielder had failed to make the cut for the squad despite his team's run to the Champions League final where they lost to Real Madrid.

But talented youngster Aleksandar Pavlovic fell ill and had to pull out on Wednesday, forcing coach Julian Nagelsmann to act quickly and turn to Can, saying he needed a replacement who was instantly battleworthy and had a lot of matches under his belt this season.

So far Can has turned out to be the perfect choice.

"I was disappointed when Julian initially did not call me up and I told him that.

"As for my demands, I have not been here long. To be honest I did not expect I would be playing on Friday and so I don't have any claim to be in the first team on Wednesday. I will always help the team from the bench or on the pitch."

On Wednesday, the Germans take on Hungary, who lost 3-1 to Switzerland in their opener.

"It was always an on-off relationship (with the national team)," said Can, who has earned 44 caps. "But when I was fit I was almost always there.

"When I was not called up at first by Julian I thought that I will come back and prove it to people. There is definitely a very good energy in the team and that follows good results on the pitch."

(Reporting by Karolos Grohmann; editing by Clare Fallon)

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