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Nagelsmann hails 'perfect mix' in Germany squad

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Published in Soccer
Tuesday, 18 June 2024 15:37

Germany might have the youngest coach of the European Championship, but it also has the oldest squad.

Much has been made of Julian Nagelsmann ushering in a new generation of exciting talent and the likes of Florian Wirtz (21), Jamal Musiala (21) and Kai Havertz (25) picked Scotland apart in Germany's 5-1 opening win at Euro 2024.

But - based on the average age of the squads - Germany has the oldest group at the tournament, with 10 of the 26 members aged 30 or older.

A win on Wednesday in Stuttgart could see Germany earn a spot in the knockout stage and Nagelsmann said his blend of veteran stars and young talent can take the host nation all the way.

"We have to find new solutions because we're the oldest squad, we need to have more younger players in the future. But for this tournament, it's the perfect mix and we can be very successful," he said.

"It's always good to have a good mix in your team between experienced players and young, talented players," Nagelsmann said on the eve of his team's second match of Euro 2024, against Hungary. "I think it's important that the young players are open minded, listen to the older players with experience, to improve.

"We have some experienced players in the squad. They have all experienced different situations, have solutions for different situations, especially when you talk about pressure, when you talk about situations to deal with on the pitch and off the pitch."

At 38, Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer is two years older than his coach. Toni Kroos and Thomas Müller are both 34, with captain Ílkay Gündogan only a year younger.

Kroos announced last month that he would retire at the end of Euro 2024 and he appears set to bow out of soccer with performances that are as good as at any other stage of his glittering career.

Kroos put on another passing masterclass against Scotland. He played 102 passes - more than any other player on the field - and misplaced just one.

"He's still one of the top three players in the world who can find players in between the lines of the opponents, and better positions, offensive positions to create chances and I think he will do it tomorrow as well," Nagelsmann said at Tuesday's news conference in Stuttgart.

"It's not it's not that easy to defend against him. I think Hungary will have a plan to defend against him a little bit more than the Scottish team. But Toni is clever enough and smart enough to find solutions and then he will have a big impact tomorrow as well."

Germany is winless in its past three matches against Hungary and was beaten when the two sides last met, in September 2022.

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