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regular-article-logo Tuesday, 16 July 2024

Last-16 slot booked, hosts eye top spot: Draw will be enough for Germany to finish as group champions

Group A rivals Hungary and Scotland meet in Stuttgart at the same time

AP/PTI, Reuters Frankfurt Published 23.06.24, 10:26 AM
Toni Kroos of Germany during a training session last week.

Toni Kroos of Germany during a training session last week. Getty Images

Germany go for a third straight win in Group A against a Switzerland team that also is unbeaten. Germany have advanced to the knockout stage, and Switzerland are sure to confirm their place on Sunday.

Group A rivals Hungary and Scotland meet in Stuttgart at the same time.

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Both teams impressed in their first games: Germany routed Scotland 5-1 and Switzerland beat Hungary 3-1. Germany sustained their form by beating Hungary 2-0, the Swiss less so in a 1-1 draw with Scotland.

­Germany have already reached the round-of-16 and with just a draw will finish top of the group. That would send Germany to Dortmund for a knockout game next Saturday against runners-up of Group C, which is currently Denmark.

“We’re happy that we’re in the round-of-16. Nevertheless, it will be about finishing first in the group,” Germany midfielder Toni Kroos said.

"Top spot is important. We want to win all our matches," cpach Julian Nagelsmann said following Germany's 2-0 victory over Hungary in their second group game.

Switzerland will top the group if they win. That would send Germany to Berlin to play the runners-up in Group B, which likely will be Italy or Croatia.

Only freakish results could drop Switzerland to third place in the standings.

The Swiss start on Sunday three points ahead of Scotland, who play Hungary in Stuttgart. Switzerland have a huge goal-difference advantage over Scotland.

The rain-soaked Frankfurt field has been a problem, even with a stadium roof that has been closed to protect the turf from persistent downpours.

Germany had a full squad of 26 players in training on Saturday. Coach Julian Nagelsmann has picked the same starting lineup for both games.

Switzerland coach Murat Yakin is making changes in style and tactics. Though Kwadwo Duah scored against Hungary, he was dropped against Scotland in favour of Xherdan Shaqiri.

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