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Fan zones fill up ahead of Germany v Scotland match

First Minister of Scotland John Swinney posing for photos with Scotland fans at Marienplatz square, Munich (Andrew Milligan/PA)
First Minister of Scotland John Swinney posing for photos with Scotland fans at Marienplatz square, Munich (Andrew Milligan/PA)

The countdown is nearly over for what is being billed as an opportunity for Scotland’s national men’s football team to achieve “legendary” status as they take on Germany in the opening match of Euro 2024.

Steve Clarke and his players travelled by bus to Munich from their base in Garmisch-Partenkirchen on Thursday ahead of the side’s most high-profile match since taking on Brazil in France 98.

Scotland have previously been bested in eight World Cups and three European Championships but optimism is running high that Steve Clarke’s squad can pull off something spectacular at Munich tonight.

Tens of thousands of football fans have descended on the city to cheer on their side in venues specially set up to screen the Euro 2024 opener as well as its many bars and restaurants.

First Minister of Scotland John Swinney was spotted on the streets dressed in a kilt and later seen in a bar with Craig Ferguson, who walked from Scotland to Germany to raise money for men’s mental health.

UEFA EURO 2024 – Previews – Friday June 14th
Scotland fan Craig Ferguson (right), who walked from Scotland to Germany for Euro 2024, with First Minister of Scotland John Swinney at Marienplatz square, Munich (Andrew Milligan/PA)

It is estimated as many as 200,000 fans have made the trip to Munich despite the fact only a small fraction of the Tartan Army will have tickets to watch tonight’s game at Munich’s Allianz Arena.

Germany are the favourites to win with odds of 1/4 to win but pundits say Scotland are still in with a chance of progressing out of Group A given their remaining matches are against Switzerland and Hungary.

Excitement has been building all week for tonight’s fixture with numerous TV programmes and news broadcasts leading with images of huge crowds of kilted fans celebrating their arrival in Munich.

Back in Scotland more specially arranged fan zones set up in cities such as Glasgow, Edinburgh and Dundee have been filling up with eager fans ahead of tonight’s kick-off at 8pm.

Hundreds have gathered at Dundee Fan Park on the city’s Riverside Park, organised by 22a Events, to watch the game on a giant 46 square metre TV as well as enjoy live entertainment throughout the day.

UEFA EURO 2024 – Previews – Friday June 14th
Scotland fans at Marienplatz square, Munich (Bradley Collyer/PA)

Kevin Knight, 52, a bathroom fitter from Dundee, said ahead of the game: “I think if we get a draw out of the game, that will be a good result.

“We might sneak a win, it’s first game of the tournament, you never know what’s going to happen.

“You’re always hoping, when you put your Scotland top on, you’re always hoping.

“A win would be awesome, absolutely awesome. All the pressure is on Germany.”

Barrie Laing, 56, who works for a manufacturing company in Dundee, said: “I’m just happy that we got here.

“As far as I’m concerned, the job’s done. We’ve qualified and anything now is a bonus.

“A win would be unbelievable. This place would go absolutely bonkers. Against the hosts in the opening match? It doesn’t get any better than that.

“It’s not going to be easy, we’ve had so many false dawns, but it’s got to happen one day.

“I’m old enough to have so many dreams shattered, but I keep dreaming.”

Earlier this week Scotland captain Andy Robertson said his team want to “make history” in the Euros and their main incentive going into the tournament was the opportunity to become “a legendary squad” in the eyes of fans.

“We want to make history, we know what’s at stake,” Robertson said.

“What’s the worst that can happen? We join the list of Scotland teams who haven’t got out of a group?

“We have so many incentives here but becoming a legendary squad is the biggest. That’s what has to drive us forward.

“The thought of being the first Scotland team to make a knockout round is our driving force.

“If we manage that? You just never know.”

Reflecting on disappointing results against Croatia and Czechia in Euro 2020 Robertson added: “We don’t want to have any regrets this time. We have to move on from that. We believe we can be the team that makes history.”