Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat :

Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat : Host Germany Gives Euro 2024 Liftoff by Outclassing 10-Man Scotland 5-1

Germany’s Thomas Mueller, center, celebrates during the Group A match between Germany and Scotland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Munich, Germany, Friday, June 14, 2024. Christian Charisius/dpa via AP
Germany’s Thomas Mueller, center, celebrates during the Group A match between Germany and Scotland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Munich, Germany, Friday, June 14, 2024. Christian Charisius/dpa via AP
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Host Germany Gives Euro 2024 Liftoff by Outclassing 10-Man Scotland 5-1

Germany’s Thomas Mueller, center, celebrates during the Group A match between Germany and Scotland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Munich, Germany, Friday, June 14, 2024. Christian Charisius/dpa via AP
Germany’s Thomas Mueller, center, celebrates during the Group A match between Germany and Scotland at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Munich, Germany, Friday, June 14, 2024. Christian Charisius/dpa via AP

Host Germany could hardly have wished for a better start to the European Championship.
Goals from Florian Wirtz and Jamal Musiala in an imperious first half set Germany on the way to a confidence-boosting 5-1 win over 10-man Scotland in the Euro 2024 curtain raiser on Friday.
While Germany didn’t really have to break sweat against a sub-par Scotland at Allianz Arena, it was the ideal result to launch its tournament and ramp up excitement in the country, The Associated Press said.
“Yes, that’s exactly the way we wanted to start and, to be honest, we needed a start just like that,” Germany captain İlkay Gündoğan told German broadcaster ZDF. “I had a good feeling before the game already, to be honest, and it came true, thank God.
“But exactly this atmosphere, the euphoria in the stadium now with our own fans, that’s exactly what we need in order to go far.”
Pre-tournament title expectations of the Germans were underwhelming after they crashed out of their last three major tournaments. But they've opened with their biggest victory in Euros history.
They dominated the first half, which ended in the worst possible way for Scotland when defender Ryan Porteous was sent off and Kai Havertz converted the resulting penalty kick. Substitutes Niclas Füllkrug and Emre Can piled on to Scotland's misery after the break.
“The first 20 minutes were very impressive. The first goals were very good," Germany coach Julian Nagelsmann said. "It’s very valuable that many players performed well early on.
“It was only the first step but a very good one and we can build on this one. We’re very happy.”
Scotland, which hadn't had a shot on goal all match, managed to give its raucous fans something to celebrate late on when the ball was bundled into the back of the net off Germany defender Antonio Rüdiger for an own goal.
Steve Clarke’s side will have to do better against Hungary and Switzerland if it is to get out of Group A and reach the knockout stage for the first time.
“Difficult night. We didn’t play to our standard. The German team were excellent,” Clarke said.
“We feel as though we’ve let ourselves down. We’re better than that. Hopefully we can show that the next two games.”
Scotland’s Tartan Army of supporters started the match in fine voice but they were swiftly quietened when Wirtz scored in the 10th.
Toni Kroos picked out Joshua Kimmich with a brilliant crossfield lob and he rolled it across for Wirtz to fire in.
Wirtz became Germany’s youngest Euros goal-scorer at 21. Musiala, 67 days older than Wirtz, doubled Germany’s tally nine minutes later after combining well with Havertz.
Right on halftime, Scotland goalkeeper Angus Gunn only parried a header from Gündoğan, but just when the captain appeared set to tuck home the rebound he was upended by a thunderous challenge from Porteous.
Referee Clément Turpin showed Porteous a straight red card and awarded Germany a penalty, which Havertz converted.
Scotland managed to hold out in the second half until an attempted exchange between Musiala and Gündoğan fell kindly for Füllkrug. The substitute, who came on only five minutes earlier, unleashed a thunderbolt into the top right corner.
Scotland's late consolation came when Kieran McKenna’s header from a free kick went in off Rüdiger.
Still, Scotland conceded five goals for the first time in 12 years when Can, who was brought into the squad only two days ago as a late replacement for the ill Aleksandar Pavlovic, curled in in stoppage time.
“A great feeling and a crazy story ... I was on vacation two days ago” Can told ZDF. “Then the call came on Wednesday, and on Wednesday evening I met up with the team, trained once yesterday, came in today (off the bench), scored a goal. I’m thankful to Julian (Nagelsmann) and the whole coaching staff that they put their trust in me.”
Late German soccer great Franz Beckenbauer was honored before the match, and the capacity crowd included German President Frank-Walter Steinmeier, Scotland First Minister John Swinney, and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán.
Hungary is next in Germany's sights on Wednesday, when Scotland plays Switzerland.



Aswat Asharq Al-Awsat : US Men's Basketball Team Builds Gig Lead then Holds off Australia for 98-92 win in Olympics Tuneup

Jock Landale scored 20 for Australia, which got 17 from Josh Giddey and 14 from Dyson Daniels, The AP reported. The AP
Jock Landale scored 20 for Australia, which got 17 from Josh Giddey and 14 from Dyson Daniels, The AP reported. The AP
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US Men's Basketball Team Builds Gig Lead then Holds off Australia for 98-92 win in Olympics Tuneup

Jock Landale scored 20 for Australia, which got 17 from Josh Giddey and 14 from Dyson Daniels, The AP reported. The AP
Jock Landale scored 20 for Australia, which got 17 from Josh Giddey and 14 from Dyson Daniels, The AP reported. The AP

There was a lot for the US Olympic team to like on Monday. And a lot not to like.

Anthony Davis scored 17 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, Tyrese Haliburton came up with a pair of late 3-pointers that helped stop a freefall by the Americans, and the US beat Australia 98-92 on Monday to improve to 2-0 in its five-game slate of exhibitions leading into the Paris Olympics.

Devin Booker scored 16 for the US, Anthony Edwards scored 14 and three players — LeBron James, Bam Adebayo and Joel Embiid — finished with 10 for the Americans, who are playing host to a pair of exhibitions at Abu Dhabi, United Arab Emirates, this week. They'll play Serbia there on Wednesday.

Jock Landale scored 20 for Australia, which got 17 from Josh Giddey and 14 from Dyson Daniels, The AP reported.

The US led by 24 midway through the third quarter, yet saw that lead cut to six with 5:05 left after Australia went on a 39-21 run. But Haliburton had the next six points on his 3s, pushing the lead back to 92-80.

Australia cut it to four on two separate occasions, but Booker went 4-for-4 from the line in the final 8 seconds to ensure the US would escape.

“Third quarter, we started turning the ball over," US coach Steve Kerr said. "We gave up a ton of points at the basket. Back cuts, offensive boards and so, the game shifted. It's a good lesson for us. Better to learn that lesson now than later. And this will be a good tape for us to watch. But I give Australia a ton of credit. They were great. They fought. They were really physical. Took it to us in the last quarter and a half and really made it a game.”

Second unit, again Just like in the Canada game, the so-called second unit — Haliburton, Jrue Holiday, Adebayo, Davis and Booker — changed the game.

That was the group on the floor when the Americans took a game that was tied at 19-19 with 3:15 left in the first and turned it into a 39-23 lead — a 20-4 run in a span of just over 5 minutes.

Kerr used that group as his starting five to open the second half. But it’s become a clear trend already: when the US goes to its bench and can replace All-Stars with other All-Stars, it’s just going to be a massive problem for opponents who don’t have anywhere near that same level of depth.

“The strength of our team is our depth and we have to utilize our depth,” Kerr said.

It’s been something the Americans have used to their advantage in the past. Dwyane Wade led the gold-medalist 2008 US Olympic team in points, even though he was sixth in minutes on that team and came off the bench in all eight games.

Turnovers Here’s the big trouble sign right now for the US: turnovers.

FIBA games are shorter than NBA games, 40 minutes instead of 48 minutes. That means there are fewer possessions and makes it even more imperative to not give the ball away.

Which the Americans did. A lot.

After committing 15 turnovers in last week's exhibition win over Canada, the US had 18 giveaways on Monday and Australia used them to fuel the comeback effort — getting 25 points off turnovers in the second half alone.

“Our turnovers, it's all about focus and execution,” Davis said.

Injury watch Kevin Durant missed his second consecutive game because of a calf strain, and with only one practice between games it wouldn’t seem likely that he plays Wednesday against Serbia either.

Derrick White, who arrived in Abu Dhabi over the weekend and got into his first practice with the team on Sunday, also didn’t play. White replaced Kawhi Leonard — who deals with knee issues — on the US roster after the Americans determined last week that it wasn’t in Leonard’s best interest to play this summer.