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A flame to keep alive: Germany, the host country, must confirm its sparkling start in “its” Euro-2024 on Wednesday against Hungary (6:00 p.m.) in Stuttgart in Group A, while Croatia of the eternal Luka Modric, 38 years old, plays for survival against Albania (3:00 p.m.).

In Paderborn, in the north-west of Germany, where the France team has set up its base camp, the day will still be dominated by the uncertainty surrounding its captain Kylian Mbappé, victim of a broken nose Monday evening against Austria.

After its demonstration during the opening match against Scotland (5-1), the Mannschaft wants to ride this positive wave which has swept across the country (22.5 million viewers) and continue its mission of redemption with of his audience.

“I don't want to put the brakes on the euphoria, that's what the whole of Germany football has aspired to for so long,” explained German metronome Toni Kroos, 34, who wants to treat his farewell to his sport and his country.

It is against Hungary, known to be tenacious but beaten from the start by Switzerland (3-1), that the Mannschaft, a serious contender for the title, will try to get closer to qualifying for the round of 16 and keep away the bad memories of all these early eliminations since 2018 (World Cup-2018 and 2022, Euro-2020).

Coach Julian Nagelsmann, a great architect of the German revival with strong choices that have so far paid off, called on Tuesday not to underestimate an opponent who has posed him serious problems over the last three years (two draws, one defeat). :

“Hungary is under a little more pressure than us and will have to play more offensively than against Switzerland, because a defeat could mean elimination,” he said. “They are a very experienced team who play very well and are determined. I have coached some of their players, I know what they are capable of.”

The ex-Bayern coach is wary of a team “very good in transition play”, with “two attackers who are good at heading” and Liverpool attacking midfielder Dominik Szoboszlai, formidable from afar and “on shots from feet stopped.”

– Modric’s Croatia in danger –
Before this second German meeting, Croatia of the immutable Luka Modric, 38 years old, will have no room for error against Albania in Hamburg (3 p.m.), where the large communities of nationals of the two countries will meet to push their team towards a surge.

The “Vatreni” (the Ardents), one of the most consistent nations in recent years (3rd in the 2022 World Cup, finalist in 2018, finalist in the 2023 Nations League), must indeed react after a failed debut against a sharp and efficient Spain (3-0).

Any result other than a victory would push Croatia to the brink of elimination and rush Modric towards the end of his (probable) final international tournament, as Spain and Italy face off on Thursday in a clash resembling group B final.

Scotland, humiliated by Germany (5-1), will seek to glean its first points against Switzerland (9:00 p.m.) to keep hope alive among its supporters, almost 200,000 who made the trip to support their team.

– Mbappé uncertain –
As for the French team, the captain of the Blues Kylian Mbappé, victim of a broken nose on Monday during the first match against Austria (1-0), “remains uncertain” for Friday's meeting against the Countries -Low, the French Football Federation (FFF) announced on Tuesday.

“A new point will be made tomorrow (Wednesday),” said the FFF, to assess the chances of resuming competition for the French striker, who left the field with a bloody nose after violently hitting the shoulder of Lensois Kevin Danso in wanting to head a ball back.

The superstar does not seem to hold it against him, even using humor on social networks, asking his 14 million subscribers on case of return to the field.

ati-tba/hpa

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