Germany’s golden oldies leading push for Euro 2024 glory

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HERZOGENAURACH – With a combined age of 106, Germany’s three remaining 2014 World Cup winners Manuel Neuer, Thomas Muller and Toni Kroos are leading the hosts’ charge for Euro 2024 glory.

Friends off the pitch, they are the only players in the 26-man squad to have each played over 100 international games.

The Germans are hoping their blend of youth and experience can sustain a title challenge when they take on Hungary in Stuttgart on June 19, with the Hungarians eager to bounce back from a 3-1 loss to Switzerland.

Since a semi-final elimination to France at Euro 2016, Germany have struggled in major tournaments, with two World Cup group-stage exits bookending a last-16 elimination by England at Euro 2020.

But after a 5-1 romp against Scotland in the Group A tournament opener, the veteran trio will be hoping for a successful last dance on home soil.

Neuer, 38, is two years older than coach Julian Nagelsmann. Kroos and Muller are both 34.

When announcing his Euro 2024 squad, Nagelsmann named Muller as “a connector” who “can link the rappers with the yodellers” in the squad.

The forward seems to be doing his part at Germany’s camp in Herzogenaurach, as Neuer lauded the “mood and the atmosphere within the camp”, saying “there’s just a really good, colourful mix in our team”.

Neuer also said he was “happy to hang out” with the younger squad members, joking that he can “hear conversations that are perhaps a little different to those with Toni Kroos or Thomas Muller”.

While the exploits of Jamal Musiala and Florian Wirtz, both 21, stationed either side of the 25-year-old Kai Havertz, have dominated highlights reels, Germany will still bank on the experience they have.

With an average age of 28.5, their squad is the oldest at the tournament, with 10 of the 26 members aged 30 or older.

Their starting XI against Scotland on June 14 was the oldest they have fielded at a tournament since Euro 2000, when Lothar Matthaeus led them onto the pitch against Romania.

Speaking on June 17, Neuer said the trio “bring a very good perspective” to the squad.

“We’ve already experienced a lot together. We’ve had times with good or bad first games and at the beginning you don’t always know where you stand,” the goalkeeper said.

And because of that, he said they would make sure his younger te...

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