Jamal Musiala Florian Wirtz Germany GFXGOAL

Germany's future is now: Young guns Jamal Musiala and Florian Wirtz can end Euro 2024 hosts' rotten tournament run

German newspaper Bild pulled no punches after the country's national team were eliminated from the 2022 World Cup at the group stage. They dubbed Germany's dramatic exit as "the end of a once great and proud soccer nation". Hyperbole aside, the failure to get out of an admittedly tricky group in Qatar was an embarrassment back home.

Germany may have been a squad stuck partially in between generations, but there were few excuses to be found. This was a group of world-class players, led by a manager in Hansi Flick who two years earlier had led Bayern Munich to a treble. They didn't have to win the World Cup, but Germany were supposed to at least get out of their group. That failure, combined with a run of poor results that followed it, led to Flick being removed from his post in September.

Eighteen months on from that World Cup embarrassment, though, it feels like things are moving in the right direction for the Euro 2024 hosts. Julian Nagelsmann, after a tricky start to his tenure, has stripped it all down, entrusted a young core to do its thing, and shed the Bayern Munich loyalties that were arguably holding the side back.

At the centre of it all is an attacking midfield duo with a combined age of 42. Florian Wirtz and Jamal Musiala are two of the most exciting, incisive talents the sport has to offer, and over the next month, they will line up together for Die Mannschaft, a dynamic partnership challenged with restoring glory to a national team in shame. In truth, despite their inexperience, they likely hold the key to making this a tournament to remember for the hosts.

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