TUESDAY’S BIG STORY

How did we forget about Germany?

We can hear you fighting back the tears. “But—but—Germany can’t be dark horses. They’re far too good.” Of course they can. They haven’t been good since 2017 – and they haven’t been really good since 2014 and their last 7-1 win. They lost 6-0 to Spain eight months ago. And not even you, dear reader, believe they can win Euro 2020. Therefore: dark horses.
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There are caveats swirling around their latest win. We’ve not heard of a single Latvian footballer since Marian Pahars. We were writing off Kai Havertz as a £71m mülltonne less than a fortnight ago. It’s the first full 90 minutes we’ve seen of the Germans since they fell apart against South Korea in the World Cup.
But there was still something magical about the way they picked apart Latvia, a performance packed with ruthless finishes and unnecessary passes in the penalty area. With Thomas Muller back and flanked by Havertz and Serge Gnabry, and all three looking sensational against a team sandwiched between Tanzania and Myanmar in the FIFA rankings, this could be the dawn of another golden summer for the Germans.
The one thing we don’t know is whether they can defend. Well actually we do. Not only was the previous evidence pretty damning – see above Spain defeat and the equally awkward loss to North Macedonia in March – but even lowly Latvia scored when they remembered they were no restrictions on them attacking. But is it such a bad thing if a team knows they have to score three (against a good opponent, sorry Pahars and Co) to have any chance of winning a game and, crucially, are very, very good at attacking in a swanky 3-4-3?
Oddly, the Group of Death could actually be a blessing for Jogi Low's nose-pickers. In our snowflake world where everyone gets a certificate and almost everyone qualifies for the last 16, Germany, France and Portugal can all escape from the group. By playing each other in the first stage, they are actually shielded from a reunion until the semi-finals at the earliest. Making it a Group of Opportunity.
And look, we know France are better. That this is England's best chance in a long time and Portugal are seriously tasty. But have we all made a colossal mistake and overlooked the Germans? And are we now panicking about them thrashing UEFA's seventh lowest-ranked nation? You bet, that's what we're all about at Warm-Up HQ. Europe, you've been warned.

Germany; good again.

Image credit: Getty Images

IN OTHER NEWS

The aliens are among us

Here’s the extraordinary story of how Roma star Chris Smalling scooped every weirdo with a telescope, as told by his wife Sam:
“OK so I promise we weren’t on magic mushrooms or anything – [editor’s note: just ramming home the plausibility nice and early] – but me and Chris saw the craziest UFO last night!
“It flew down low past us and then turned and shot back high up in the sky where it stayed for an hour (maybe longer but we had to leave). It was too small to get on film when it stayed stationed in the sky, although Chris could see it rotating with lights flashing around it (I could only see the outer lights at this point as my eyes aren’t as good.)”
All the hallmarks of a classic UFO sighting: too small to film, definitely no hallucinogenic involved, and something more important than an alien invasion so "we had to leave". Our first thought was this was a drone, which does largely fit the UFO brief. But Sam is having none of it, telling her followers the sighting in Jamaica was “100 billion percent” not a drone.
She continued: "It was massive and very sophisticated with faint lights all around the edge. It was also an off shape, not like that of a drone. Crazy I know! Also, wasn't a plane or anything like that. It was silent. Even drones are loud. Also I have nothing to gain from sharing this. Just that many of my followers will likely think I'm mad."
While the Warm-Up accepts that we're not alone in this vast expanse and that extra-terrestrial life will eventually be discovered/destroy us, we find it slightly hard to believe that Chris Smalling would make the landmark discovery on holiday because, well, he's Chris Smalling...

IN THE CHANNELS

Fulham were looking good for Premier League survival until manager Scott Parker started to focus on his rap career. And to be fair, it’s better than Fulham’s football by far.

HAT TIP

To earn the nickname, ‘the Turkish Messi’ is some honour and Abdulkadir Omur will be aiming to go some way to living up to that moniker when the tournament begins. A devastating dribbler with explosive acceleration and a lethal left foot, Omur has been lighting up the Turkish Super Lig for Trabzonspor since coming through the club’s youth system.
Why would we promote another website when you’re having such a good time here? Ibrahim Mustapha picks out the wonderkids who will take Euro 2020 by storm. Or flop and end up in the Romanian third division by the time the World Cup rolls around.

COMING UP

THREE more sleeps until Euro 2020. Oh, and France fans watch behind a pillow as their side take on Bulgaria in a warm-up friendly.
Marcus Foley doesn’t sleep, so it’s NO more sleeps for him until Euro 2020. If he survives the UFO invasion.
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