Philipp Lahm on EURO 2024, the glory days of 2006 and the challenge for the current Germany side
Monday, March 20, 2023
UEFA EURO 2024 tournament director Philipp Lahm discusses his hopes and dreams for next summer's finals in Germany.
Article top media content
The beginning of the European Qualifiers signals another major landmark in the countdown to UEFA EURO 2024, and tournament director Philipp Lahm admits he can barely contain his excitement. Here the celebrated former Germany defender, 39, discusses aspirations for next summer's finals, cherished memories of the nation's last home tournament and the immediate challenge for Hansi Flick's current crop.
We're really looking forward to hosting EURO 2024. Staging major tournaments is always extra special and we want to put on a great communal event, where everybody is welcome.
In Germany, we always look back on 2006 and how the World Cup brought us closer together while also providing the opportunity to welcome others to our country. We plan to replicate that, updated for modern times. This is a big chance for Germany, a great opportunity to show what we stand for: That everybody is welcome, that we stand for diversity.
Back in 2006, so many people assembled for public screenings and celebrated together, regardless of where they came from, what their skin colour was or what religion they followed. I was playing, but friends and family still talk to this day about how great it was back then. The people came together, celebrated together and had fun together. That was very special and EURO 2024 offers the chance to do it again.
As tournament director I want to foster a great atmosphere and safe EUROs, a month-long football festival. As a German, I also want to see a great host team still involved come the end of the competition. Germany were knocked out of the last three tournaments prematurely – in the group stage at the last two World Cups and the round of 16 at EURO 2020. Much too early for such a proud football nation. Playing on home turf, though, is a great advantage.
I remember how it can spur you on. The home team has to excite the home crowd first, but then it's a two-way street. It's great to be cheered on, especially if a game is drawing to a close and on a knife-edge. It's really special. For the 2006 World Cup, the first match was against Costa Rica in my home town of Munich – as it is in 2024. I was really lucky to be able to score the first goal in a winning start.
The current squad have to prove themselves in the lead-up to the tournament, they need to do something that can ignite the home crowd and vice versa. It's important that the team finds itself, and goes into it on the crest of a wave. The pressure will be immense, but it's more about the joy. It's such a special opportunity for the players, the team and the country.