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‘Germany hoping for another summer fairytale’

We cannot ignore what is happening off the pitch either, but the backdrop to this whole tournament is very different to the Qatar World Cup in 2022.

There was a difficult debate when Russia were hosts in 2018 as well and then we had the Covid-hit European Championship in 2021, so it is nice to be able to focus more on the football again.

Some of those conversations have not gone away, of course. The whole climate change debate is also part of this tournament and I know the organisers have said they want these to be the most sustainable Euros there has been.

No new stadiums have had to be built, which is a big plus, while fans are encouraged to travel from city to city by train, and teams have been placed in clusters so they only play in certain parts of the country in the group stages and travel times are reduced.

There has also been a declaration by Uefa, the German Football Association and the German government to protect human rights during the tournament. We have a responsibility to do that, as part of the way we want to portray our country to the world.

That was a big part of what made 2006 so special, when we showed everyone that our identity as a nation was to be friendly and welcoming.

We want to do the same thing again, to present ourselves in the best possible way, and show that you can come here to visit and we are great hosts.

But Euro 2024 will come in its own format, with different experiences and especially with the new pictures and videos that we will see. Having social media now means we will get so many side stories that otherwise would never have been told.

I don’t know yet what this tournament will look like or what it will be remembered for, but I can’t wait for it to get started.

I hope we can make it about fans from 23 different countries meeting in Germany, making new friends and having a great time together over the next four weeks. Let the party begin!

Thomas Hitzlsperger was speaking to BBC Sport’s Chris Bevan.

Sourced From BBC

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