Conceição scores in stoppage time to get Portugal off to winning start at Euro 2024

DORTMUND/MUNICH: Tens of thousands of Turkish fans dressed in the country’s red flag celebrated ahead of the country’s first Euro 2024 match against neighbors Georgia in Dortmund on Tuesday, creating a festival atmosphere akin to a host nation welcoming the team.
Nearly 3 million people with Turkish roots live in Germany, following a wave of official migration that began in the 1960s. The close ties are reflected in both the German and Turkish soccer teams. Germany captain Ilkay Gundogan has Turkish roots, while Turkiye midfielder Salih Ozcan was born in Cologne and plays for Borussia Dortmund.
Ozcan said the team must capitalize on Turkey’s large population and passionate support in Germany.
Heavy rain and forecast thunderstorms closed Dortmund’s 25,000-capacity fan zone and other huge viewing spots in cities in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany’s most populous state, but fans on their way to stadium fulfilled their promise to make noise. The two fan zones in Berlin were also closed due to bad weather.
“Our hearts beat for Turkey, for home. Of course, Germany is also home for us, but we are Turkish,” said fan Cengiz Catalpinar.
Mehmet Guelcicek drove two days from Zurich, Switzerland to get to Dortmund and watch the game.
“We are Turkish and always with the team.”
Many Turks also celebrated the Muslim festival of Eid Al-Adha, when animals such as sheep are usually sacrificed.
Ugur Aydin went with an inflatable sheep.
“We saved it from the Eid sacrifice festival and we are celebrating our own festival today with a 3-point win over Georgia. And let’s hope the same for the next two games, against Portugal and the Czech Republic,” he said.
Turkiye begin their Euro 2024 campaign against newcomers Georgia, knowing that a winning start in one of the tournament’s weaker groups would give them a strong chance of reaching the knockout stages after disappointing last time out.
In the hot sun of Munich in southern Germany, fans began to stream into the city’s fan zone.
“It’s a big deal for us and it’s great to be in Germany for the tournament, to join the Turkish community here. We are the second host,” said Erdem Sakinc, a 21-year-old student from Ankara studying in Germany.
Meanwhile, Georgia are playing in their first major tournament and are at a disadvantage
Georgia fan Veronika Gogokhia said: “This is a historic moment for our country and our team. This is a debut and all of Georgia, all Georgians around the world are really excited,” she said.
Later on Tuesday at the stadium, about 40 fans from each group of supporters were involved in brief scuffles and police moved in between them, a Reuters reporter inside the stadium said.

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