UEFA soccer matches get underway

Soccer is back on the world stage as the Union of European Football Association Euro 2024 competition gets underway. The tournament started with Germany hosting Scotland.

The game drew crowds overseas and in San Francisco. The tournament started with gameplay in Munich, Germany. 

Despite being 5,800 miles away, fans of Germany and Scotland packed into Kezar Pub in San Francisco to watch top-tier soccer.

Germany went into the match as one of the top-rated teams and has had wins the last three times they've faced Scotland, so Scotland was the clear underdog here. But, on the pitch, anything can happen. 

"Scotland doesn't make a lot of big tournaments very often," said Scotland fan Alistair Nee. "I think the last Euros was the last big tournament that they made in 25, 30 years something like that.  So, it's really good to see them on the big stage…I think we can pull off the upset and I just want to see a solid performance against Germany today."

But, it didn't take long for Germany to jump out to an early lead. 

"I'm into European soccer, obviously I'm into German soccer," said Germany fan Robert Eisert while watching the action. "…I think this is a good tournament for Germany to re-establish themselves as a world soccer power which they haven't been for about 10 years."

Steve and Lisa Walton are in the Bay Area from England and say even though England wasn't playing today, there was plenty of reason to tune in. 

"Traditionally, if you think of England, the rivalries are Scotland and Germany over the years," said Steve Walton. "So, these are key rivals for us. We kind of don't know who to root on this particular one."

The game is only growing in popularity here in the U.S., while it's already inspired generations of dedicated fans overseas. 

"We watch a team that is not in the Premiership, they're below," said Lisa Walton. "They're called the West Bromwich Albion. So, we go there every Saturday, every home game and most away games as well."

Cyril Hackett owns Kezar Pub and says as one of the city's premier sports bars, he welcomes UEFA fans and says they're great for business. 

"Yes, it certainly is good for the bottom line," said Hackett. "Create quite a climate for all our staff. We have probably about 12 staff working here today. So, normally that'd be down to about four people, but we had to bump up for this event because we knew it was going to be a big day."

Germany came away with a 5-1 win. UEFA play is just getting underway with matches scheduled until July 14.