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Germany coach Nagelsmann raises risk of serious injuries on slippery Frankfurt field at Euro 2024

FRANKFURT, Germany (AP) — Germany coach Julian Nagelsmann is anxious about players getting serious injuries on Sunday in Frankfurt on the slippery turf that was laid several months ago after NFL games in the stadium.

Nagelsmann raised the risk of ACL injuries when Germany plays Switzerland needing to avoid defeat to confirm finishing top of Group A at the European Championship.

The Waldstadion field in rainy Frankfurt cut up badly in two previous games at Euro 2024 — Belgium’s 1-0 loss to Slovakia then a 1-1 draw between England and Denmark, who played under a closed roof.

“I’m not worried about the footballing aspect, more about the danger of injury to the players,” Nagelsmann said on Saturday in translated comments.

“Players such as (Jude) Bellingham we saw had problems and they risked serious injury. If you slip you really risk getting injured,” the Germany coach said of the England star who had a subdued game on Thursday.

Nagelsmann said he also noticed England midfielder Declan Rice also slipping “and there were some very risky situations."

It is not a new concern for Nagelsmann about a turf field that replaced a hybrid surface brought in for two NFL games seven months ago. In Frankfurt, the Kansas City Chiefs beat the Miami Dolphins one week before the Indianapolis Colts beat the New England Patriots.

Turf was then restored for Eintracht Frankfurt games ahead of the winter, and the stadium also hosted the German national team in March, for a 2-1 win in a friendly against the Netherlands.

That evening, Nagelsmann called the surface a “catastrophe,” and on Saturday said it “has not improved a lot. It’s a bit of a tricky situation.”

Switzerland coach Murat Yakin made a joke of the subject when asked, because his players also had turf issues at their tournament training base in Stuttgart. A formal complaint to UEFA led to a new field being laid this week.

“You’ve noticed we have trained for a week on a terrible training pitch,” Yakin said on Saturday, “and that could be beneficial for us.”

The Frankfurt stadium is not yet halfway through its five-game Euro 2024 duty. It hosts Slovakia vs. Romania in a decisive group-stage game on Wednesday, and a round-of-16 game on July 1 likely involving Portugal.

UEFA has a supply of turf fields in reserve, typically in the Netherlands, and has installed replacement fields in mid-tournament at Lille, France in 2016 and Basel, Switzerland in 2008.

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AP Euro 2024: https://apnews.com/hub/euro-2024

Graham Dunbar, The Associated Press