BERLIN: Germany marked the 100-day countdown to Euro 2024 on Wednesday with a string of events across the country and Chancellor Olaf Scholz holding the official tournament ball.

With millions of visitors expected during the months-long event across 10 German cities, Interior Minister Nancy Faeser said securing the tournament and safeguarding fans and visitors was the top priority.

Scholz and several of his cabinet members including Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock, Economy and Climate Minister Robert Habeck and Finance Minister Christian Lindner took part in the photo shoot with the official ball to mark the countdown.

Germany is hosting its first major international football tournament since the 2006 World Cup, and the Euros, starting on June 14, will be held across 10 cities.

The 2006 World Cup is still fondly remembered in Germany, having triggered an unprecedented wave of enthusiasm at the time with large fan zones across the country and the event dubbed the “summer fairytale”.

“We will have 2.7 million fans in the stadiums and up to 12 million fans in the fan zones of the 10 host cities,” Faeser said.

“Obviously security of the tournament and the visitors and fans is for me the highest priority. We are well prepared.”

The Germans, three-times winners, will kick off the one-month tournament in Munich on June 14 against Scotland, with the final on July 14 at Berlin’s Olympic stadium.

“A Euro on home soil is something very special for every player but also for us at the football association and the entire country,” said German Football Association (DFB) national team director Rudi Voeller.

“As a nation we want to be outstanding hosts for fans from across Europe and celebrate a major football festival.”

########