Euro 2024: Germany moves confidently into the knockout round with 2-0 win against Hungary

German player Jamal Musiala will face Hungary at the 2024 European Championship in Stuttgart on 19 June 2024

German player Jamal Musiala will score against Hungary at the 2024 European Championship in Stuttgart Arena on June 19, 2024 | Photo credit: Reuters

Ilkay Gündogan set up a goal for Jamal Musiala and then scored himself to give Germany a comfortable 2-0 win over Hungary in Group A on Wednesday, making the host nation the first team to qualify for the knockout phase of Euro 2024.

With two wins from two games, the Germans are sure to finish at least in the top four third-placed teams. If Scotland fail to beat Switzerland on Wednesday, they will finish in the top two of the group.

This scenario would also prevent Hungary from finishing in the top two.

Musiala, who plays in his hometown, put the Germans ahead in the 22nd minute after Gündogan nudged the ball into his path following a terrible defensive performance from Hungary, and the 21-year-old didn’t need to be asked twice, hammering the ball past a defender and into the net.

In first-half stoppage time, a goal by Roland Sallai was disallowed for Hungary and the Hungarians wasted a number of other good chances before Gündogan scored with a simple finish in the 67th minute after a clinical build-up to become man of the match.

Although few people were betting against the home team, it was actually Germany’s first competitive win over Hungary since the 1954 World Cup final. It was the first of four German world championship titles, and fans are now dreaming of witnessing a fourth European Championship triumph on home soil.

“You can feel the people’s euphoria when you see them. The atmosphere is good and it’s fun to be here,” said goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.

“Germany is always one of the favorites, but we have to do our homework. Next we play against the strongest team in our group.”

Feverish atmosphere

Before the eyes of German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban, the match began in a feverish atmosphere; thousands of fans had spent the day celebrating in Stuttgart.

Hungary coach Marco Rossi said on the eve of the match that his team could not afford any mistakes. But that is exactly what they did after 22 minutes.

Defender Willi Orban tried to shoulder-bump Gündogan in his own penalty area, but got the better of him and fell to the ground. The German captain was then able to play the ball back to Musiala, who shot it past defender Attila Fiola into the goal while several Hungarian players had stopped and called for a foul.

The VAR confirmed the goal after a brief review.

The Hungarian reaction was good: Neuer had to dive into the top corner shortly afterwards to fend off a free kick from Dominik Szoboszlai.

Then, just before half-time, they thought they had equalised when Sallai headed in a rebound, but the goal was disallowed for offside. And after half-time, they had another chance to equalise when Barnabas Varga headed over the bar.

But the Germans continued to apply pressure, with Musiala in particular continuing to pose a threat to the Hungarian defence. He was also involved in the build-up when Gündogan doubled the lead in the 67th minute, netting a low cross from Maximilian Mittelstadt.

“We are getting better, but as we improve we also have to overcome some problems. This game today showed that, especially in the first half. But that’s the tournament – you have to get through these situations. We got through it and then fought back,” said the 33-year-old Gündogan.

Germany managed to keep the ball and run down the clock, securing its place in the next round ahead of its final group match against Switzerland on Sunday.

Hungary could still advance if they beat Scotland and the other results go in their favour.

“We made a few mistakes, but in football mistakes happen, you can make mistakes. Teams like Germany and other world-class teams play better than us, we know that. I would say Germany are possibly the biggest favorites to win the European Championship,” said Rossi.

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