Germany scores a late goal and draws 1:1 against Switzerland. This makes Germany group winners at the 2024 European Championship

Germany's Kai Havertz (above) jumps for a header as he scores a goal during a Group A match between Switzerland and Germany at the 2024 European Championships in Frankfurt, June 23, 2024.

Germany’s Kai Havertz (above) jumps for a header as he scores a goal during a Group A match between Switzerland and Germany at the 2024 European Championship in Frankfurt, June 23, 2024. | Photo credit: AP

They all jumped after the ball in a hectic last-minute push, saving the German goal from its first defeat at the European Championships against an impressive Swiss team.

Defender Nico Schlotterbeck jumped high, the even more impressive central defender Antonio Rüdiger stretched himself the highest. In front of the two ran substitute Niclas Füllkrug.

Two minutes into stoppage time, the German trio were surrounded by three Swiss players trying to defend their 1-0 lead. Six pairs of feet in the air tried to be the first to head the ball.

It was Füllkrug who won the match, steering the ball from another substitute, David Raum, over Swiss goalkeeper Yann Sommer and into the top corner of the net. The match ended 1-1.

“We took a lot of risks in this phase because we could have conceded a second goal,” said national coach Julian Nagelsmann about the offensive formation of his defenders. “If you don’t take risks, you won’t get a draw.” Germany had already advanced to the round of 16 before kick-off on Sunday, but a draw felt like a win under these circumstances and kept the momentum of the impressive victories against Scotland and Hungary going.

“When you see how the Germans celebrated their goal, it says it all,” said Swiss captain Granit Xhaka, who was named man of the match.

Switzerland impressed by defending a goal from Dan Ndoye’s clever volley in the 28th minute to take a bigger lead. A second goal was denied by a narrow offside decision against Ruben Vargas and a brilliant save from Manuel Neuer to deny Xhaka’s shot.

The two points put Germany first and Switzerland second in Group A. Hungary secured third place in the table by scoring an even later goal in injury time to beat Scotland 1-0 in Stuttgart.

Germany will now travel to Dortmund on Saturday to face the second-placed team in Group C in the round of 16. The opponent could be any of the four teams – England, Slovenia, Denmark or Serbia – who will play their final match in Group C on June 25.

Nagelsmann acknowledged that Germany’s opponents might not like two fewer rest days, but added: “We have to prepare for four teams, they only have to prepare for one team.” Switzerland travel to the Olympic Stadium in Berlin on Saturday to open their round of 16 against the runners-up in Group B, likely Italy or Croatia. They will meet in their decisive group match on June 24.

Coach Murat Yakin said Switzerland had earned the right to cause concern for its unbeaten team to a higher-ranked opponent.

“I think we have achieved a certain status that we have worked hard for. We are on the right track,” said Yakin, “undefeated, with a very good style of play. We like to be the surprise candidate.” Switzerland’s goal came in Bologna, the up-and-coming Italian club that has qualified for the Champions League for the first time next season.

Ndoye timed his run well to meet a pass from his Bologna teammate Remo Freuler in front of goal. The attack began when Fabian Rieder, making his first start since the 2022 World Cup, won the ball in the German half and then passed it to Freuler.

A video review had denied Germany a lead in the 17th period. Robert Andrich’s long-range shot bounced high and over Sommer’s dive, but the VAR team alerted the Italian referee Daniele Orsato to a previous foul by Jamal Musiala in goal.

The much-criticized playing surface of the Waldstadion behaved better on June 23 and the roof remained closed for protection, although no further rain is forecast for at least five days.

The turf was cut up during the previous two games of the 2024 European Championship in Frankfurt and does not appear to have settled properly since it was laid in November after the stadium hosted two NFL games.

Two more matches will be played in Frankfurt, with a final round of 16 in which the winner of Group F, Portugal, may face Hungary, who will have to wait three days to find out their opponent.

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