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Germany 2-0 Hungary: Musiala and Gundogan clinch hosts´ last-16 spot

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 19 Jun 2024

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Germany made it two wins from two games at Euro 2024 by beating Hungary 2-0, overcoming a stern test to book their place in the last 16.

Having had things their own way from the off in a 5-1 rout of Scotland, Germany were put under more pressure by a Hungary side chasing a response to their defeat at the hands of Switzerland.

Marco Rossi’s side created several good chances in front of a nervous crowd in Stuttgart, but they failed to make them count as Jamal Musiala and Ilkay Gundogan scored either side of half-time.

Julian Nagelsmann’s hosts are now assured of a place in the knockout rounds and can win Group A when they face Switzerland on Sunday.

Hungary’s best chance of qualifying, meanwhile, is now as one of the best third-place finishers, with Scotland their opponents on matchday three.

Just 15 seconds had been played when Manuel Neuer was worked for the first time, smothering Roland Sallai’s attempt following some hesitant Germany defending.

The hosts soon got on top, though, and they made their dominance of possession count after 22 minutes. Willi Orban appealed in vain for a foul after being nudged by Gundogan, who teed up Musiala to lash home with Peter Gulacsi grounded.

Neuer then had to remain alert to keep out Dominik Szoboszlai’s free-kick, and Germany survived another massive scare on the stroke of half-time.

Sallai reacted quickest to convert on the rebound after Neuer was forced into action by Orban’s header, only for an offside flag against the RB Leipzig captain to deny Hungary.

Another huge chance went begging for Hungary on the hour mark, Barnabas Varga failing to direct his header on target after being picked out by Sallai’s left-wing cross.

Hungary were punished for their wastefulness seven minutes later, with Maximilian Mittelstadt’s cutback finding Gundogan in space and allowing him to sweep into the bottom-right corner to give the hosts daylight.

Hungary almost got one back late on as Neuer spilled a looping cross, but Joshua Kimmich got back on the line to clear Martin Adam’s shot and preserve the shutout.

Musiala justifies the hype

Having doubled Germany’s lead over Scotland with a powerful finish into the roof of the net last Friday, Musiala put Nagelsmann’s side ahead with a similar strike on Wednesday.

Tipped to play a talismanic role ahead of the tournament, it’s fair to say Musiala is living up to the billing.

At the age of 21 years and 114 days, he has become the second youngest player to ever score on his first two starts at the European Championships, after Ferenc Bene at Euro 1964 (19 years, 186 days).

He is also the youngest player in history to score in a team’s first two group-stage matches at a single edition of the tournament.

Hungary give hosts a scare

While Germany were deeply impressive in their demolition of Scotland, Steve Clarke’s side failed to attempt a shot on target in a miserable performance, leading many to ask how many conclusions could really be drawn from that game.

Hungary certainly put up more of a fight, with their seven first-half shots the joint-most Germany have faced at the Euros since Turkiye attempted 16 against them in 2008.

Their best opportunity, according to the expected goals figures, came after just 15 seconds as Sallai spurned a chance worth 0.36 xG. That would have been the fastest goal in Euros history, surpassing Nedim Bajrami’s 23-second strike against Italy last Saturday.

Poor finishing – as well as three saves from Neuer – cost them, and Germany upped the ante in the second half to pull away.

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