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Germany v Hungary: Neuer calls on Euro 2024 hosts to stay grounded

SoccerNews in General Soccer News 17 Jun 2024

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Manuel Neuer has called on Germany to stay grounded after their flying start to Euro 2024, warning Wednesday’s clash with Hungary in Stuttgart will be a step up.

Germany recorded the biggest ever win in the opening game of a European Championship last Friday, thumping Scotland 5-1 with Florian Writz, Jamal Musiala, Kai Havertz, Niclas Fullkrug and Emre Can all on target.

It was also Germany’s largest victory at the Euros, as they underlined their credentials after a turbulent build-up to their home tournament.

They will be heavily favoured against a Hungary side well beaten by Switzerland in their first game, but Neuer – who is playing at his eighth major tournament – says Julian Nagelsmann’s squad will not get carried away.

“The trust is what’s important and the trust among us as team-mates and the coaching staff is very high,” Neuer said on Monday.

“We have started preparations for the Hungary game and the focus and concentration is increasing.

“Against Scotland we dominated from the start. We scored after 10 minutes and that did us a lot of good, but we have our feet on the ground.

“We have some self-confidence now but Hungary will be a different level. This is a warning for us and we will not underestimate them.”

If Neuer appears at another game at these Euros, he will pass Hugo Lloris outright for the appearance record among goalkeepers at World Cups and European Championships combined. The duo are currently level with 35 apiece.

Hungary were distinctly second best in their 3-1 defeat to Switzerland on matchday one and may need a result against the hosts to have a realistic chance of progressing.

Coach Marco Rossi knows they face a mighty task, claiming Germany are favourites to win the tournament.

“I dare anybody to bet one Hungarian Forint on us. As of today that looks impossible,” Rossi said.

“Germany are a different team than the last Euros, they proved it against Scotland. In my opinion, they are the biggest favourites for the European Championship.”

Reflecting on the Switzerland defeat, he added: “We had some shortcomings in individual performances.

“There aren’t many strategies to stop individual mistakes. It’s hard to say anyone did well apart from two or three performances.”

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Germany – Toni Kroos

Kroos began his final tournament with a metronomic performance against Scotland, completing 101 of his 102 passes for the highest pass completion rate (99 per cent) of any player to ever attempt 100 passes at a Euros match.

He also made 31 line-breaking passes in that match – more than any Scotland player completed passes in total, with Kieran Tierney leading the way with 30.

Hungary – Barnabas Varga

Varga briefly got Hungary back into the game against Switzerland, and he now has seven goals in just nine starts for his country across all competitions.

Should he find the net on Wednesday, he would become just the second Hungarian to score on his first two European Championship appearances, after Ferenc Bene in 1964.

MATCH PREDICTION – GERMANY WIN

Given the rampant nature of Germany’s victory over Scotland, it is difficult to look past them in their second match.

Hungary have only kept one clean sheet in their 12 total matches at the Euros, in a 2-0 win over Austria back in 2016. They have conceded the opening goal in seven of those 12 games, going on to lose on six of those seven occasions (one draw).

They are also without a win in seven European Championship games and could lose two matches at a single edition of the tournament for just the second time, after 1972.

Germany, meanwhile, had five different goalscorers last time out, more than they had in the entirety of Euro 2020 (three). Only in 1996, 2016 (both six) and 2012 (eight) have they had more at a single edition of the finals (excluding own goals).

Nagelsmann’s team are strong favourites to win their first two matches at a fifth edition of the Euros, after doing so in 1972, 1980, 1996 and 2012.

They won the trophy on three of those previous four occasions, only falling short when they exited in the semi-finals in 2012.

OPTA WIN PROBABILITY

Germany – 71.2%

Hungary – 12.1%

Draw – 16.6%

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SoccerNews

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