Euro 2024: Improved Hungary Make Germany Work for 2-0 Win

  • 20 Jun 2024 8:56 AM
Euro 2024: Improved Hungary Make Germany Work for 2-0 Win
Goals by Jamal Musiala and Ilkay Gundogan sent Germany through to the Euro 2024 knockout stages, but they were made to work extremely hard for their Group A victory against a spirited and purposeful Hungary in Stuttgart on Wednesday evening.

Hungary head coach Marco Rossi opted to make two changes to the lineup which lost to Switzerland last Saturday, Márton Dárdai and Bendegúz Bolla replacing Ádám Lang and Attila Szalai. Péter Gulácsi continued in goal ahead of Dénes Dibusz and a three-man rearguard of Márton Dárdai, Willi Orbán and Attila Szalai supported a four-man midfield of, from right to left, Bendegúz Bolla, Ádám Nagy, András Schäfer and Milos Kerkez.

The three forwards seeking to fire Hungary to their first points of the tournament were playmakers Roland Sallai and captain Dominik Szoboszlai behind central striker Barnabás Varga.

Hungary were on the front foot from the very outset, Germany goalkeeper
Manuel Neuer needing to react quickly to beat Sallai to the ball just eight metres from goal within the first 25 seconds of the game.

Germany were finding it difficult to break down a resolute Hungary defence and it took a huge slice of luck to help the home team into the lead, a shove in the back of Willi Orbán by Ilkay Gundogan deep in Hungary's penalty area deemed not to be a foul and the Barcelona midfielder tapping the ball to Jamal Musiala who blasted the ball into the Hungary net via the thigh of Fiola and the crossbar.

That was in the 22nd minute but Rossi's charges refused to buckle and instead responded in belligerent style, Szoboszlai testing Neuer with a fabulous 25-metre free-kick which the veteran keeper could only palm out, but the angle was too tight for Varga to convert on the follow-up.

Moments later, a rapid counter-attack saw Kerkez release the Hungary captain in on goal, but defender Jonathan Tah produced a crucial, last-ditch block to preserve the hosts' lead.

While Germany had the majority of possession, Hungary continued to attack with thrust and vigour when possible and in first-half added time, they thought their efforts had been rewarded, but Orbán's flick-on from Szoboszlai's free-kick was ruled offside, rendering meaningless Sallai's subsequent header into the net after Orbán's effort had the post.

The visitors continued to press hard in the second period, Varga seeing his header back across goal flash just over the crossbar from Sallai's delicious left-wing cross.

The game was opening up all over the pitch though and that meant Germany With their slick movement of the ball became ever more dangerous.

Eventually, their ability and pressure told, a fine passing move in the 67th minute concluding when Maximilian Mittelstädt crossed low for Gundogan to sweep the ball first-time into the bottom-right corner of Hungary's net and double his team's lead. 

Hungary never gave up trying to get back into the game, Germany having Joshua Kimmich to thank for a 90th-minute goalline clearance from Orbán's instinctive effort during a goalmouth meleé, but despite their best efforts, there was to be no further change to the scoreiine.  

While Germany now top the group with two wins from two and are assured of progress to the knockout stagesof Euro 2024, Hungary must hope they can beat Scotland on Sunday evening in Stuttgart and become one of the four best 3rd-placed teams which will reach the last 16 of the competition.

Germany 2–0 Hungary (HT:1–0)
Stuttgart, 54 000 spectators. Ref: Danny Makkelie (Assistants: Hessel Steegstra, Jan de Vries) – all from Netherlands

GERMANY: Neuer − Kimmich, Rüdiger, Tah, Mittelstädt − Andrich (Can, 72), Kroos − Musiala (Führich, 72), Gündogan (Undav, 84), Wirtz (Sané, 58) − Havertz (Füllkrug, 58). Head coach: Julian Nagelsmann

HUNGARY: Gulácsi – Fiola, Orbán, Dárdai M. – Bolla (Ádám, 75), Nagy Á. (Kleinheisler, 64), Schäfer, Kerkez (Nagy Zs., 75) – Sallai (Csoboth, 87), Szoboszlai – Varga B. (Gazdag, 87). Head coach: Marco Rossi

Goalscorers: Musiala (22), Gündogan (67)

Yellow cards: Varga B. (23), Rüdiger (27), Mittelstädt (89), Szoboszlai (90+3), Rossi (90+3)

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