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Friday July 12, 2024

Germany ease past Hungary to reach last 16 at Euros

By AFP
June 21, 2024
The goalscorers of Germany Ilkay Gündoğan (L) and Jamal Musiala shake hands after the UEFA EURO 2024 Group A match between Germany and Hungary, Stuttgart, Germany, June 19, 2024. — EPA
The goalscorers of Germany Ilkay Gündoğan (L) and Jamal Musiala shake hands after the UEFA EURO 2024 Group A match between Germany and Hungary, Stuttgart, Germany, June 19, 2024. — EPA 

STUTTGART: Jamal Musiala and Ilkay Gundogan scored as hosts Germany became the first team to qualify for the last 16 of Euro 2024 on Wednesday after beating Hungary 2-0 in Stuttgart.

Musiala struck for the second game running midway through the first half, much to the anger of Hungary players who felt a foul should have been awarded in the build-up to the goal. Gundogan grabbed his side´s second on 67 minutes as Germany eased to a second successive win in Group A, making sure they will progress to the knockout phase at least as one of the best third-placed sides.

Julian Nagelsmann´s men can wrap up top spot when they play Switzerland in Frankfurt in their final group fixture on Sunday. “We want to be first in our group. That´s important because we want to win every game,” said the Germany coach.

“It´s just amazing to start a tournament like this,” added Gundogan. Hungary are staring at elimination after back-to-back defeats and must beat Scotland if they are to stand any chance of reaching the last 16.

“In my perspective Germany would have won anyways, but the referee was the worst on the pitch,” lamented Hungary coach Marco Rossi. Germany unsurprisingly stuck with the same line-up that battered Scotland 5-1 in the first game of the tournament, ending a run of three major finals in which they had lost their opening match.

Rossi made two changes following Hungary´s disappointing 3-1 loss to Switzerland, bringing Marton Dardai into his three-man defence and starting Bendeguz Bolla at right wing-back. A dismal first half left Hungary with too much to do against the Swiss and Rossi admitted beating Germany would require a “perfect match” from his team.

Hungary almost struck in the opening seconds as Manuel Neuer raced out to take the ball off the toe of Roland Sallai. Kai Havertz outmuscled Willi Orban only to be superbly denied by Peter Gulacsi, who thrust out his right hand to deny the Arsenal attacker.

Robert Andrich´s volley from the resulting corner was bravely headed behind by Bolla, but it wasn´t long until Germany´s persistence was rewarded. Musiala cushioned the ball through for Gundogan and the Germany captain kept the attack alive after jostling with Orban, knocking it back for Musiala to slam in off the crossbar with a touch off Attila Fiola.

Hungary were furious no foul was given for the contact between Gundogan and Orban that knocked the defender to the ground, the goal confirmed after a brief VAR check. Dominik Szoboszlai´s curling free-kick drew a terrific stop from Neuer soaring to his right, the goalkeeper kicking away the follow-up as Hungary tried to scramble in the rebound.

Scotland show courage to keep Euro 2024 hopes alive

Ag AFP

Scotland were unable to claim a first major tournament victory in 28 years against Switzerland on Wednesday, but they bounced back from a humbling loss to Germany to record a 1-1 draw which keeps their chances of reaching the last 16 of Euro 2024 alive.

As much as Steve Clarke´s team were dismal in their 5-1 defeat against the hosts in Munich in the tournament´s opening game, they were mature and courageous in holding the Swiss in Cologne.

Facing a much more experienced side, Scotland went ahead early on when Manchester United´s Scott McTominay -- their top scorer in qualifying -- swept home Callum McGregor´s cutback on a counter-attack.