• Saturday, July 13, 2024
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Euro 2024: Musiala scores as Germany beat Hungary to reach last 16


Hosts Germany became the first team to qualify for the last 16 of Euro 2024 on Wednesday, with Jamal Musiala and Ilkay Gundogan scoring in a 2-0 victory over Hungary in Stuttgart.

Musiala netted for the second consecutive game midway through the first half, despite protests from Hungarian players who believed there was a foul in the buildup.

Gundogan secured Germany’s second goal in the 67th minute, ensuring a second successive win in Group A. The result guaranteed Germany’s progression to the knockout phase, at least as one of the best third-placed teams.

Germany coach Julian Nagelsmann aims to secure the top spot in Group A when they face 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 Nagelsmann. Gundogan added, “It’s just amazing to start a tournament like this.”

Hungary, facing elimination after two defeats, must beat Scotland to have any chance of reaching the last 16. Hungary coach Marco Rossi expressed frustration with the refereeing, stating, “Germany would have won anyway, but the referee was the worst on the pitch.”

Germany retained the same lineup that defeated Scotland 5-1 in their opening match, breaking a streak of losing their first game in the last three major finals. Rossi made two changes following Hungary’s 3-1 loss to Switzerland, introducing Marton Dardai in defense and Bendeguz Bolla at right wing-back.

Hungary nearly scored in the opening seconds as Manuel Neuer intercepted Roland Sallai. Kai Havertz was denied by a superb save from Peter Gulacsi, who deflected the Arsenal attacker’s shot with his right hand. From the resulting corner, Robert Andrich’s volley was headed behind by Bolla, but Germany’s persistence soon paid off. Musiala set up Gundogan, who kept the attack alive, allowing Musiala to score off the crossbar with a touch from Attila Fiola.

Germany’s performance showed creativity and control, earning six points from their first two games and confirming their place in the last 16. A win over Switzerland on Sunday would secure them the top spot in Group A.

For Hungary, the result is a setback following their opening defeat by Switzerland. They must overcome their frustrations and defeat Scotland to have any chance of progressing.

“I’ve never complained in my career as a coach. I’ve never looked for excuses, but what the referee did tonight – I mean, come on,” said Rossi. “Germany would have won anyway because they were better than us, but the referee was the worst on the pitch.”