Germany needed to get 3 points against Hungary to secure qualification into the knockout phase. Die Mannschaft lost their first game in the group to world champions France. They were toothless and lacked creativity against Les Bleus despite dominating with the ball. Their next performance was markedly better as they beat Portugal 4-2. They reminded the world that on their day, they are as good as it gets.
Hungary was thought to be the meat of the group of death. The lowest-ranked team in the group but Marco Rossi’s side is a well-drilled outfit and they frustrated Portugal till minute 80 in their opening group game. However, they suffered a 3-0 loss in the end. Against France, they were just as dogged and resolute. They had more joy this time as they held France to a 1-1 draw. Hungary could also go through with a win or a point depending on other affairs.
Hungary started by blocking off their box as Die Mannschaft probed for an opening. The Hungarians have been dangerous on the counter and they showed Germany why. Rolland Sallai whipped in a wicked ball and the ball fell between Matthias Ginter and Mats Hummels. Adam Szalai treated it with a diving header beyond Manuel Neuer on 11. Minutes later, Havertz drove into the box and set up Serge Gnabry whose effort was blocked. Ginter then had two opportunities to score. The first a toe-poke from a corner but Peter Gulacsi gathered and the other was prevented by the dogged Willi Orban. On 40, Sallai cut in before shooting but Neuer saved it. On the stroke of half-time, Hummels found Leroy Sane who set up Havertz but he couldn’t finish. Half-time, Germany 0-1 Hungary.
Joachim Low switched his side to a back 4 with Joshua Kimmich moving to the middle and Ginter moving to right-back. Hungary had two great opportunities from free-kicks down their left. The first required Manuel Neuer to punch clear before Rolland Sallai crashed his kick into the side of the bar. On 58, Leon Goretzka came on for Ilkay Gundogan and from the moment he came on, he was a nuisance for the Hungarian defense with his runs into the box. Germany continued to probe and got their opportunity. A deep free-kick from Toni Kroos and Peter Gulacsi misjudged the flight of the ball, allowing Mats Hummel to get it back into the danger area. Kai Havertz got an easy chance to head the ball in for the equalizing goal. 66 minutes gone, Germany 1-2 Hungary. Havertz goes off for Timo Werner and Serge Gnabry is off for Thomas Muller.
A minute later, as the game restarted, Hungary regained their lead. The ball was long and Adam Szalai won it and put it just behind a hapless Leroy Sane. Andreas Schafer rushed in to put it behind Neuer. Germany 1-2 Hungary. What a travesty! Germany’s midfield was weak and got bypassed easily. Sallai was replaced by Szabolcs Schon and Szalai by Kevin Varga. Kroos combined delightfully with Gosens before sending his volley wide on 81. Jamal Musiala was on for Robin Gosens and he opened space for Timo Werner to shoot. The Chelsea striker’s shot rebounded to Leon Goretzka who slammed it home to equalize. Germany 2-2 Hungary. What a game! Germany dulled the game and saw it out to qualify from the group of death.
Germany still showed major weaknesses, especially in midfield. They were weak in duels and not sharp enough defensively. They scrape into the next round where they will face England on Tuesday at Wembley. Hungary deserves some appreciation despite crashing out. They stood up to every opponent and made a great impression. Kudos to a very tough side.