A night of unbelievable drama was played out at the Allianz Arena in Munich on Wednesday night as Hungary almost caused the shock of the tournament by sending Germany home from Euro 2020 without qualifying from the group stages.
Germany has never failed to qualify from the group stages of any major tournament but they were within 11 minutes of doing so, ironically in Joachim Low’s last tournament in charge of the team, before substitute Leon Goretzka’s strike in the 83rd minute gave them a 2-2 draw and second place in the group.
To categorise Hungary as gallant losers would do them an injustice, as they were truly magnificent throughout the game, displaying extraordinary levels of skill, fitness and desire as they more than matched their more vaunted opponents in all facets of the game.
There was very heavy rain in Munich at the start of the game but it did not deter Marco Rossi’s side as, after absorbing some early German pressure, they took the lead with an exquisite goal in the 10th minute.
Midfield playmaker Roland Sallai’s curled a superb ball between two German defenders from wide on Hungary’s right and centre forward and captain Adam Salazai got between the defenders and directed his header downwards and out of the reach of Manual Neuer in the German goal.
Germany had 70% of the possession in the first half but they seemed shell shocked after the concession of the goal and were generally very laboured in their build up play and had very few chances, their best chance being a Mats Hummel header which came off the cross bar after a Kai Havertz corner kick in the 20th minute.
The result in the other Group F match in Budapest was being monitored closely as its outcome was also critical to the final placings in this so called Group of Death, and at various stages throughout the game Germany was in fourth, third and second position.
The drama was at its most intense in a one minute period between the 66th and 67th minutes.
Kai Havertz headed the ball into the net for a German equaliser in the 66th minute, a mistake by Hungarian keeper Peter Gulacsi contributing to that goal, but straight from the kick off Hungary manoeuvred the ball up the field and Andras Schafer got between Neuer and Leroy Sane to head the ball into an empty net.
It was now 2-1 to Hungary and Germany was looking at an early exit from the tournament.
Low made some vital substitutions in the closing stages of the match, and three of them were instrumental in getting Germany the equaliser in the 83rd minute. 18- year -old Jamal Musiala and Chelsea’s Timo Werner combined to set up Leon Goretska for a fine strike from the edge of the box that Gulasci had no chance of saving.
Germany now move on to take on England in a last 16 knock out game in Wembley next Tuesday June 29th.
Germany: Neuer (gk), Ginter (Volland, 81), Hummels, Rudiger; Kimmich, Gundogan (Goretzka, 56) Kroos, Gosens (Muisiala, 81) Havertz (Werner, 67), Gnabry (Muller, 67), Sane
Subs not used: Leno (gk), Trapp (gk); Gunter, Halstenberg, Klostermann, Koch, Sule, Can, Hofmann, Newhaus.
Booked: Gundogan (29), Sane (61)
Hungary: Gulacsi (gk); Botka, Orban, At. Szalai, Nagy; Nego, Kleinheisler (Lovrencsics, 88) Schafer, Fiola (Nikolic, 88) Adam Szalai (R Varga,82) Sallai (Schon, 72)
Subs not used: Dibusz(gk), Bogdan(gk); Lang, Kecskes, Bolla, Siger, Holender, Adam Szalai, K Varga, Hahn.
Booked: Botka (27).
Referee: Sergei Karasev (Russia)
Extratime.com Player of the Match: Adam Szalai (Hungary)