Lackadaisical, idealess and without any clear attacking direction, Germany still managed to dramatically avoid an early Euro 2020 exit after Leon Goretzka’s 84th-minute strike salvaged a 2-2 draw with Hungary in Munich on Wednesday night.
It was never going to be easy in the group of death, but no one could’ve predicted Hungary’s ability to take points off both France and Germany to hugely alter the shape of the group.
With the rain pouring down at Allianz Arena and supporters fleeing for the covered parts of the stands, it was Hungary that struck first in the 11th minute. Ádám Szalai’s header was perfectly directed, but the cross from Roland Sallai was even better.
SZALAIHUNGARY SHOCK GERMANY FIRST pic.twitter.com/ODHcNS1HqM
— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) June 23, 2021
Germany suddenly faced elimination as Group F’s fourth-place team.
That’s how we entered halftime and Hungary deserved it — not because they played exceptionally better than Germany, but because Joachim Löw’s side simply failed to show up.
Leroy Sané and Serge Gnabry were unable to disrupt Hungary’s defensive solidity on the dribble, the midfield pairing of Toni Kroos and İlkay Gündoğan yielded zero understanding and Kai Havertz was in his Premier League form.
However, it was Havertz who briefly pulled Germany level in the 66th minute after Hungary keeper Péter Gulácsi went on a walkabout.
— TUDN USA (@TUDNUSA) June 23, 2021
That goal put Germany through to the Round of 16 for something like 45 seconds. While ESPN was still showing us replays of the goal, Szalai fed András Schäfer to restore Hungary’s advantage.
Derek Rae and Efan Ekoku had zero clue what was happening, and watching them stumble through the replay was entertaining.
HUNGARY ARE DOING THE UNTHINKABLE pic.twitter.com/8AjYmpOaqJ— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) June 23, 2021
Facing a wave of crosses that Hungary wasn’t overly troubled by, Germany’s demise looked likely as we passed the 80-minute mark. But it wasn’t to be as Goretzka fired home and celebrated with a purposeful hand heart at the Hungary contingent.
Leon Goretzka Goal vs Hungary
GORETZKA MIGHT'VE SAVED GERMANY pic.twitter.com/2WfJXrWysY— ESPN FC (@ESPNFC) June 23, 2021
Hungary moved to the bottom of the group, and Germany ascended to second. That means they’ll play England at Wembley on Tuesday, June 29. It doesn’t get any better than that.