Goretzka Saves Germany, Puts an End to Hungary Fairy Tale

Six minutes before full time, Germany were on the edge of despair, lying with one and a half foot out of Euro 2020. But then Bayern Munich’s midfielder Leon Goretzka saved Die Mannschaft, equalizing for the second time for his side and setting the score at 2-2 against a tenacious Hungary side. 

The Magyars, coached by Italian gaffer Marco Rossi, went inches away from surviving the “Group of Death” and grabbing a sensational qualification to the knockout stage. But holding both France and Germany to a draw didn’t prove enough for them. Hungary were sent packing as their initial 0-3 loss to Portugal proved fatal.  

Still, there is much to save from their European campaign. After decades of disappointing results, Hungary are starting to see the light at the end of the tunnel – even more considering that they were missing their best man, RB Leipzig star Dominik Szoboszlai.  

Germany, on the other hand, grabbed a spot among the Top 16 at the last gasp. All the good things seen against Portugal disappeared tonight as Die Mannschaft appeared a team at the end of a cycle with no renewal in sight. They will need to show much more than what seen tonight as they face England in their Round of 16 game next Tuesday.  

Joachim Low’s side, who featured Leroy Sané on the front line to replace injured Thomas Muller, had an aggressive start but were shocked on 11 minutes as Adam Szalai anticipated Mats Hummels and pushed the ball into the back of the net to draw the Magyars ahead. 

Despite being tested multiple times, the Hungarian wall held until half time. Atalanta’s Robin Gosens missed a favorable chance from a Kai Havertz assist, then Hummels header the ball into the crossbar on 21 minutes. One minute later, center back Matthias Ginter saw his shooting attempt blocked by goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi. 

The Hungarian shot-stopper stole the spotlight again with a fine save from a Kai Havertz long-range shot on 53 minutes, but had much to be forgiven for when the German finally equalized. Gulacsi missed the ball from a Joshua Kimmich free kick and let Hummels to serve Havertz, who only had to push it into the untended goal to put Die Mannschaft back on track. 

The illusion lasted only one minute, however. Germany were brutally punished on the counter as Szalai picked 22-year-old Andras Schafer, who sneaked between Hummels and Sané and headed the ball home, anticipating Manuel Neuer. 

It was a a hard blow that could have shot down any team. But as their traditional focus and organization was not on display tonight (coach Joachim Low seemed desperate as he frantically sent in Thomas Muller, Timo Werner, Kevin Volland, and Jamal Musiala), the Germans somehow pulled it off thanks to a single episode made of determination and a bit of luck.

On 83 minutes, Leon Goretzka served Werned, whose shot was pushed back by the Hungarian defense. However, Goretzka was fast to pounce on the ball and fire it into the back of the net from the edge of the box, leaving Peter Gulacsi with no answer.

The Group of Death ended as expected, with France, Portugal, and Germany qualifying at Hungary’s expense. But nobody was expecting they would all have to fight so hard to overcome and Hungarian side who left the Allianz Arena among a big round of applause.  



June 23, 2021 – European Championship 2020 Group F

SCORERS: 10′ Szalai (H), 66′ Havertz (G), 67′ Schafer (H), 83′ Goretzka (G)

GERMANY (3-4-3): Neuer; Ginter (82′ Volland), Hummels, Rudiger; Kimmich, Gundogan (57′ Goretzka), Kroos, Gosens (82′ Musiala); Gnabry (68′ Werner), Havertz (67′ Muller), Sané Coach: Low
HUNGARY (3-5-2): Gulacsi; Botka, Orban, At. Szalai; Nego, Kleinheisler, Nagy, Schafer, Fiola; Ad. Szalai (82′ Varga), Sallai (75′ Schon) Coach: Rossi

REFEREE: Karasev (Russia)
NOTES: Yellow Card: Botka, Szalai (H), Sané (G); Extra Time: 1st Half 2′, 2nd Half 4′