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Germany ease past Hungary to reach last 16 at Euros

Germany secured their place in the Euro 2024 round of 16 on Wednesday with a 2-0 victory over Hungary in Stuttgart, becoming the first team to do so.

Jamal Musiala scored for the second consecutive game midway through the first half, a goal that sparked controversy as Hungary players protested a potential foul in the build-up.

Ilkay Gundogan doubled Germany’s lead in the 67th minute, ensuring their second consecutive win in Group A and confirming their progression to the knockout phase, possibly as one of the best third-placed teams. Julian Nagelsmann’s squad can clinch the top spot in the group with a victory over Switzerland in their final group match on Sunday.

Hungary, on the other hand, face elimination after suffering back-to-back defeats. They must defeat Scotland in their final group match to have any chance of advancing to the round of 16.

Germany maintained their winning lineup from the 5-1 victory over Scotland in their tournament opener, a result that ended a streak of three major finals where they had lost their opening match. Hungary’s coach, Marco Rossi, made two changes following their 3-1 loss to Switzerland, including Marton Dardai and Bendeguz Bolla in the starting lineup.

The match started with high intensity, with Hungary nearly scoring in the opening seconds as Manuel Neuer made a crucial interception against Roland Sallai. Germany’s Kai Havertz was then denied by Peter Gulacsi after a strong effort, while Robert Andrich’s volley was cleared off the line by Bolla.

Germany eventually broke the deadlock when Musiala’s shot deflected off Attila Fiola and into the net, although Hungary contested the goal due to a collision between Gundogan and Orban just before the goal.

Hungary pushed for an equalizer with Dominik Szoboszlai’s free-kick saved brilliantly by Neuer, who also denied the subsequent rebound. Jonathan Tah made a crucial block to deny Hungary another chance before halftime, while Sallai had a goal disallowed for offside.

In the second half, Germany continued their dominance as Gundogan scored from Maximilian Mittelstaedt’s assist to extend their lead. Hungary’s efforts to rally were thwarted by Gulacsi’s saves, including stops against Joshua Kimmich and Leroy Sane.

Nagelsmann opted to rest key players in the closing stages, ensuring their readiness for the crucial clash against Switzerland. Neuer had a nervous moment late in the game but was bailed out by Kimmich clearing Orban’s shot off the line, preserving Germany’s first clean sheet in eight European Championship games.

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