Munich, June 24 (IANS) Deputy Leon Goretzka scored the latter equalizer and secured Germany a place in the last 16 after a 2-2 draw with the resilient Hungary in the Football Arena Munich here.
The Germans took the reins from the start and were able to keep Hungary’s defense busy during the opening period on Wednesday.
Hungary’s defense was able to absorb Germany’s pressure and frustrated the hosts with the opener towards the match, as Adam Szalai headed a long ball into the penalty area in the 11th minute, reports Xinhua.
Germany remained in control but failed to create dangerous chances in the final third against Hungary’s bulwark.
In the 21st minute, Germany gradually reaped their first promising chance after Mats Hummels headed into the crossbar from close range. It remained Germany’s only notable chance against the deeply defending visitors.
After the break, Germany took over again, but Kai Havertz’s effort on goal was an easy task for Hungary’s goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi in the 52nd minute.
Germany head coach Joachim Low responded and fielded Thomas Muller, Timo Werner, Jamal Musiala and Kevin Volland. Low’s substitution paid off in the dying minutes of the game as Musiala’s build-up and Werner’s blocked shot landed in the way of Goretzka, who made no mistake and scored the decisive equalizer after putting the rebound past Gulacsi.
With the draw, Germany got their berth in the round of 16, while Hungary crashed out of the tournament.
“I am very proud that we performed as we did, but I am disappointed to fall short. We have played ever so well. We can not complain; we are proud of how we have played, ”said Hungarian midfielder Roland Sallai.
“Of course we are relieved. We fell twice afterwards and had to run behind a deficit. Of course, it is not easy against a deeply defending opponent. It was a thriller until the last whistle, “said Germany captain and goalkeeper Manuel Neuer.
France (5 points) finished at the top of Group F, followed by Germany, Portugal (both 4 points) and Hungary (2 points).
akm / in