Leon Goretzka’s late goal saves Germany in a dramatic night at Euro 2020

Oh, God. It was called the ‘Group of Death’ for a reason.

With only France already qualified for the knockout stage regardless of the final day result, the dramatic night in Group F featured twists and turns in the standings as Germany, Portugal, and Hungary vying for a spot to progress to the next round.

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Hungary’s impeccable solid defence

After showing an incredible performance by holding the world champion to a 1-1 draw, Hungary pulled off another stunning kick-off against Germany with a brilliant header by Ádám Szalai to put them into the lead just 11 minutes into the game. Germany fans were given yet another hopeless prospect despite the spectacular victory against Portugal last Saturday.

For God’s sake, all we needed was a draw to go through. Instead, the Germans struggled to break through Hungary’s sturdy defence exposing the Nationalmannschaft’s miserably lack of creativity and midfield mediocrity. Toni Kroos and İlkay Gündoğan failed to carry the job in midfield, with no intensity in midfield nor game-changing solution being made in the first half.

Light at the end of the tunnel

In many ways, it sounded uncannily similar to one of those games in which Germany dominated nearly 70% possession yet were unable to score when they had the chance. The team had lost its edge and fierceness shown in the match against Portugal just when they started to restore their fans’ trust. It was somehow unsurprisingly a disappointing performance that we were already looking forward to Hansi Flick taking over.

The repetition of World Cup humiliation three years ago was a must to avoid at European Championships 2020. Germany then found themselves even in the 66th minute through Kai Havertz, who scored his second tournament goal. He gave his team a fighting chance of escaping defeat – which  lasted only for 91 seconds.

Goretzka saved Germany from humiliation

Looking at the more dangerous team, Hungary once again had the lead in the Allianz Arena after András Schäfer raced onto a pass and headed it in from close range. However, it was a massive blunder – through Germany’s leaky defence where they should never have conceded immediately after 1-1, thus landing Germany once again at the bottom of Group F. When they were on the verge of being eliminated in the group stages, the 18-year-old Jamal Musiala came to rescue after being substituted in the 82nd minute.

The Germans had always found their way when they were tested. Musiala’s move from the left flank which later reached Leon Goretzka’s feet after the deflection of Timo Werner’s shot, making no mistake as he added another goal to his tally with Germany. He was undoubtedly at the right place and the right time to help his team secure a place in the Round of 16. They can finally breathe a sigh of relief after navigating the ‘Group of Death’ alive, but certainly with a few scares along the way.

Raumdeuter – everyone’s coach on the pitch

Thomas Müller, who was benched and half-fit due to a knee injury, was thrown into the final group stage game in the second half. His absence was felt throughout as the team lost its x-factor and blatantly grappled in creating space. He doesn’t need to score to make an impact because his intelligence and movement are already exceptional in helping the team progress. The 2010 World Cup Golden Boot winner is everyone’s coach on the pitch. Things emerged much better ahead of the goal when he stepped onto the field.

“But even if he doesn’t play all the time, he is the sort of player who can lead in a difficult situation with his experience and his personality.” – Michael Ballack

Hungary crashed out of the tournament

Hungary strived for three important points, and they were very close to advancing. But alas, they couldn’t hold on a little bit longer as the German midfielder break Hungary’s hearts with the late vital equalizer.

However, their A-class performance should be praised for putting up a good fight against such strong opponents, drawing with France and Germany. The players were admirably good and it wasn’t just a loss. It was truly a glorious defeat which they should and have to be proud of themselves.

The Nationalmannschaft is set to face the Three Lions in the knockout stage at Wembley, where Germany emerged victorious in a penalty shootout in the 1996 semi-final. The clash between these two contenders would definitely be a match that you should n0t miss Tuesday.

Joachim Löw needs to come to his senses by giving Goretkza a start in the upcoming match and more time for Musiala because he’s in a class of his own. True, Germany were lucky, but I believe their determination and perseverance until the final whistle – they deserved to finish second in Group F.

Football is a simple game; 22 men chase a ball for 90 minutes and at the end, the Germans always win. – Gary Lineker

The Author

Sarah Zainal

A Malaysian avid sports enthusiast. Devoted fan of Nationalmannschaft and Bayern München by heart.

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