Germans survive huge Hungary care to set up England knockout clash

After a flat start to the tournament against France, Germany’s tubthumping win over Portugal meant their task was simple here. Beat Hungary, the supposed whipping boys of this group of death, in Munich and they would be through.

That simple plan was blown wildly off course after just ten minutes.

Roland Sallai found space on the right hand side and whipped a delightful cross in behind Germany’s back three and onto the head of the stooping captain, Adam Szalai whose header was perfectly steered into the bottom corner.

With the rain lashing down, Hungary dragged their hosts into a battle reminiscent of the most cliched third round FA Cup tie.

They were holding their own until a calamitous error from goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi as he flapped at a Toni Kroos free-kick and missed. The ball fell to Mats Hummels who headed goalward where Kai Havertz was waiting to nod in. Germany were saved, for all of 91 seconds.

From kick-off the boisterous visitors went direct, giving everything to beat Germany to the bouncing ball before Sallai flicked it forward for Andras Schafer who put his head in the path of Manuel Neuer’s boot and restored the lead.

Germany were back at square one and out, though Low had sent on Thomas Muller and Timo Werner in an attempt to extend his tenure as manager. Jamal Musiala followed and the former Chelsea academy player sent the ball in from the left, Toni Kroos saw a shot blocked but Leon Goretzka – another sub – drilled an effort home with a slight deflection off Schafer to save his country from another embarrassing early exit.

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