Germany ease past Hungary to reach last 16 at Euros, Albania hold Croatia

Sports Jun, 21 2024
Germany ease past Hungary to reach last 16 at Euros, Albania hold Croatia
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STUTTGART: Jamal Musiala and Ilkay Gundogan scored as hosts Germany became the first team to qualify for the last 16 of Euro 2024 after beating Hungary 2-0 in Stuttgart while Albania snatched a stoppage time equaliser for a stunning 2-2 draw against Croatia.

Musiala struck for the second game running midway through the first half, much to the anger of Hungary players who felt a foul should have been awarded in the build-up to the goal. Gundogan grabbed his side’s second on 67 minutes as Germany eased to a second successive win in Group ‘A’, making sure they will progress to the knockout phase at least as one of the best third-placed sides. Julian Nagelsmann’s men can wrap up the top spot when they play Switzerland in Frankfurt in their final group fixture on Sunday. Hungary are staring at elimination after back-to-back defeats and must beat Scotland if they are to stand any chance of reaching the last 16. In Wednesday’s other fixture, Klaus Gjasula proved both hero and villain for Albania, bagging the added time leveller after having earlier netted an own goal that saw Croatia go 2-1 up in the Group ‘B’ clash at the Volksparkstadion.The two countries now have a single point after their opening two matches and are left effectively needing to win their last group games on Monday if they are to progress into the knockout stage. Albania had taken an early lead but the Croats scored twice in the space of two minutes to revive their hopes in a match full of twists and turns and played to a backdrop of ear-splitting noise.Andrej Kramaric grabbed a 74th minute equaliser and then followed an own goal from Gjasula 120 seconds later as an increasingly dominant Croatia, who lost 3-0 to Spain in their opening game, clawed their way back.

They had pounded away at the Albania goal in the second half after looking anxious and frustrated at halftime as their unfancied opponents went into the break ahead. Qazim Laci’s 11th minute header had Albania in an early lead before Gjasula sidefooted into the net with five minutes of additional time already played for a dramatic conclusion to the contest.Portugal win opener, Turkey beats GeorgiaOn Tuesday, Portugal beat the Czech Republic 2-1 to claim a Euro 2024 debut victory but they needed to come from behind with a 92nd-minute winner from youngster Francisco Conceicao.arlier in the section’s other clash, Turkey bested Georgia 3-1 in a pulsating match in Dortmund.Roberto Martinez’s Portugal qualified at a canter with a 100 per cent record, but only just scraped victory in Leipzig in their first match, under driving rain. The Czechs went ahead against the run of play through Lukas Provod’s fine strike from the edge of the box after the hour mark, but Robin Hranac’s own goal soon pulled Portugal level before Conceicao’s winner. Ronaldo was thrice denied by goalkeeper Jindrich Stanek on a record Euros appearance and headed against the post, but was offside. Diogo Jota put the rebound into the net but the goal was disallowed after VAR highlighted Al Nassr striker Ronaldo’s infringement. It did not matter for Portugal in the end as 21-year-old Porto winger Conceicao, son of former Portugal international Sergio Conceicao, struck from close range. Meanwhile, a well-supported Turkey started the Euros in entertaining fashion with an end-to-end win over debutants Georgia. Real Madrid playmaker Arda Guler scored a brilliant goal, along with strikes by Mert Muldur and Kerem Akturkoglu, to delight the masses of Turkish supporters.Mbappe breaks nose, Slovakia stun Belgium. In the Group ‘D’ matches on Monday, Kylian Mbappe came off late with a broken nose as France edged Austria 1-0 in their opening game, after Slovakia inflicted a surprise 1-0 defeat on Belgium and Romania beat Ukraine. France, the runners-up at the 2022 World Cup, did not entirely convince against a hard-running Austria side and needed a Maximilian Woeber own goal to claim the victory. Defender Woeber diverted Mbappe’s cutback into his own net seven minutes before half-time in Duesseldorf to decide the Group ‘D’ game and leave France level on three points at the top of the section with the Netherlands.

Mbappe had to come off in the 90th minute after being left with a bloodied nose in an accidental collision with Austrian defender Kevin Danso. A source close to the France captain confirmed to AFP shortly after the game that his nose was broken. 

Sports Desk
Sports Desk
Daily National Courier is a leading morning English newspaper of twelve pages covering all international and national political developments on 24/7 basis.

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