Euro 2020: Germany salvages late 2-2 draw against Hungary to make last 16 cut

With coach Joachim Loew throwing on substitutes to gain the point needed to progess to the last 16, Goretzka's strike provided Germany with the late life-line.

Germany players celebrate after scoring the equaliser on Wednesday.   -  REUTERS

A late Leon Goretzka goal salvaged a 2-2 draw for Germany against Hungary on Wednesday night, in a whip-saw contest that sets the Germans up for a June 29 Round of 16 match against England at Wembley.

The Germans were teetering on the brink another shock tournament exit after Adam Szalai's diving header in the 11th minute had put Hungary in front.

Kai Havertz eventually drew Germany level in the 66th minute, only for Hungary to retake the lead seconds after the re-start as Andras Schaefer ran onto a pass and headed in.

Goretzka bagged the crucial equaliser in the 84th minute to send Germany through in second place behind France in Group F on four points.

MATCH HIGHLIGHTS

"We made mistakes but we fought, showed character," said Germany coach Joachim Loew. "It was not for the faint-hearted. At the end to come through this group was good and that was the aim."

"What matters is that we are through. Now we play with England and we can look forward to that match," he said. "It is an absolute highlight to play at Wembley against England. We will be a different team than tonight, I can promise you that."



The run-up to the game had been overshadowed by UEFA's refusal to allow the stadium to be lit in rainbow colours to oppose a Hungarian anti-LGBTQ law, and a protester waving a rainbow flag invaded the pitch ahead of kickoff.

It was all business for the host once the whistle was blown, however, as it was desperate to avoid a repeat of its 2018 World Cup debacle, with Joshua Kimmich testing keeper Peter Gulacsi after three minutes.

READ: EURO 2020: France tops Group F, Portugal squeezes into last 16 after 2-2 draw

HUNGARY LEAD

But it was the Hungarians who then stunned the home crowd with Szalai's diving header.

The Germans had close to 70% possession in the first half and Mats Hummels hit the crossbar with a powerful header, but other than that the side showed little of the attacking spark it demonstrated in its 4-2 win over Portugal.

Germany, which had never gone out at the group stage of consecutive major tournaments, showed nerves as their game gradually became more and more scrappy.

It was also a scrappy goal that brought the Germans level, with Gulacsi failing to connect with a Kimmich free-kick, Hummels heading the ball on and Havertz nodding in.

READ: Euro 2020: Lewandowski's Poland knocked out by table-topper Sweden

But as the German fans celebrated in the stands, Hungary scored straight after the restart, with Szalai lofting the ball into the German half and Schaefer lunging forward and heading it past keeper Manuel Neuer.

With Hungary defending desperately to protect their spot in the knockout stages, Toni Kroos tried his luck from a tight angle but his effort flashed wide.

The German pressure finally paid off in the 84th when substitute Jamal Musiala cut the ball in the box and fellow substitute Goretzka drilled it home to avoid another tournament fiasco for the Germans and set up a mouth-watering round of 16 match against England at Wembley.

For Hungary it was a bitter end to the tournament.

"It is difficult to find words," Gulacsi said. "We played a good game, Germany dominated but we scored two goals. We were unlucky. This is very bitter."

For more updates, follow Sportstar on :