Germany 2-0 Hungary: Hosts set for Euro 2024 knockouts after nervy victory

Germany are set for the Euro 2024 knockouts after beating Hungary 2-0 in Stuttgart.

Jamal Musiala took advantage of hesitant defending to put the hosts ahead but this was not the sort of performance which saw them bury Scotland 5-1 last week. Hungary had a goal disallowed and Barnabas Varga missed a huge chance before Ilkay Gundogan’s strike settled nerves.

The big question of Germany following their rout of Scotland was whether they had the quality of true contenders or whether they had simply put in a decent display against a terrible team, although few had tipped Hungary to do much better.

Any doubts of the Magyars were put to bed inside 15 seconds when the hosts flapped at a long ball and Roland Sallai’s toe-poke at goal was hastily shut down by Manuel Neuer at close range.

Germany soon took control of possession and gently probed, although their best chances came with more direct play as Kai Havertz hustled Willi Orban off the ball to force a super stop from Peter Gulacsi before Musiala’s breakthrough on 22 minutes.

Orban looked to have dealt with a dink towards Gundogan before going down under pressure deemed too slight by the referee - and, in due course, VAR - before Gulacsi and his defence froze to allow the Barcelona man to pick out Musiala and slam home his second of the tournament.

Hungary didn’t fade as a result however and Dominik Szoboszlai’s free-kick was questionably parried downwards by Neuer only moments later, before Germany scrambled the ball clear.

The hosts maintained solid control of the ball and Musiala went close late in the half amid a growing sense that a second goal was necessary, as proven by Szoboszlai’s free-kick being flicked on and finished at the far post by Sallai - only for the offside flag to save them.

That Germany needed a second goal to feel any sort of comfort was emphasised by Julian Nagelsmann bringing Niclas Fullkrug and Leroy Sane off the bench before the hour mark, with striker Varga heading a huge chance over the bar for Hungary just a minute later as if to underline his fears.

Such concerns were allayed in the 68th minute when Musiala moved inside to drag the defence out of position, allowing Maximilian Mittelstadt time and space to cross from the left and Gundogan to sweep home.

Hungary’s hope dissipated with the second goal and Germany glided home, giving Musiala an early rest as Leroy Sane and Joshua Kimmich tested the impressive Gulacsi. The Magyars still had a scramble goalwards hacked off the line as stoppage time loomed after another unconvincing intervention from Neuer.

Only a wild turn of events can deny Germany a spot in the last-16 and they face Switzerland on Sunday with Hungary looking down and out ahead of a meeting with Scotland.