EURO 2024: Nagelsmann enjoys the European Championship party: “The fans can dream”

EURO 2024: Nagelsmann enjoys the European Championship party: “The fans can dream”
EURO 2024: Nagelsmann enjoys the European Championship party: “The fans can dream”

The fans are already singing about the final. With hard work, Germany secured their ticket to the knockout rounds early at the home European Championships after goals from Musiala and Gündogan. The aim now is to win the group.

The euphoric fans have already started singing “Berlin” – and Ilkay Gündogan, Jamal Musiala and co. are also growing in their belief in a dream football summer. Arm in arm, the two German goalscorers walked the lap of honour with their teammates after the second victory party at the home European Championship and received well-deserved applause from the loud Stuttgart crowd. After the 2-0 (1-0) win against Hungary, national coach Julian Nagelsmann spoke of “a good maturation process”.

The round of 16 is already booked after game two – and the fans were already chanting during the game: “Berlin, Berlin, we’re going to Berlin!” In Germany, after the three completely disappointing tournaments in 2018, 2021 and 2022, people are dreaming of the title. “The fans can dream of anything. Our job is to let them keep dreaming,” said Nagelsmann.

“It feels like it’s getting better and better”

“It feels like it’s getting better and better. But while it’s getting better, we have to overcome some difficulties,” said captain Gündogan, who was voted player of the match. “In the second half, we played it down really coolly.” The strong goalkeeper Manuel Neuer commented: “It was definitely very important. We really wanted to confirm the match against Scotland. Germany is always one of the favorites.”

After the easy 5:1 goal fest against Scotland, the DFB team earned the victory against the still pointless Hungary in their tournament debut in the pink and purple jersey mainly through a high workload. “You have to win the game first,” said Nagelsmann proudly of his team. The Hungarian team was “a very unpleasant opponent.” “There were a lot of long balls, always four against four, that’s not so pleasant.”

Musiala and Gündogan as match winners

The DFB team was fully present in the decisive moments of the game. After an energetic effort by Gündogan against Leipzig’s Willi Orbán in the penalty area, Musiala sent the fans into ecstasy for the first time with his second goal of the European Championship in the 22nd minute. It then took until the 67th minute for the reassuring second goal. This time Gündogan scored after a fine attacking move via Musiala and Stuttgart’s Maximilian Mittelstädt.

But the defence was also challenged at several moments against the combative Hungarians. In addition to defender Jonathan Tah, team senior Manuel Neuer also proved to be a great support in goal after a few mistakes before the home tournament.

The growing team of national coach Julian Nagelsmann will now play against Switzerland on Sunday (9 p.m./ARD and Magenta TV) in Frankfurt for group victory. “First place is important, we want to be first,” said Nagelsmann. The further path to the final on July 14 in Berlin would then lead via Dortmund, Stuttgart and Munich in the knockout round.

Neuer shows the critics

German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán also did not want to miss the match in perfect weather conditions. UEFA President Aleksander Čeferin sat between the two top politicians. She and the other 50,000 spectators saw a hard-fought and eventful European Championship match.

“The second step also works” – under this motto, Nagelsmann sent out exactly the same starting eleven onto the Stuttgart pitch that had given the Scots no chance in the opening match five days earlier. But the national coach also warned before kick-off: “The opponent will challenge us physically more than the Scots, especially in the early stages.”

Just 15 seconds later, it became clear how right Nagelsmann was: Roland Sallai pressed Joshua Kimmich, who was inattentive in his own penalty area, the Freiburg player won the ball and forced Manuel Neuer to make a brilliant save. The brilliant Bayern professional, who equalled the Italian Gianluigi Buffon’s goalkeeping record in his 17th European Championship game, showed his critics not only in this situation.

Foul or no foul on the opening goal?

The scene was like a wake-up call for the DFB team. Kai Havertz (11th) pushed hard against Orbán, but his shot from close range was stopped by a brilliantly reacting Péter Gulácsi.

The lead was then an absolute act of willpower from several protagonists: Tah initiated a counterattack with an impressive flying tackle. The ball landed in the penalty area via the magic duo of Florian Wirtz and Musiala, where Gündogan prevailed against the stumbling Orbán with a hard but fair physical effort. Musiala converted Gündogan’s back pass with a deflected shot under the crossbar.

The Hungarians were not at all shocked by the deficit. Just four minutes after the 1-0, Neuer made another spectacular save, this time against a free kick from Dominik Szoboszlai. On the other side, Musiala (44th minute), who had a lot more to offer than his congenial partner Wirtz, hit the side netting shortly before the half-time whistle.

Hungary tries counterattack

Even after the break, the Germans had the majority of possession. Despite being behind, the Hungarians, coached by Italian Marco Rossi, retreated far back in order to win the ball and use quick counterattacks to achieve success.

After the missed double chance by Gündogan and Toni Kroos (55th minute), Nagelsmann provided a new impetus from the bench and brought on fresh attacking forces in Niclas Füllkrug and Leroy Sané for Havertz and Wirtz. But Gündogan made it 2-0, crowning his strong performance with a goal.

Source: Stern

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