UEFA Euro 2020: Germany thrash Portugal 4-2, France held 1-1 by Hungary


MUNICH: Three-times European champions Germany shrugged off their opening game loss and announced their arrival as serious contenders at Euro 2020 with an emphatic 4-2 win over highly-rated Portugal in their Group F match on Saturday.

Cristiano Ronaldo had given the defending champions a 15th minute lead but Germany went in at the break 2-1 up thanks to own goals from Ruben Dias and Raphael Guerreiro. The Germans turned on the style in the second half with goals from Kai Havertz and the impressive Robin Gosens making it 4-1 before Diogo Jota pulled a goal back for Portugal.

The win moves Germany, who face Hungary in their final game, into second place in the group on three points, a point behind leaders France and level on points with the Portuguese. Hungary drew 1-1 with France earlier on Saturday.

Germany, smarting from their opening defeat to the French, started with purpose and confidence and thought they had grabbed the lead in the fifth minute through Gosens but VAR ruled that Serge Gnabry had been in an offside position. 

Against the run of play, Portugal grabbed the early lead, hitting the Germans on the break with Bernardo Silva picking out Jota on the left of the box and his low cross was tapped in from close range by Ronaldo.

It was the Portugal skipper`s third goal in two games and his first ever against Germany but Joachim Loew`s side kept their cool and continued to play positive football before eventually getting their reward.

The Germans drew level in the 35th minute when Joshua Kimmich`s cross from the right was volleyed at the back post by Gosens and flew into the net off the outstretched foot of Portugal defender Dias as he looked to stop Havertz converting.

It was another own goal that gave Germany the lead — Kimmich drove in a low ball from the right and Guerreiro`s attempted clearance flew past his goalkeeper Rui Patricio.

Portugal replaced Bernardo Silva with Renato Sanches at the break but Germany took a firm grip on the game with a third goal six minutes after the restart — a well-worked passing move ending with Havertz turning in a low ball from the left delivered by the influential Gosens.

Germany were buzzing now and it was no surprise when they made it 4-1 on the hour with Gosens finishing off another well constructed attack, heading home a Kimmich cross at the far post.

Portugal struck back quickly though when a deep free-kick from Guerreiro looked to be heading out but Ronaldo acrobatically hooked the ball inside to Jota who slotted home.
Sanches fired a warning of a potential comeback when he thundered a long distance drive against the woodwork but Germany`s victory was never really in doubt.

Inspired Hungary hold France 1-1 at packed Puskas Arena 

BUDAPEST: Antoine Greizmann rescued a point for world champions France as they came from a goal down to draw 1-1 with hosts Hungary in Group F and prevent a massive upset in front of a full house at the Puskas Arena on Saturday.

Attila Fiola had given the hosts a dream half-time lead, after France missed a bevy of early chances. But Greizmann equalised in the 66th minute to move France onto four points while Hungary kept up their slim hopes, on one point, in a group where they had been given little chance with heavyweights Germany and Portugal also in the mix. 

A heaving, 65,000-strong, mainly Hungarian crowd, the likes of which has not been seen at football since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, willed their side to a share of the points in the summer sun even if they were largely outplayed. 

Greizmann finished with a powerful shot but at the end of an uncharacteristic move from the French, who for all their midfield guile and panache needed a Route One kick upfield from their goalkeeper to fashion their equaliser. The French had three gilt-edged chances in the first half which their much-vaunted attack would have been expected to finish.

Peter Gulasci made a double save from Karim Benzema and Griezmann inside the opening quarter-hour and then watched in relief as Kylian Mbappe headed over the top from metres out after Benzema had teed him up in the 17th minute.

It looked a matter of time before Les Bleus would break the deadlock but when Mbappe returned the favour to Benzema just after the half hour mark, he contrived to hit a disappointing shot wide when it seemed easier to score.

Their profligacy was then punished at the end of the half as wingback Fiola collected a cross-field pass from Adam Nagy, played a one-two with Roland Sallai and outpaced the French defence to coolly side-foot home a goal met with a rapturous response from the ecstatic crowd.

Little had gone for Hungary up to that point, losing skipper Adam Szalai to injury in the first half. It took until the 66th minute for the equaliser. Goalkeeper Hugo Lloris kicked the ball down the middle from his penalty box, which the Hungarian defence let bounce for Mbappe to reach first with his frightening pace. His square ball was barely intercepted by Willi Orban, whose effort to clear only contrived to tee up a close-in finish for Griezmann.

Hungary next face Germany in Munich on Wednesday while Portugal and France play in Budapest at the same time.

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