Germany 2 Hungary 2: Goretzka fires late deflected equaliser to earn Germans a last-16 clash with England at Wembley

THE great escape…but for once every English fan will be rubbing their hands at the prospect of meeting their old rival again.

Leon Goretzka’s late, late leveller may have saved German skins last night and teed up the last 16 tie with Gareth Southgate’s side that everyone expected.



Yet the Three Lions will be anything but quaking at the prospect of Tuesday’s Wembley showdown. Positively relishing the thought, more like.

For Joachim Low’s team didn’t storm into the knockout stages, they stuttered and stumbled their way out of the Group of Death.

And if it hadn’t been for the most cruel and heartbreaking of strikes from substitute Goretzka, just eight minutes from time, they would have been out.

They trailed Hungary for nearly an hour, then fell behind again…and were a team in utter panic and staring at the exit when Goretzka finally rescued their tournament.

Behind to Adam Szalai’s tenth minute stunner, back from the brink thanks to Kai Havertz, and then down again 60 seconds later thanks to Andras Schafer.

So regardless of Goretzka stepping up as their saviour. There was very little for England to be scared about last night in Munich.

And to think, no-one really believed Joachim Low when he insisted it would be far from the stroll many predicted.

Low’s men might have to wait, we all thought, but it would only be a matter of time, for all their opponents were a superbly organised, well drilled unit.

But this Germany is a world away from those ones of old. The teams who might stumble now and again, yet never actually went face down when it really mattered.

Their last tournament had ended in embarrassment, when two late South Korean goals condemned them to a group stage World Cup exit in 2018.

Even so, no way could it happen again…could it? Once bitten, twice shy and all that. A different competition, a different set of players, a different attitude.

After their early 2018 World Cup exit, they couldn’t crash out of two successive tournaments before reaching the knockout stage for the first time in their history.


Not against the 18-1 no-hopers who haven’t had a footballing superstar since the days of Ference Puskas 75 years ago. Ultimately no, but they should have gone out.

Germany had flown from the traps and Joshua Kimmich controlled superbly and fired in a snapshot that needed the strongest of right hands from Peter Gulacsi to turn away.

But – just as Portugal had proved four days earlier – they are hugely open to a quickfire counter. So it proved once again.

Roland Sallai swapped passes with wing back Nego, before taking the most deliberate aim to the one Hungarian in the opposing box.

Szalai launched himself between Matthias Ginter and Mats Hummels, and his stooping, diving header pinged off the sodden Munich turf and arrowed into the corner.



Their last tournament had ended in embarrassment, when two late South Korean goals condemned them to a group stage World Cup exit in 2018.

Even so, no way could it happen again…could it? Once bitten, twice shy and all that. A different competition, a different set of players, a different attitude.

After their early 2018 World Cup exit, they couldn’t crash out of two successive tournaments before reaching the knockout stage for the first time in their history.

Not against the 18-1 no-hopers who haven’t had a footballing superstar since the days of Ference Puskas 75 years ago. Ultimately no, but they should have gone out.

Germany had flown from the traps and Joshua Kimmich controlled superbly and fired in a snapshot that needed the strongest of right hands from Peter Gulacsi to turn away.

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But – just as Portugal had proved four days earlier – they are hugely open to a quickfire counter. So it proved once again.

Roland Sallai swapped passes with wing back Nego, before taking the most deliberate aim to the one Hungarian in the opposing box.

Szalai launched himself between Matthias Ginter and Mats Hummels, and his stooping, diving header pinged off the sodden Munich turf and arrowed into the corner.

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