More Musiala magic sees Germany beat Hungary 2-0 and reach Euro 2024 knockout stage

STUTTGART, Germany (AP) — Jamal Musiala is lighting up the European Championship and showing just why his teammates think the 21-year-old forward can go on to become one of the best players in the world.

Musiala scored his second goal of the tournament on Wednesday to help Germany beat Hungary 2-0 and book its spot in the knockout stage.

“For me it’s incredible to play with him, he can do the unexpected in every single situation,” Germany captain İlkay Gündoğan said. "Maybe he’s the most important one at the moment for us and at such a young age as well.

“And, I love him. He’s such a complete player and such a nice guy as well. Very humble. And if he keeps doing his thing, the way he’s doing right now, he can be one of the best.”

Musiala opened the scoring in the 22nd minute with a goal that was furiously protested by Hungary. Gündoğan had set that up and got on the scoresheet himself in the second half.

Musiala had netted Germany’s second goal in the 5-1 opening victory over Scotland on Friday to kick off Euro 2024. Hungary lost 3-1 to Switzerland on Saturday and now faces an uphill challenge to advance.

“He did brilliant in both games,” Germany coach Julian Nagelsmann said. "Not only the two goals, I think every situation or offensive proposition is pretty tough for the opponent to defend.

“I think it’s important for him not to deal with the pressure, just to deal with his capability to solve any offensive one-on-one situations ... He should not think about the pressure, because he’s brilliant in just playing soccer.”

Hungary plays Scotland in the final Group A match on Sunday, when Nagelsmann's team takes on Switzerland.

Germany is definitely into the next round at least as a best third-place team. It will be confirmed in the top two if Scotland fails to beat Switzerland later Wednesday.

Hungary was unbeaten in its previous three matches against Germany and it put up a good fight against the host nation in Stuttgart.

Coach Marco Rossi said his players paid the price for what he felt was unbalanced refereeing.

“Throughout my career, first as player and then as coach, I have never looked for alibis,” Rossi said. “But what the referee did tonight … I think even the Germans saw that he used two different measurements.

“Germany would have still won, it’s stronger and it would have won, but the referee was the worst on the field.”

Rossi’s side started aggressively and stunned Germany by almost taking the lead inside 20 seconds. Goalkeeper Manuel Neuer had to be quick off his line to slide to the ball to stop Roland Sallai.

The noise level ramped up every time Musiala had the ball and the Stuttgart-born forward opened the scoring in chaotic fashion.

Musiala tried to set up Gündoğan but Hungary defender Willi Orbán got to the ball first. However, he stumbled — following what Hungary protested was a shove by Gündoğan — and as shotstopper Péter Gulácsi tried to help him, Gündoğan poked it on to Musiala, who smashed it into the net with the goalkeeper still on the ground.

“I was quite surprised that the Hungarian player and his teammates were angry about it,” Gündoğan said. “I played in the Premier League for seven years and if you gave that in the Premier League as a foul I think everyone would have been laughing on the floor.”

Hungary almost leveled immediately but Neuer did brilliantly to parry Dominik Szoboszlai’s free kick and then keep out a follow-up with his foot. The crowd celebrated the save almost as loudly as it had done the goal.

The loud home fans thought Musiala had doubled his tally at the end of the half but his shot was deflected, hitting the side netting and making it ripple so that even Nagelsmann appeared to think it had gone in.

Germany was seemingly in control in the second half and did get a second in the 68th minute when Maximilian Mittelstädt rolled the ball across from the left and Gündoğan drove it into the bottom right corner.

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AP Euro 2024: https://apnews.com/hub/euro-2024

06/19/2024 20:05 -0400

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