We’ve officially made it through the first round of group stage fixtures at UEFA Euro 2020, with the last match being the most anticipated of the bunch.
Anytime France face Germany at a major tournament, it is must watch television. While the entirety of the match may not have lived up to the hype, there were plenty of eye-catching moments.
Tuesday’s action also featured the reigning champions of this competition and a new all-time goal scoring mark set. Here’s how it all went down:
Portugal 3, Hungary 0
Hungary were spurred on by the 100 percent capacity crowd in Budapest, but they were under pressure early from Portugal when Diogo Jota’s effort forced a solid save from goalkeeper Péter Gulácsi in the 5th minute. Hungary did a good job of containing Cristiano Ronaldo at the start, who’s first attempt didn’t come until the 30th minute when he was unable to direct his header goal-ward after a high cross into the box. He almost opened the scoring in the 43rd minute, but a cross into the box sort of snuck up on him after it was partially deflected and he skied his attempt over the bar.
Portugal started well in the second half when Pepe headed a Bruno Fernandes cross towards the bottom far corner, but Gulácsi got down quickly to parry the shot away. Hungary would begin to grow into the match and funnel a few shots on goal, but none of them truly troubled Portuguese goalkeeper Rui Patrício. Fernandes would produce a nice shot on target in the 68th minute, but Gulácsi again was able to come up with a diving stop. The stadium erupted in the 80th minute when Hungary’s Szabolcs Schön broke into the box from the right flank and beat Patrício with a shot at the near post, but he was a yard or so offside on review.
Portugal were finally able to come up with the match’s opening goal in the 84th minute when Bernardo Silva’s cross found Raphael Guerreiro in the box and his shot would deflect off a Hungary player and into the net. The floodgates would open soon after when substitute Rafa Silva was dragged down in the box and Ronaldo would step up to bury the penalty and became the top scorer in European Championships’ history. Ronaldo would add to his record in stoppage time, working a beautiful string of passes with Rafa Silva in the box before rounding Gulácsi and finishing with his left foot.
Portugal will face stiffer competition in their next match vs. Germany while Hungary will look to avoid a similar fate vs. France.
France 1, Germany 0
The talent on both teams was on full display during the opening 15 minutes of the match with both sides trading possession and half chances. France’s Kylian Mbappé produced the first concrete chance of the match when he cut in on his right and let loose a shot that forced Germany goalkeeper Manuel Neuer to make a save down to his left.
France broke through a few minutes later when Paul Pogba played a beautiful ball over the top into the box which left-back Lucas Hernández would square back towards the middle. With Mbappé right behind him, German center-back Mats Hummels attempted to clear but wound up putting the ball in his own net, the first own goal Germany had ever conceded at the Euros. Germany’s best opportunity came in the 38th minute when Serge Gnabry managed to kick the ball back over his head towards the six-yard box where Ilkay Gündogan was waiting, but he sent his shot just wide of the far post.
The first look at goal of the second half came in the 52nd minute for France when Adrien Rabiot broke into the box on the left-hand side, but his shot hit the outside of the near post and went out of play. Germany would follow up a few minutes later with one of their better chances when Robin Gosens sent a cross into the box, but Gnabry’s side-footed effort went into the ground and over the bar. The French seemed content to sit back and wait to counterattack and they almost pulled it off in the 66th minute. Pogba played another excellent through ball to Mbappé, who’s curling effort split two defenders on its way to the bottom right corner of the net, but the striker was a fraction offside.
Germany continued to dominate in possession but weren’t able to come up with any substantial chances. France caught them out once again in the 85th minute with Pogba playing in Mbappé, who would then square it to a wide-open Karim Benzema for an easy goal, but VAR intervened to rule that Mbappé was offside once again. The French were able to hold on to their clean sheet as well as all three points on the night.