Germany win Euro group with late Fullkrug goal


Striker Niclas Füllkrug scored a stoppage time equaliser as hosts Germany rescued a point after a 1-1 draw with Switzerland on Sunday to seal top spot in Group A and maintain their momentum going into the round of 16 of Euro 2024.

Swiss forward Dan Ndoye had threatened to spoil the party with a first half opener, but Germany, who had already sealed a round-of-16 place before kickoff, are now on a seven-game unbeaten run stretching back to November and kept plugging away until the equaliser eventually came through Fullkrug’s powerful header.

The home side had a goal disallowed and several penalty appeals rejected by Italian referee Daniele Orsato, and it looked to be a frustrating night before Fullkrug finished one of their 18 attempts at goal in a feverish atmosphere in Frankfurt.

It denied the Swiss what would have been a second win over Germany in 22 competitive matches dating back to 1959, but their passage through to the round of 16 is also secure.

Germany top the pool with seven points from their three games, two ahead of Switzerland, while Hungary (three points) must wait to see if they will advance as one of the best third-placed teams following a 1-0 win over eliminated Scotland, who are eliminated.

“Of course, we would have liked to win the game and to play great football,” Germany captain Ilkay Gundogan said. “But I think you also need games like that during a tournament. And that can also be a real strength for the next games, hopefully.”

Kai Havertz’s early header from a corner was saved by the Swiss keeper and then a shout for a penalty when he was bundled over the box was dismissed on a frustrating evening for him that may draw attention to his effectiveness in the team.

Germany thought they had the lead on 17 minutes when Robert Andrich’s shot from 30 yards somehow beat Switzerland goalkeeper Yann Sommer at his near post but the latter’s blushes were spared when the goal was ruled out for a foul by Jamal Musiala.

Instead it was the Swiss who scored just before the half-hour mark. Musiala was bundled off the ball in midfield and when Remo Freuler was found on the left-hand side of the box, his low cross was turned into the roof of the net by Ndoye.

Ilkay Gündogan mishit a shot from the edge of the box when well-placed early in the second period, and Toni Kroos drilled the ball wide from distance as Germany pushed for the equaliser.

Niclas Fullkrug heads home late to equalise with Switzerland and give Germany the top spot of Group A heading into the Round of 16.
Niclas Fullkrug heads home late to equalise with Switzerland and give Germany the top spot of Group A heading into the Round of 16.

They created numerous chances as they camped in the Swiss half, but after Havertz had wasted several, Fullkrug rose highest to head in David Raum’s cross in the 92nd minute and preserve their unbeaten start to their home championship.

“I think when you see the Germans celebrating, we can be proud of ourselves,” Swiss captain Granit Xhaka told SRF. “It’s not easy against a team like that. Nevertheless, the late equaliser hurts.

“Everyone fought for each other and ran for each other. We have to push ourselves to the limit. Then we can beat anyone. We have taken the first step and are now looking forward to the round of 16.”

Germany coach Julian Nagelsmann picked the same starting XI for the third game in a row, but will be forced into at least one change for the last-16 after Jonathan Tah picked up a second yellow card of the group stages and will be suspended.

Germany coach Julian Nagelsmann picked the same starting XI for the third game in a row, but will be forced into at least one change for the last-16 after Jonathan Tah picked up a second yellow card of the group stages and will be suspended.

Whether Havertz did enough to keep his starting place remans to be seen, with Germany looking more threatening when Fuellkrug came on to score his 13th international goal in 19 caps, only six of which he has started.

Germany coach Julian Nagelsmann picked the same starting XI for the third game in a row, but will be forced into at least one change for the last-16 after Jonathan Tah picked up a second yellow card of the group stages and will be suspended.

Whether Havertz did enough to keep his starting place remans to be seen, with Germany looking more threatening when Fuellkrug came on to score his 13th international goal in 19 caps, only six of which he has started.

“In the end I think the point is well deserved. We risked a lot in this phase of the game, we could have conceded a second goal but it was a good match,” Nagelsmann said after the match. “I think it was well deserved that we came back. If we would have scored the first goal in the 17th minute (Robert Andrich’s disallowed effort) I think it would have been difficult for Switzerland.”

Whether Havertz did enough to keep his starting place remans to be seen, with Germany looking more threatening when Fullkrug came on to score his 13th international goal in 19 caps, only six of which he has started.

Germany will face the second-place team in Group C, with England, Denmark, Slovenia and Serbia all still in the mix, in Dortmund on Saturday. Switzerland will play the second-place team in Group B on the same day in Berlin, with Italy, Albania and Croatia their potential opponents.



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