Late goal gets Germany top spot in Euro 2024

Late goal gets Germany top spot in Euro 2024
SunStar Soccer

FRANKFURT, Germany — They all jumped for the ball in a frantic late push for the goal that would save Germany from its first loss at the European Championship, against an impressive Switzerland team.

Defender Nico Schlotterbeck leaped up, next to the even more imposing center-back Antonio Rüdiger, who reached highest of all. In front of them both was substitute Niclas Füllkrug.

The German trio was circled by three Swiss opponents trying to protect a 1-0 lead two minutes into stoppage time. Six pairs of feet off the ground in unison, straining to be the one to head the ball.

It was Füllkrug who won the contest, guiding the ball crossed from another substitute David Raum back across Switzerland goalkeeper Yann Sommer into the top corner of the net. The match ended 1-1.

“We risked a lot in this phase because we could have conceded a second goal,” Germany coach Julian Nagelesmann said about throwing his defenders into attack. “Who doesn’t dare to risk, doesn’t get to draw.”

Germany had already advanced to the round of 16 before kickoff Sunday, but a draw felt like a win in the circumstances and kept the momentum of impressive wins against Scotland and Hungary.

“When you see how the Germans celebrated their goal that says everything,” said Switzerland captain Granit Xhaka, named player of the match.

Switzerland impressed while protecting a 28th-minute goal from Dan Ndoye’s clever volleyed shot, and chasing a bigger lead. A second goal was denied by a marginal offside ruling against Ruben Vargas and a fine save by Manuel Neuer from Xhaka’s shot.

The point for each team ensured Germany finished top and Switzerland second in Group A. Hungary took third place in the standings with an even later stoppage-time goal to beat Scotland 1-0 in Stuttgart.

Germany now goes to Dortmund for a round of 16 game Saturday against the runner-up in Group C. That opponent can be any of the four teams — England, Slovenia, Denmark or Serbia — playing their final round of Group C games on Tuesday. / AP


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