Paris (AFP), June 18 – Germany breathed life into their Euro 2020 campaign with a stunning 4-2 victory over title-holders Portugal in Munich on Saturday, despite Cristiano Ronaldo closing in on the all-time international goalscoring record, after world champions France were forced to settle for a draw with Hungary.
Spain also stumbled on Saturday in a 1-1 draw with Poland in Sevilla as the tournament’s second round of group matches drew to a close.
Germany knew that a loss to Portugal at the Allianz Arena would leave them on the verge of being knocked out of Group F already, after their failure to make it past the group stage of the 2018 World Cup.
Portugal would have qualified for the round of 16 with a victory and Ronaldo put them ahead.
It was the 36-year-old’s record 12th goal in the European Championship final, and also his 107th international goal in his 177th appearance for his country.
That leaves him just two steps from the all-time international record, set by Ali Daei who has scored 109 times for Iran.
However, Germany turned the tide before half-time as Ruben Dias and Raphael Guerreiro both scored their own.
Robin Gosens let Kai Havertz make it 3-1 just after half-time and then score the fourth goal himself.
Jota pulled out another for Portugal, but the loss jeopardizes their chances of making the round of 16, just as Germany now has the knockout stage in sight.
“We have the right to feel a little euphoria,” admitted German Thomas Mueller.
– Griezmann saves France –
Pre-tournament favorites France were foiled by Hungary in the intense heat and a hostile crowd of nearly 56,000 in Budapest, having to come back from behind to draw 1-1.
In the only Euro 2020 venue with no capacity restrictions due to Covid-19, Attila Fiola gave the hosts a shock lead in the first-half stoppage time.
But Antoine Griezmann, winner of the Golden Boot at Euro 2016, equalized in the 66th minute as an unconvincing France avoided a first defeat in competition since June 2019.
“One point is not what we expected from this match but we will take it under the circumstances,” admitted French coach Didier Deschamps.
The Blues lead the group with four points, one ahead of Germany and Portugal, Hungary at the bottom with one point.
France therefore only needs a draw against Portugal on Wednesday to qualify, but the Portuguese run a real risk of being eliminated in the event of a defeat and Germany avoids the defeat against Hungary.
Qualifying remains a long shot for the Hungarians but their striker Fiola said it was “one of the best days of my life, if not the best”.
– Missed penalties cost Spain –
Spain are still looking for a first win after being held to a 1-1 draw by Robert Lewandowski’s Poland at La Cartuja.
Alvaro Morata put the 2008 and 2012 European champions ahead in the first half, but skipper Lewandowski equalized Poland after the break.
Spain could have won anyway, but Gerard Moreno hit the post from the penalty spot.
Luis Enrique’s side are third in Group E with just two points and have to beat Slovakia in their last game to be sure to pass. Poland only has one point.
“We’re a bit unlucky,” said Spain captain Jordi Alba. “We’re doing it right and we’re going to turn things around, I’m sure.
Meanwhile England manager Gareth Southgate said he was not complaining about the furious reaction from fans who booed them after they were held to 0-0 by their Scottish rivals on Friday.
Southgate’s squad were taunted at the final whistle at Wembley after landing just one shot on target, although they remain on track to qualify for Group D.
“It’s a tournament and it’s essential when you can’t win so you don’t lose,” Southgate said.
“It sure looks tough in the last 15 minutes of a game where the fans desperately want you to go ahead and give up all form because of course it’s Scotland, it looks like a once in a lifetime opportunity.”
Wales face Italy in Rome on Sunday when a draw secures their progress to the knockout stages of Group A.
This result would also see Italy take first place.
Wales will qualify even in the event of a loss provided Switzerland does not beat Turkey in Baku.