Friday, April 19, 2024

Brave Hungary hold Germany in Nations League

Nations League 2
Germany's forward Timo Werner runs with the ball during the UEFA Nations League football match Hungary v Germany at the Puskas Arena in Budapest on June 11, 2022. AFP

BUDAPEST, June 12: Germany had to settle for a 1-1 draw with brave Hungary who deserved to share the spoils in a frantic Nations League Group A3 tie in Budapest on Saturday.
Hungary stunned their illustrious visitors after just six minutes with a Zsolt Nagy strike before Jonas Hofmann hauled Germany level just three minutes later with a fine solo effort.
The result, Germany’s fourth straight 1-1 draw, extended the unbeaten run of Hansi Flick’s side to 12 matches but leaves them still without a win three games in the campaign.
Early in a pulsating first half the Puskas Arena erupted with ear-splitting noise when wing-back Nagy blasted home from close range after Manuel Neuer had palmed out a Roland Sallai header.
But the home crowd’s delight lasted just three minutes until Hofmann pounced on a precision through ball by David Raum, rounded Peter Gulacsi and finished into an empty net for the equaliser.
Slick Germany posed the greater danger though with Chelsea’s Kai Havertz steering a header from Raum wide before the impressive 1899 Hoffenheim winger sailed a curler round Gulacsi’s right post.
Hungary had pulled off a shock 1-0 home win over England a week ago and spurred on by their raucous fans they bustled with endeavour, with a drive from busy winger Attila Fiola forcing a reflex save from Neuer just before the break.
With no let-up in tempo in the second half Germany gradually upped the pressure and Hofmann should have scored his second with a quarter hour to go.
The pacy Borussia Mönchengladbach winger found himself clear on goal but underhit his side-pass to Timo Werner allowing Willi Orban to clear.
The Magyars squandered their own gilt-edged chance soon after when substitute Martin Adam, well-placed in the area, headed a Dominik Szoboszlai cross straight at Neuer.
Another home sub Daniel Gazdag then warmed Neuer’s gloves with a rasping effort from the edge of the box ten minutes from the end.
After three draws so far Germany will play their final match of the June international break at home against Italy on Tuesday.
The same day League A debutants Hungary, now on four points, visit England in Wolverhampton before the group campaign concludes in September.
Ireland thrash Scotland to end Nations League drought
The Republic of Ireland ended their long wait for a Nations League win in style by thrashing Scotland 3-0 in Dublin on Saturday.
Ireland had scored just two goals in their previous 12 Nations League games without victory, but surpassed that tally in 90 minutes as Alan Browne, Troy Parrott and Michael Obafemi put Steve Clarke’s men to the sword.
Scotland had begun their Nations League campaign with a comfortable 2-0 win over Armenia on Wednesday.
But Clarke’s future may now be questioned after a second humiliation in 10 days.
Scotland were outclassed by a Ukraine side featuring many players in their first competitive action for months in a 3-1 World Cup playoff defeat on home soil on June 1.
Ireland had not won a competitive home match for three years, but boss Stephen Kenny finally had something to celebrate as his side dominated from the start.
The hosts took the lead in the 20th minute when Browne bundling the ball over the line after Shane Duffy had headed down a James McClean corner.
Ireland’s second goal came just seven minutes later when Obafemi’s perfectly-weighted pass into the Scotland box found Parrott who headed past onrushing goalkeeper Craig Gordon.
Things went from bad to worse for Scotland and Gordon in the second half as Swansea striker Obafemi capped his first international start with a thunderous drive that bewildered the Hearts stopper from outside the box.
Ireland could even have had a fourth but a VAR check denied Scott Hogan as his effort was hooked off the line by Grant Hanley.
Victory takes Ireland above Scotland on goal difference in Group B1, but both trail Ukraine, who were 3-0 winners over Armenia early on Saturday, by three points.
Nations League: Wales rally to hold Belgium to 1-1 draw
Wales got their first point on the board in the top tier of the Nations League as Brennan Johnson’s late equaliser held Belgium to a 1-1 draw in Cardiff.
Johnson slid home Aaron Ramsey’s pass three minutes from time for his first international goal after Youri Tielemans had put the visitors ahead.
Belgium and Poland remain three points behind the Netherlands at the top of Group A4 with Wales a further three points back at the bottom of the table.
Rob Page’s men are still on a high from World Cup qualification sealed six days ago and finally got some reward in the Nations League after losing out to late goals in 2-1 defeats to Poland and the Netherlands.
Page had fielded a weakened team for the midweek visit of Holland that had brought Wales’ first home defeat for three-and-a-half years.
But skipper Gareth Bale returned in a far more familiar line-up as Wales matched the side ranked second in the world.
Ethan Ampadu crashed home a spectacular half-volley after just five minutes, but his joy turned to despair as video evidence showed Joe Rodon had just strayed offside in the build-up.
Belgium were dangerous when Tielemans and Kevin De Bruyne were given time and space on the ball and took the lead six minutes into the second half.
Leandro Trossard broke down the right and fed Michy Batshuayi, who rolled the ball into Tielemans’ path for a precise low finish from the edge of the area.
But Wales were not to be denied and substitute Johnson, making his 12th international appearance, slotted in from Aaron Ramsey’s backheeled pass and the goal stood after another VAR check for offside. (AFP)