Germany’s Euro task: ‘Let fans keep dreaming’

Sports

Germany‘s job is to keep home supporters dreaming at Euro 2024, coach Julian Nagelsmann said after Wednesday’s 2-0 win over Hungary, adding that he is thinking of winning the next match and not looking ahead to the knockout round.

Nagelsmann lauded what he called an amazing atmosphere at the tournament on home soil, calling instances when supporters marched with the team to their bus and breaking out in the national anthem during the match fuel for his side.

“It was very loud in the stadium — that just gives you a good feeling,” the Germany coach said. “That helps us, which is hard to believe because we have such incredibly experienced and successful players but it does something with you. It moves you.”

“It’s our task to let the fans keep dreaming.”

Goals from Jamal Musiala and Ílkay Gündogan gave Germany a comfortable win over Hungary that made the host nation the first side to qualify for the knockout stage.

With two wins out of two, the Germans are guaranteed to be at least among the top two team in their group after Scotland drew with Switzerland later in the day.

Nagelsmann had special words for Musiala, who has scored in both of Germany’s matches so far, saying he should ignore the pressure and be unafraid to take players on.

The 21-year-old, playing in his hometown, gave the Germans the lead in the 22nd minute after some horrendous Hungarian defending led to the ball being poked into his path by Gündogan, and he hammered the ball in via a defender.

“He should just play like he’s on a small pitch anywhere in Germany or England, it doesn’t matter,” Nagelsmann said. “He should just play football with his friends. He shouldn’t think about the pressure, he’s just brilliant playing football.”

While few will have bet against the home side, it was in fact Germany’s first competitive win over Hungary since the 1954 World Cup final, and fans will now be dreaming of witnessing a fourth European Championship triumph.

“We are getting better, but as we improve we have to overcome some problems,” said Germany captain Gündogan. “That is what this game showed today, especially in the first half, but that’s the tournament — you have survive such situations. We survived and then hit back.

“I wanted to remain patient, to complete my tasks without taking myself too seriously. The more often you train together, the better the feeling for your team mates as well – the feeling gets better with the lads around me.”

Hungary coach Marco Rossi admitted Germany were the better side on the day, but he railed against some refereeing decisions that have left his team’s hopes of progressing hanging by a thread.

“The referee used a double standard, because in the first half the referee allowed a goal after a push on Orban, and in the second half in a similar situation with [Germany’s Robert] Andrich, the referee whistled the foul,” Rossi told reporters.

“So we need to use just one standard, not a double standard. From my perspective Germany would have won anyway, they’re stronger than us and they would have won anyway, but the referee was the worst on the pitch. Germany didn’t need help from the referee, especially against a team like Hungary.”

Information from Reuters was used in this story.

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