Germany scored a last-minute goal to draw 1-1 with Switzerland and top their Euro 2024 group

Germany scored a last-minute goal to draw 1-1 with Switzerland and top their Euro 2024 group

Kai Havertz (above), of Germany, jumps for a header in an attempt to score during the Group A match between Switzerland and Germany at the Euro 2024 tournament on June 23, 2024 in Frankfurt, Germany.

Germany's Kai Havertz (above) jumps for a header in an attempt to score during the Group A match between Switzerland and Germany at the Euro 2024 tournament in Frankfurt, Germany, June 23, 2024. | Photo credit: AP

They all got on the ball quickly and raced to the goal, saving Germany from its first defeat at the European Championship against a team as impressive as Switzerland.

Defender Nico Schlotterbeck leapt forward, and even more impressively, centre-back Antonio Rudiger rose to the top. In front of them both was substitute Nicolas Fulkrug.

The German trio were surrounded by three Swiss opponents trying to protect a 1-0 lead that was lost just two minutes into the game. Six pairs of feet were simultaneously off the ground, struggling to head the ball.

It was Fulkrug who won the contest, heading the ball from second-half substitute David Raum past Switzerland goalkeeper Yann Sommer into the top corner of the net. The match ended in a 1–1 draw.

“We took too many risks in this phase because we could have conceded a second goal,” Germany coach Julian Nagelsmann said of putting his defenders into attack. “Whoever doesn't dare to take risks doesn't get a draw.” Germany was already through to the round of 16 before kickoff on Sunday, but a draw felt like a victory under the circumstances and continued a run of impressive wins against Scotland and Hungary.

“When you see how the Germans celebrated their goal it says it all,” said Switzerland captain Granit Xhaka, who was named player of the match.

Switzerland impressed, saving Dan Ndoye's clever volley in the 28th minute to take a big lead. A marginal offside decision against Ruben Vargas and a superb save by Manuel Neuer from Xhaka's shot denied them a second goal.

Germany finished top of Group A with Switzerland second, ensuring points for each team. Hungary moved to third place in the table after beating Scotland 1-0 in Stuttgart with an even later goal just after the interval.

Germany will now face Dortmund on Saturday for a round of 16 match against the team that finishes second in Group C. That opponent could be any of the four teams – England, Slovenia, Denmark or Serbia – who play their final round of Group C games on June 25.

Nagelsmann acknowledged Germany's opponents would not appreciate having two days less rest, though he added: “We have to prepare for four teams, they only have to prepare for one.” Switzerland will travel to Berlin's Olympic Stadium on Saturday to play their first match in the round of 16 against the team that finishes second in Group B, possibly Italy or Croatia. They will meet on June 24 in their decisive group game.

Coach Murat Yakin said Switzerland had earned the right to make higher-ranked opponents worry about their undefeated team.

“I think we have a certain position that we have worked hard for. We are on a good path,” Yakin said, “without losing, with a very good playing style. We like to be the dark horse.” Switzerland's goal came at Bologna, an up-and-coming Italian club that has qualified for its first Champions League entry next season.

Ndoye timed his run to meet a floated pass across the goalmouth from his Bologna teammate Remo Freuler. The attack began when Fabian Rieder, making his first start since the 2022 World Cup, won the ball in the German half and then fed Freuler.

Germany were denied a 17th-minute lead on video review. Robert Andrich's long-range shot bounced above Sommer's dive, but the VAR team alerted Italian referee Daniele Orsato to an earlier foul in the goalmouth by Jamal Musiala.

The much-criticised Waldstadion playing field was in better condition on June 23 and the roof was closed to protect it, although no further rain is forecast for at least five days.

The turf was cut during both previous Euro 2024 games in Frankfurt. It was laid after the stadium hosted two NFL games in November but has not settled properly since then.

Frankfurt will host two more matches, culminating in a round of 16 match in which Group F winners Portugal will likely face Hungary, who will have to wait three days to learn their fate.

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