Hungary upend Germany; Italy consign England to relegation

Sports Desk, Sep 23 (EFE).- Hungary beat Germany 1-0 Friday to go top of Group A3 in the Nations League and England’s loss to Italy means that the Three Lions will be competing next season in the second of the competition’s four tiers.

The Hungarians improved to 10 points, 1 better than Italy, and need only a draw against the Azzurri next week in the final group-stage match to punch their ticket for the next round.

Only group winners advance to the semifinals. Last-place finishers are relegated.

Hungary, who failed to qualify for World Cup 2022, have been the breakout side of the 2022-2023 Nations League and turned in another impressive performance in Leipzig.

Relying on a high press, the visitors took the lead in the 16th minute with Adam Szalai’s 26th international goal.

The 34-year-old scored with a spectacular back-heel off a corner and it required a good save from goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen to prevent Willi Orban from making it 2-0.

Germany’s first offensive chance came only in the 27th minute, when Leroy Sane’s shot was deflected wide. Thomas Muller sent a header straight into the arms of Hungary keeper Peter Gulacsi 12 minutes later.

Die Mannschaft were much better to start the second half and Sane forced a save from Gulacsi before an apparent goal by Muller was called back for offside.

Timo Werner and Joshua Kimmich had opportunities for the hosts, but Hungary regained the initiative as the half wore on and Ter Stegen was tested by Martin Adam and Laszlo Kleinheisler.

It was Germany’s first loss in 14 matches under the direction of former Bayern Munich coach Hansi Flick.

In Milan, Italy were more dominant than the score-line would indicate, as England showed no improvement from the squad that lost 4-0 at home to Hungary and whose goal in five matches was a penalty converted by Harry Kane.

Though the Azzurri, like Hungary, failed to qualify for World Cup 2022, they have traditionally been a tough opponent for England, beating the Three Lions on penalties in the Euro 2020 final.

A goal in the 68th minute by budding star Giacomo Raspadori in the 68th minute proved to be sufficient for Italy to give themselves a chance of going through to the semifinals.

England will host Germany at Wembley on Monday in a World Cup tune-up for both teams. EFE rz-tfc/dr

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