Sunday, July 21, 2024

Euro 2024: Scotland beaten by Hungary, Germany and Switzerland draw


The final group games at Euro 2024 both happening at the same time is understandable and obvious, but it does change things for the viewer. Last night I began with the first half of Scotland versus Hungary, and with all due respect to both nations, it was potentially the worst 45 minutes of football I’ve ever seen. And I’ve seen some things in my time, let me tell you.

Scotland had more of the ball but didn’t have a single attempt on goal. So, at half-time, I switched over to Germany v Switzerland, with the hosts down 1-0 thanks to a tidy finish from Dan Ndoye. It wasn’t much better really. Germany huffed and puffed and found it hard to make clear cut chances. Switzerland had a goal disallowed for offside, and it only took 15 seconds for the decision to be made once it went to VAR.

You can imagine Howard Webb sitting at home absolutely fuming with that kind of efficiency, vowing to ensure that’s something we will never see in the Premier League. Even with the introduction of semi-automated offsides, he’ll make his VAR technicians do that thing you do with the right stick in a video game, changing the camera angle and swirling around to make sure everything takes as long as possible – protecting the very ethos of the PGMOL.

I kept an eye on Kai Havertz. He was ok but not particularly outstanding. I thought Switzerland looked very well organised and made it tough for the Germans. Then there was drama in the other game when Hungary’s Barnabas Varga was knocked unconscious after a collision in the box. It looked quite bad, and took some time to get him treated, but the prognosis appears to positive this morning, with Hungary manager Marco Rossie saying:

Fortunately now we can say Barnay is not under any kind of risk. Probably he will be operated on in the following hours because he suffered a fracture. The most important thing is he is healthy.

Best wishes to him, and hopefully he makes a full recovery. Scotland wanted a penalty when Stuart Armstrong went down in the box, but the ref was having none of it. I think he was probably right, there is some contact but it six of one and half a dozen of the other, I’d be very unhappy if that went against Arsenal. Steve Clarke doesn’t agree though, saying:

It was 100% a penalty. Somebody, somewhere has to explain to me why that is not a penalty. It was, 100%. It was a one-goal game; if we get the penalty it can be a different night. I have other words but I am not going to use them.

I can explain: Armstrong initiated the contact and simply fell over when he could have stayed on his feet and had an attempt on goal. If I were a manager, I’d be more upset that my player didn’t do the most potentially advantageous thing for my team. The final stages, with 10 minutes of added time because of the injury, were far more entertaining than most of what had come before. Hungary had chances, Scotland got forward but lacked the quality to make the most of their presence in the opposition final third, and right at the death a breakaway saw Kevin Csoboth score the only goal of the game to win it and end Scotland’s hopes. The Hungarian commentator certainly enjoyed it though.

Meanwhile, substitute Niclas Fullkrug powered home an injury time header to secure a point for Germany which ensured they ended up top of Group A. Granit Xhaka had almost made it 2-0 to Switzerland, but was denied by an outstanding save from Manuel Neuer, and that late sucker-punch means the Swiss will face the runners up of group B, while Germany will play the second place team from Group C, England’s group.

The Group B games take place tonight, with Sylvinho’s Albania facing Spain, while Croatia face Italy. I think I’ll start with that second game later on, but I suspect some fast channel switching will be at play throughout the evening.

Right, let’s leave it there. We will have an Arsecast Extra for you a bit later on. Keep an eye out for the call for questions on Twitter @gunnerblog and @arseblog on Twitter with the hashtag #arsecastextra – or if you’re an Arseblog Member on Patreon, leave your question in the #arsecast-extra-questions channel on our Discord server.

Pod should be out by lunchtime. For now, have a good one.

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