Nations League: Havertz hits brace in thrilling draw with England, Italy beat Hungary

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Nations League: Havertz hits brace in thrilling draw with England, Italy beat Hungary

Havertz scored a beautiful long range effort
Havertz scored a beautiful long range effortAFP
England and Germany played out a thrilling 3-3 draw in the UEFA Nations League (UNL), meaning the Three Lions remain unbeaten in the last four H2Hs.

England - Germany 3-3

With England already relegated and Germany unable to reach the UNL finals, pride and a lift ahead of the FIFA World Cup (WC) were on offer at Wembley Stadium. The first scare for either side was of Nick Pope’s own doing as his clearance was blocked by Jamal Musiala, although the goalkeeper was let off by İlkay Gündoğan striking over the crossbar. Pope’s quick reaction prevented a disaster for the Three Lions in the 21st minute, seeing him beat Jonas Hofmann to clear John Stones’ casual backpass.

Luke Shaw’s searching pass released Raheem Sterling soon after, but having earned himself space, he was denied by Marc-André ter Stegen. This seemed to give the hosts a lift and Harry Kane came agonisingly close with an audacious volley. There was a blow for Gareth Southgate in the 35th minute, though, as John Stones pulled up injured clutching his hamstring. Musiala had been Die Mannschaft’s brightest player in the first half, and that continued into the second period as he intercepted Harry Maguire’s pass and lured the defender into conceding a penalty that Gündoğan calmly converted.

Kai Havertz scored a superb German second to silence Wembley, curling a brilliant effort in off the post. Shaw finally got England on the scoresheet, latching onto Reece James’ cross and hitting a shot that squirmed under Ter Stegen. Miraculously, the Three Lions were back on level terms just three minutes later as Bukayo Saka teed up fellow substitute Mason Mount, who clinically finished.

England were awarded a penalty after Jude Bellingham was fouled having beaten Nico Schlotterbeck to the ball, and Kane emphatically smashed his penalty into the top corner to mark his 50th game as Three Lions captain with what he thought was the winner. However, Pope spilled Serge Gnabry’s strike into the path of Gnabry, leaving England winless in the UNL campaign. Meanwhile, Germany avoided back-to-back defeats having been unbeaten before this international window.

Flashscore Man of the Match: Kai Havertz (Germany)

Hungary - Italy 0-2

It was winner-take-all in Budapest, and the pressure seemed to be getting to the experienced Péter Gulácsi in the early stages, as he very nearly spilled Giacomo Raspadori’s cross into his own net. The Napoli forward was a constant threat for the visitors, and seized on some more Hungarian nervousness to put his side ahead. A poor pass back to the goalkeeper was seized on by Wilfried Gnonto who tackled Gulácsi, allowing the ball to run free for Raspadori, who showed tremendous composure to finish.

Italy continued to threaten through their high press system. The wing-backs were incredibly high up the field, and that allowed Giovanni Di Lorenzo a couple of goalscoring opportunities, but he was narrowly wide on both occasions. Marco Rossi’s men eventually got a foothold in the game and really ought to have equalised as HT approached, but Willi Orbán somehow missed from point-blank range.

The Magyars flew out of the traps after the restart and left the capacity crowd bewildered that they failed to score. Gianluigi Donnarumma was at his inspiring best to make an outrageous triple save, denying Loïc Négo, Callum Styles and finally Ádám Szalai from point-blank range. The goalkeeper’s heroics were rewarded almost immediately, as Roberto Mancini’s men executed a brutal sucker punch. Bryan Cristante’s low cross from the right was turned home by Federico Dimarco, deflating the home faithful.

Hungary now had a mountain to climb, and Donnarumma was the man guarding it. Négo found Styles at the back post, and his low header was well directed, but somehow kept out by the sprawling leg of the Azzurri stopper. The Italians’ wall stood firm to secure a second successive appearance at the UNL finals, while Hungary were unable to mark Szalai’s farewell with a win, missing out on a first semi-final of a major international tournament in 50 years.

Flashscore Man of the Match: Giacomo Raspadori (Italy)

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