Kai Havertz's shift goes unrewarded despite Germany reaching Euro 2024 knockouts

  • Kai Havertz played 58 minutes of Germany's win over Hungary
  • Arsenal forward missed early chances but his movement was good
  • Limited involvement on the ball, with others able to profit
Kai Havertz played 58 minutes against Hungary
Kai Havertz played 58 minutes against Hungary / Shaun Botterill/GettyImages

Germany are through to the last 16 of Euro 2024 thanks to Wednesday evening's 2-0 win over Hungary in Group A, with the tournament now into matchday two of the opening round.

Jamal Musiala, whose effortless genius was so destructive from a Scotland perspective on Friday night, put the Germans ahead midway through the first half when Ilkay Gundogan managed to keep the ball alive in Hungary’s penalty area and Musiala dug out the shot.

Gundogan himself applied the finishing touch when Germany doubled their lead, a fabulously slick and precise move that culminated in Maximilian Mittelstadt pulling the ball back from the left and the Barcelona midfielder converting from eight yards out.

Hungary had their chances, but Roland Sallai was flagged offside when he gobbled up a rebound from a Manuel Neuer save, and Barnabas Varga later headed agonisingly over the bar.

Kai Havertz worked hard for the during his 58 minutes on the pitch, but ultimately didn't get his reward and still awaits a first open play goal after netting one from the spot last time out.

Havertz has been favoured to lead the line so far this summer ahead of super sub Niclas Fullkrug, who scored a thunderbolt off the bench against Scotland in the tournament opener and replaced him here, and the youthful enthusiasm of 21-year-old Maximilian Beier.

Kai Havertz
Things didn't quite fall for Havertz but his performance was commendable / Chris Brunskill/Fantasista/GettyImages

The Arsenal forward was causing Hungary problems with his clever movement from the earliest moments. He probably should have scored inside the first five minutes when he latched onto Joshua Kimmich's pass but fired the resultant shot straight at Peter Gulacsi. A few minutes after that, Havertz's physicality against Willi Orban earned him another opportunity that the goalkeeper saved.

He gave Orban a headache several times overall. But while he had two early shots and asked plenty of questions by what he did off the ball, Havertz only amassed 29 touches – of which ten were in the box (per Fotmob) – failed to win any of his eight duels on the ground or in the air, and completed just 14 passes in total. In essence, his was mostly a performance that enabled others instead.

Germany, who exited the 2022 World Cup at the group stage, are the first team to secure their place in the knockout stages. That progression is the absolute bare minimum as hosts, but remains an important step nonetheless given it has been done with a game to spare.