Szalai's stunning strike gives Hungary victory over Germany
Leipzig, Germany, Sept 23, 2022 (AFP) - A superb first-half stiletto kick from striker Adam Szalai gave Hungary a 1-0 away win over Germany at Leipzig's Red Bull Arena on Friday.
The win cemented Hungary's position on top of the group standings, with the unbeaten side only needing a draw in their final match away against Italy to secure top spot.
Playing his second-last game before retiring from international football, striker Szalai gave Hungary the lead after 17 minutes.
Szalai, who plies his trade at Swiss side Basel after a career which took him to five different Bundesliga sides, won Hungary a corner, forcing an intervention from Real Madrid centre-back Antonio Ruediger.
Leipzig midfielder boomeranged the corner goalwards, before Szalai skillfully clipped the ball into the net with his heel.
Germany had just one chance in the first half when Bayern forward Thomas Mueller lept high to meet Leipzig wing-back David Raum's cross, but the ball was headed directly at Hungary keeper Peter Gulacsi.
Flick removed Munich forward Serge Gnabry at half-time for West Ham right back Thilo Kehrer, with the Bayern forward's stuttering club form carrying through to the international arena.
The change freed up Gladbach's Jonas Hoffmann, who started at right back, into his familiar attacking midfielder position.
The change almost paid immediate dividends, with Hoffmann setting up Mueller to score an apparent equaliser, but the goal was correctly ruled out for a narrow offside against the Gladbach captain.
Germany continued to grow into the game, with Bayern forward Joshua Kimmich, Germany's best on the night, inches away from a long-range equaliser in the 60th minute.
Despite the home side's dominance in possession, Hungary remained dangerous on the counter, with only the fingertips of Germany goalkeeper Marc-Andre ter Stegen stopping Martin Adam from doubling the visitors' lead after 72 minutes.
In the dying stages, Kimmich went close again with a skimming shot from the edge of the box at the 86th-minute mark, but the ball bounced wide of the left-hand post.
The loss was Germany's first under former Bayern manager Hansi Flick, who had won nine and drawn four of his previous 13 games in charge.
In the other game in the group on Friday, Italy ensured England will finish their Nations League campaign in last place with a 68th-minute goal from Giacomo Raspadori giving them a 1-0 home win over Gareth Southgate's team.