Germany got the job done in a manner that would have done their great sides proud. Without fuss, with a touch of professionalism, and a lot of toughness. It is a very German thing, one that we have come to expect in major tournaments and anything else (cue: the last few years) is an aberration.

Germany’s Jamal Musiala (10) celebrates after scoring during a Group A match between Germany and Hungary at the Euro 2024 soccer tournament in Stuttgart, Germany, Wednesday, June 19(AP)

The 2-0 win against Hungary in Group A guaranteed Germany a spot in the knockout stages. Hungary, to their credit, didn’t make it easy for the hosts. However, goals from Jamal Musiala (22’) and Ilkay Gundogan (67’) proved enough in a game that threatened at times to spark into something special but never quite did.

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Hungary made the brighter start to the game — they were running at Germany, showing the intent they had sorely lacked in their 3-1 defeat against Switzerland — and they forced a save out of goalkeeper Manuel Neuer in the early minutes. Well, it was more of a tackle than a regular save, but he got the job done.

The Hungarians continued to dominate for the first ten minutes before Germany settled into rhythm. Suddenly, Germany had all of the ball and all the action was now being directed towards the Hungary goal.

From time to time, Hungary would still counter with purpose but Germany were exerting control and that was evident to everyone in the stadium. Something had to give, and it did soon enough.

Gundogan has made a career by making the others around him shine. He does the hard yards, the dirty work and allows his team-mates to work their magic. The first goal was a perfect example of that.

The German skipper’s challenge on Willi Orban sent the Hungarian sprawling but even with everyone in white looking on, Gundogan got to the loose ball with a marvellous bit of industriousness and the ball ended up with Musiala, who finished with poise. A VAR check of the goal and found nothing amiss but there are some who might point to the Gundogan knee that seemed to catch Orban too.

Hungary weren’t done though and it needed another big save from Neuer to keep Germany in the lead. The Dominik Szoboszlai free-kick in the 26th minute looked like it was going into the right corner but by sheer strength of his arms, kept it out and then reacted quickly enough to prevent any follow-up.

The 38-year-old had come in for some criticism during the qualifying campaign but on evidence of what we have seen so far, he is back to his best.

A Hungary equaliser was ruled out for offside as the first half came to an end. Szoboszlai swung the ball into the penalty area, where it was flicked on by Orban and Neuer flapped the ball into the path of Sallai, who nodded it home. But the flag was up and Germany heaved a sigh of relief.

Still, a one-nil lead doesn’t count for much in international football and Germany knew they would need another one to breathe easy.

The second half didn’t see any major tactical changes and Germany continued to have the lion’s share of possession. Hungary would do enough to force something out of the hosts but it never looked dangerous.

However, Gundogan settled whatever nerves there might have been by slotting in the second. He tucked away his 19th international goal, not blasted it as some might have done, to smother whatever fight Hungary had left.

The special feature of the goal was the string of lovely quick passes in the lead-up. When things are clicking in this manner for Germany, they seem like a very, very tough team to beat.

Toni Kroos was again pulling the strings in the midfield as only he can and that allowed the rest of this team to just do Germany things. A lesson perhaps for the other teams — if you don’t cut him out of the game, he will make things very difficult for you.

Manager Julian Nagelsmann has this team playing in a manner that doesn’t make anything seem forced. The team seems comfortable in the middle and that shows in their football as well.

The expectations are always there but for the moment, Germany have shrugged them off in the best way possible.