Switzerland holds on to beat Hungary 3-1 at Euro 2024

Switzerland held off a Hungarian fightback to win its European Championship opening game 3-1 on Saturday in Cologne, Germany.

Goals from Kwadwo Duah and Michel Aebischer — both surprise picks in the starting lineup — left Switzerland in control at halftime but Barnabas Varga’s header put Hungary back in contention.

Breel Embolo made sure of the win when he scored on the counterattack in stoppage time with a lob over the goalkeeper.

Earlier, Duah opened the scoring in just his second game for Switzerland, shooting low past goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi off a pass from Aebischer.

Aebischer made it 2-0 just before halftime, sidestepping away from Attila Fiola to find space on the edge of the box to hit a curling low shot past Gulacsi.

Varga’s diving header in the 66th off Dominik Szoboszlai’s cross brought celebrations for Hungary as some of its black T-shirt-wearing hardcore fans lit flares. Hungary kept Switzerland under pressure after that but couldn’t find a second goal.

Switzerland is second in Group A after host nation Germany beat Scotland 5-1 on Friday in the tournament opener. Hungary had its first loss in a competitive game since September 2022.

Spain 3, Croatia 0

Lamine Yamal became the youngest player to appear in a European Championship as Spain’s new generation brushed aside Croatia’s challenge 3-0 in their opening game on Saturday.

Yamal, aged 16 years, 338 days, also became the youngest to set up a goal at the tournament when he crossed for Dani Carvajal to score Spain’s third goal before the break.

The 21-year-old Nico Williams starred on the other flank for Spain, which is going for its fourth European title.

Midfielder Fabian Ruiz scored one goal and set up the opener for captain Alvaro Morata in a dominant performance from the team in red.

Defending champion Italy was playing Albania in the other Group B game later.

The Croatia fans, who greatly outnumbered their Spanish counterparts, tried rousing the team before the end at Berlin’s Olympiastadion, where the final will be played on July 14.

Hundreds gathered before the game near the Brandenburg Gate in the center of Berlin, and also at Breitscheidplatz in the west of the city, where they set off flares, waved flags, jumped up and down, and sang along to Croatian folk songs.

Croatian emigrants were among those who moved to Germany as so-called guest workers to help the country’s post-war economy and never returned. Germany also became home to many Croatian refugees who fled the country’s war of independence in the 1990s.

But it was a disappointing start to Euro 2024 from Zlatko Daliç’s team. The Spanish players were faster, more committed, and cleverer. Last-ditch defending from Spain defenders Marc Cucurella and Nacho snuffed out any other danger.

Croatia star Luka Modriç, who played at Euro 2008 before Yamal was even born, was unable to assert his usual influence. The 38-year-old Modri─ç was given a warm embrace by Real Madrid teammates Nacho and Carvajal before the teams walked out onto the field, getting a kiss on the cheek from each.

When Modriç went off in the 65th, it was clear Daliç was already thinking of the next game.

Croatia plays Albania in Hamburg on Wednesday, while Spain faces Italy in Gelsenkirchen on Thursday.

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