6.30 p.m. BST6:30 p.m.
Good evening. Germany kept it loyal to the doubters as they tore apart Portugal last weekend with a performance that showed they can still be a tough international heavyweight when it counts. Tonight, a draw is enough for a safe entry into the round of 16, but only one victory is enough for the opponent Hungary, who gave France a huge scare at 1-1 in Budapest. If Germany attacks in a free-wheeling style like against Portugal, Hungary’s chances of this win are at best slim. Germany may need to make some changes. Thomas Müller is expected to be out with a knee injury, Mats Hummels, Ilkay Gündogan and Lukas Klostermann were absent from the last training sessions with some minor injuries.
The preparations for this game were marked by the news that Uefa has rejected an application from the mayor of Munich, Dieter Reiter the Allianz Arena lit up in rainbow lights for this game. Instead, Uefa has proposed that the stadium show a rainbow display on another evening, as this is a direct political reaction to Hungary’s decision to ban LGBTQ + content in schools and on children’s TV shows. Let’s face it, it’s a terrible decision, and very contradictory indeed, as Uefa stopped investigating Manuel Neur’s decision to wear a rainbow armband because it was for a “good cause”.
It is now known that the Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán has canceled his trip to Munich to watch the game after widespread criticism of his government and, presumably, an ingrained fear of rainbows. Light show or not, the criticism of the politics of Uefa and Orbán is a result for riders and we hope that the support of the LGBTQ + community on this evening around and in the stadium is resounding. Many of the 11,000 fans attending will receive rainbow flags to wave in the ground, as described in this brilliant video by regular Football Weekly panelist Archie Rhind-Tutt. I hope they get braces like Archie’s too. You are really great.
Germany-Hungary! By and large, it doesn’t really matter. Greetings from the Fußball Arena München ™ ️ ? #DontTellViktor pic.twitter.com/gAtdMDXBpz
June 23, 2021
Bayern Munich and Germany midfielder Leon Goretzka spoke on the subject this week. “It would be completely absurd if we had to apologize because it is absolutely clear what that stands for,” he said. “We as a football world want to counter racism and homophobia with diversity.” Damn right Leon. In Munich today, however, some of Hungary’s ultras were seen in black shirts holding a banner that read: “God is with you, Viktor”. Will Uefa have a lot to say about this message when they get to the stadium later?
Group F has fulfilled its big bill so far, Hungary did well to mix it up with the three modern day heavyweights that they were lumped together with. Is it the death group? Not really. Germany, France and Portugal can all still make progress. However, defending champions Portugal, who face France in the other game in Budapest, look the most at risk. Let’s just call it the group of F for the time being and hope for more exciting action before the knockout rounds. I’ll bring you the team news shortly.