Is Jamal Musiala the best young prodigy in the history of soccer? Even if he isn’t, he certainly has looked the part in Germany’s two Euros games. He’s scored two goals and added an assist in just two appearances, both of which Germany has won.

One was a rocket of a ball blasted in the top left corner through a Kai Havertz-powered cutback against Scotland. The other was a precise finishing touch after İlkay Gündoğan stabbed a pass towards Musiala, with an open goal to score against Hungary.

He’s made the country of Germany his captive audience as he makes art from his opponents — exploding past defenders with his strength and powerful stride while delicately evading more with his pinpoint touch and technical prowess. The pitch is his canvas, the ball his paintbrush, and the product of which figures to be a generational performance at the Euros. Musiala is a man among men, and his presence on the pitch is undeniable. We are watching history.

Germany advances to knockout rounds

The near-complete performance of Musiala luckily coincided with Germany’s push to claim their first Euros title since 1996 — around seven years before Musiala was born. They just came off a dominant display of soccer after manhandling a poor Scotland side 5-1. A win in Stuttgart would bring them through to the knockout stage and cement their status as early Euros contenders.

They faced a Dominik Szoboszlai-led Hungary that needed a positive result to stay in contention to advance to the knockout round. A loss to Germany, however likely, would all but eliminate them from the Euros.

“We’ve paid for these (mistakes) in the first game and tomorrow we are playing Germany which, in my opinion, is the toughest rival, toughest team to play now, but we will do our best,” Hungary manager Marco Rossi brooded ahead of the game. “We know on paper the German team is better than us. This should further motivate us, allowing us to give our very best show. Hopefully, we can grasp a point tomorrow and that will allow us, I hope, to qualify for the next round.

“But this will call for the perfect match, all those playing must give 100%.”

It seemed that, for a second, Hungary could play the perfect match and stun the eager audience of 54,000. Just 13 seconds into the match, Joshua Kimmich failed to deal with a Hungary long ball in front of the box, leaving attacker Rolland Sallai with a one-on-one with keeper Manuel Neuer. Luckily for the Germans, Neuer rushed out and smothered the shot before it left Sallai’s foot.

Germany found itself looking to break down Hungary’s low block throughout the game, and its main solution was to loft long balls up to Kai Havertz. He made several great runs into the box but couldn’t latch on to any of them. Havertz and Germany shredded through Hungary with intelligent link-up play.

That link-up play was also how Germany got its first goal. Center-back Jonathan Tah won a ball out of the way, which rolled out to Florian Wirtz. Wirtz played a pinpoint ball to Musiala, who flicked a pass to the streaking Gündoğan. Gündoğan’s awkward touch rolled into the hands of Hungary stopper Péter Gulácsi, but it leaks out to Gündoğan, who taps the ball to Musiala, who taps the ball into an open net. 1-0.

Hungary fights back

Although most praise will go to the dominant Germans, Hungary played very well despite not holding most of the possession. They created several chances and even saw one of their goals overruled for offsides. If not for a brilliant performance from Neuer and a lack of vigor up top, Hungary could have taken a point (or three!) from the match.

Germany continued to extend its lead in the second half, with its second half going through Musiala again. It was Musiala who drifted into the half-spaces, receiving the ball with his back turned to goal with four Hungarian players converging on him. Musiala made an excellent turn to find Maximilian Mittelstädt open on the wing, who then squared it back to Gündoğan, who neatly slotted his shot to the bottom right corner. It was a nice moment for the Barcelona playmaker, who has always struggled on the international stage with Germany.

Hungary found it difficult to claw back from the two-goal deficit as Germany significantly slowed down their pace.

It seemed like Musiala was toying with Hungary throughout the match. The combination of intelligence and technicality allowed him to easily penetrate Hungary’s defense. Musiala could do anything he wanted to, almost magically. With a wave of the wand, he burst down the field, leaving defenders in his wake. Multiple chances were created. The offense stemmed through him.

He wowed viewers with a filthy nutmeg on Milos Kerkez (although the skill didn’t lead to anything). The Bayern winger completed 87% of his passes and made several deep trips into the box. He was also vital for link-up play and the key to Germany’s success in the Euros. Germany could very well win the Euros, with one of their youngest players in the squad making the biggest difference.

Important trips up next

Germany and Hungary face important games with their last match of the group stage.

They will face Switzerland in a top-of-the-table clash on Sunday. Germany is already through to the knockout round with their win over Hungary. A win or draw against Switzerland would make them group winners. Julian Nagelsmann, who just extended his contract with Germany, will look to go three for three in major tournaments.

Hungary will play Scotland, needing a win to go through in third. The Hungarians aren’t happy with the result, but they get one last chance to go through against an inconsistent Scotland side. “We have a foot out of the Euros, so we’re not out of it mathematically,” a blunt Rossi grumbled. “In the final game, we’ll try everything to win. We don’t want to exit without a single point. I don’t think we deserve to be on zero points at this stage of the competition.