KEIR RADNEDGE in STUTTGART —- Count Miksa Eszterházy, László Kosztovics and Manó Szaffka would never have believed it. The sport they pioneered more than a century ago in Hungary has today drawn a live audience of 60,000 with millions watching around the world.

The trio were among the pioneers of football in Hungary and who are currently being honoured in a Budapest exhibition timed to coincide with the UEFA Euro finals in Germany. Unfortunately the current generation of players may soon be visiting the exhibition in person sooner than they had planned.

A 2-0 defeat by Germany in Stuttgart assured the hosts a place in the knockout stage while Hungary, with no points, risk an early flight home even if they beat Scotland in their final Group A match.

Germany v Hungary . . . historic rivalry brought up-to-date

Hungary’s rivalry with Germany now boasts 38 matches stretching back to a 3-3 draw in the Hungarian capital in 1909. No such sharing the spoils this time after Hungary proved their own worst enemies following a bright start. In the 22nd minute defender Willi Orban slipped under pressure from Ilkay Gundogan, flying feet could not clear the danger and on-song Jamal Musial did the rest.

Hungary refused, admirably, to be cowed. A Dominik Szoboslai free kick drew a fine save from Manuel Neuer and Hungary’s captain had a drive deflected for a corner by Jonathan Tay. Rolland Sallai even headed into the net but was denied by an offside flag.

Germany coach Julian Nagelsmann did not wait long in the second half before ringing the changes to force the result with Niclas Fullkrug and Leroy Sane replacing Florian Wirtz and Kai Havertz.

Nagelsmann was rewarded in the 69th minute when Gundogan, Germany’s captain and man of the match, converted Max Mittelstadt’s perfectly-judged cross from the left.

Germany have a 100pc record, though being by no means perfect. Their defending can be ragged and their passing inexact; goalkeeper Manuel Neuer was fortunate to escape after dropping a late cross at the feet of Martin Adam. But they go forward with ever-increasing skill and belief and have valuable options to bring off the bench.

The rivalry with Hungary? Not only 2-0 on the day but now 14-12 over 115 years, with 12 draws.