Portugal will be looking to win their second European Championship in succession this summer, and Fernando Santos’ side open their Euro 2020 campaign with a clash against Hungary at the Ferenc Puskas Arena in Budapest. In what is definitely a crucial tie for both sides due to the nature of the group they have found themselves in, both sides will be determined to make a strong start come Tuesday.
Now with a new manger at the helm of affairs, Hungary will be hoping they can top their best ever finish at the Euros in 1964, a tournament which saw a star-studded Hungary side, led by the “Galloping Major” Ferenc Puskas, finish third. They continued their success throughout the 60s and even climbed as high as 4th place ten years later at the 1974 tournament. But then it all came crashing down for Hungary, and they suffered a long 42 year absence from Europe’s most prestigious competition. Then in 2016, led by a German tactician Bernd Storck, Hungary made it to the Euros and subsequently finished top in a group that had Tuesday’s opponent and eventual tournament winners Portugal.Embed from Getty Images
A match that ended 3-3 in that group was nothing short of entertainment, as it took Cristiano Ronaldo to dig into his ever reliable bag of tricks to save Portugal from despair. Hungary’s fine run in the tournament would be short-lived, and was eventually ended by Belgium in the Round of 16, by a thumping 4-0 scoreline.
Coming to this edition of the Euros, and under new gaffer Marco Rossi, the boys from Budapest, who are currently on a 11 game unbeaten run, will hope to continue their fantastic form.
Portugal on the other hand will hope to defend their title – a title that they won against all odds in 2016. Now boasting a stronger squad, Portugal will hope to depend less on their all time goal scorer Cristiano Ronaldo. With quality squad depth available to Fernando Santos in the form of Bruno Fernandes, Joao Felix and Bernardo Silva, Portugal are one of the favorites to go all out for the title.
TEAM NEWS/ HEAD -2- HEADEmbed from Getty Images
Both teams head into the match without star players. The key absentee for the Hungarians will be RB Leipzig midfielder, Dominik Szoboszlai, who never played a game for the German club after arriving in January. For Portugal, their news is perhaps even more devastating. Due to a positive Covid-19 test, in form Manchester City right back Joao Cancelo is set to miss Tuesday’s fixture (and the tournament). He has subsequently been replaced with uncapped Milan defender Diogo Dalot in the squad. This is a massive blow for Portugal, who we declared had the best defense at the tournament prior to Cancelo’s unfortunate illness. But nevertheless, with an array of talent at his disposal and evergreen Cristiano Ronaldo still an X-Factor, Portugal will hope to run riot over the Hungarians.
The last 3 meetings between both sides have ended in a draw and 2 wins for the Selecaos, and has also seen Cristiano Ronaldo pick up all 3 player of the match awards. Though yet to meet under new manager Marco Rossi, Hungary hopes to put an end to this relatively terrible run against Fernando Santos’ team.
POSSIBLE STARTING XI’s
Gulacsi; Fiola, Orban, Att. Szalai; Lovrencsics, Kleinheisler, Nagy, Schafer, Holender; Sallai, Ad. Szalai
Patricio; Semedo, Dias, Pepe, Guerreiro; Danilo, W Carvalho, Fernandes; Bernardo, Ronaldo, Jota
The match promises to be an exciting encounter, as both sides will be looking to go all out for the victory. Given the nature of their group, a win will be the only satisfactory result for either team.
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