Hungary will be making their fourth appearance at a European Championship this summer as they serve as one of 11 host countries for Euro 2020.
While hopes are low for the Hungarians given their place in a ‘group of death’ alongside world champions France, European champions Portugal and juggernauts Germany, the lack of expectations means there is no pressure on the Group F underdogs.
In 2016, Hungary managed their best Euros performance in 40 years, topping their group in France before suffering a comprehensive last-16 defeat by Belgium, but their first round was easier to navigate than it is expected to be this summer. Hungary’s coach at the time, Bernd Storck, led his side to a 2-0 victory over Austria, a 1-1 draw against Iceland and – most impressively – a 3-3 draw with Portugal. While none of those opponents were going to be walkovers, Austria and Iceland of course lack the credentials of France and Germany – while Portugal will be out to improve upon their result against the Hungarians from five years ago.
Hungary, however – now with Italian Marco Rossi in charge – will benefit from the lack of pressure on their shoulders, as well as the fact that they will be playing in front of home fans in Budapest in their first two games before travelling to Munich to take on Germany in their last match of the first round.
While the Hungary squad will be unfamiliar to many neutral fans, former Liverpool goalkeeper Adam Bogdan may be a familiar name. Rossi, the third different manager Hungary have had since Euro 2016, also has a contingent of Bundesliga players to call upon; there is Peter Gulacsi of RB Leipzig and the goalkeeper’s club team-mate Willi Orban, captain and striker Adam Szalai of Mainz, and Freiburg forward Roland Sallai. Some English observers may also recognise Adam Nagy from the midfield of Championship club Bristol City. Unfortunately for Rossi, Leipzig’s Dominik Szoboszlai – Hungary’s star man – withdrew from the squad due to injury.
Group F fixtures
All times BST
Tuesday 15 June, 5pm: Hungary vs Portugal – Budapest
Saturday 19 June, 2pm: Hungary vs France – Budapest
Wednesday 23 June, 8pm: Germany vs Hungary – Munich
Goalkeepers: Ádám Bogdán (Ferencváros), Dénes Dibusz (Ferencváros), Péter Gulácsi (Leipzig).
Defenders: Bendegúz Bolla (Fehérvár), Endre Botka (Ferencváros), Attila Fiola (Fehérvár), Ákos Kecskés (Lugano), Ádám Lang (Omonia Nicosia), Gergő Lovrencsics (Ferencváros), Loïc Négo (Fehérvár), Willi Orbán (Leipzig), Attila Szalai (Fenerbahçe).
Midfielders: Tamás Cseri (Mezőkövesd), Dániel Gazdag (Philadelphia Union), László Kleinheisler (Osijek), Ádám Nagy (Bristol City), András Schäfer (Dunajská Streda), Dávid Sigér (Ferencváros), Kevin Varga (Kasımpaşa), Roland Varga (MTK Budapest).
Forwards: János Hahn (Paks), Filip Holender (Partizan), Nemanja Nikolić (Fehérvár), Roland Sallai (Freiburg), Szabolcs Schön (FC Dallas), Ádám Szalai (Mainz).
Ones to watch
In RB Leipzig goalkeeper Gulacsi, Hungary have genuine quality between the posts.
Up front, they have a Bundesliga veteran in captain Szalai, who – at 33 – may be stepping out at a major tournament for the last time.
Odds to win tournament
Hungary are 400/1 to win Euro 2020.
Hungary face a tough, tough task to get past the group stage here. Of course, the opportunity to go through as a third-placed finisher gives them a chance, but it is more likely that the Hungarians will prove to be a nuisance to Germany, Portugal or both, without costing either a spot in the knockout stages and without really troubling France.
Hungary to be eliminated in the group stage.
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