Stakes will be high on Tuesday when defending champions Portugal visit Hungary for their Euro 2020 opener. Germany and France are also part of arguably the toughest group in the competition, so Cristiano Ronaldo and co. cannot afford to get it wrong against the Magyars.
Where and when: Ferenc Puskas Arena – 15 June, kick-off 17:00
Where you can see Hungary vs. Portugal: ITV
Last time: The last time those countries met was back in 2017 when they shared the same group in the World Cup qualifiers. Portugal trashed the Hungarians by 3-0 in Lisbon before earning a hard-fought 1-0 victory in Budapest in the return.
Hungary v Portugal Predictions and Preview
After catching the last train to Euro 2020, Hungary were drawn in the Group of Death alongside defending World Cup champions France, defending European champions Portugal and Germany.
The Magyars only made it to the tournament thanks to their second-place finish in their UEFA Nations League group, which granted them a place in the play-offs.
A dramatic 2-1 victory, thanks to a Dominik Szoboszlai winner against Iceland in the final play-off sealed Hungary’s qualification in November, but coach Marco Rossi has had to deal with some serious injury problems ever since.
Rossi’s biggest problem would be to find a replacement for Szoboszlai as the 20-year-old RB Salzburg midfielder didn’t recover in time. Another midfielder Kalmar Zsolt was also ruled out and this creates further problems.
Hungary’s gamelan is based on quick transitions and direct passing, but this will be hard to deliver without two of their best, so we can expect a more conservative approach against Portugal,
Rossi is expected to stick with his favored 3-5-2 with one of his center-backs, usually Willi Orban or Attila Szalai , attempting to carry the ball from defense when there is time and space. Captain Adam Szalai has 23 goals in 71 appearances for his country, so the veteran striker will be the main threat for Rui Patricio’s goal.
Hungary took the lead three times against Portugal at Euro 2016, but the game ended 3-3, thanks to a Cristiano Ronaldo brace. The Magyars will have the home advantage on Tuesday, so they’ll try to repeat their heroics from five years ago.
|Our Eurotips||Odds||Free bets||Bookie|
Portugal to win to nil
Portugal to win 1-0
Ronaldo to score first
All the pressure will be on Portugal after their Euro 2016 had now established them as one of Europe’s powerhouses. A win against Hungary is surely a must, so Fernando Santos is expected to go full-power from the first minute on Tuesday.
Unlike five years ago when Portugal had Cristiano Ronaldo, but little else up front, Santos can now count on the likes of Bruno Fernandes, Joao Felix, Andre Silva and Diogo Jota among others to support CR7.
Yet despite boasting one of the scariest attacks, Portugal have surprisingly been over-conservative at times, especially against big teams. Two 0-0 draws against Spain, another one against France, as well as a narrow 1-0 defeat against the World Champions in 2020 show that Santos has still not found the right balance.
Despite their limitations, Hungary remain a very capable side, especially defensively, while they’ll be extremely motivated in front of an ecstatic home crowd. All this suggests for a much closer encounter than many might think, but nevertheless placing a bet for a Portugal win at 1/2 remains the logical option.
One to watch for Hungary: 31-year-old goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi has been one of Hungary’s standout performers in recent years. The RB Leipzig shot-stopper is expected to have a busy night against Portugal, so he has to be at his absolute best if Hungary are about to steal a result in Budapest.
One to watch for Portugal: Cristiano Ronaldo scored 36 times for Juventus this season, while he has also netted four times against Hungary throughout his career. CR7 is a 15/8 to open the score on Tuesday and it is impossible to look beyond him as Portugal’s player to watch.
Long shot: Portugal have won by 1-0 two of their last three visits in Hungary. The hosts will try to upset the defending champions, so a tight affair might be on the cards. All this suggests that another 1-0 victory for Portugal might be on the cards so you can back that up by placing a bet at 9/2.