BUDAPEST, 14 June 2021: Portugal kicks off their EURO 2020 Group F campaign against hosts Hungary at the Puskas Arena here on Tuesday. The defending champions would be eager to light up the stage with a win. Hungary is coming on the back of an 11-game unbeaten run stretching back to September 2020. Likewise, Portugal is yet to taste a loss in six games following a 1-0 reverse to France last year.

Hungary, ranked 37th in the world, would be cursing their luck to be drawn in the group of death. They reside in Group F along with world champions France, Portugal, and Germany.

However, Hungary are a tough nut to crack when it comes to competitive matches and this makes the tie a tad interesting.

A history of the rivalry

Portugal and Hungary have faced off as many as 13 times, with Portugal winning 9 of them. Hungary are yet to taste victory in this fixture while 4 encounters ended in stalemates. Among the most recent match-ups, Portugal managed to get the better of Hungary in both WC 2018 qualifying games. In the 2016 edition, Portugal managed to stage a comeback led by Cristiano Ronaldo to draw 3-3 against them. They progressed into the next round by the finest of margins and rode all the way to become champions. 

Five key aspects to look forward to

  • Portugal will be desperate to kickstart their campaign with a victory. Being drawn with France and Germany in the same group, they’d be aiming to pick maximum points against Hungary.
  • Hungary, on the other hand, will be looking forward to causing a major upset with their attractive style of play. They would look to impress in only their second major tournament since 1986.
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  • Portugal coach Fernando Santos will once again rely on Cristiano Ronaldo to bring up the goals. His midfield is also stacked with Bruno Fernandes, Ruben Neves, and Joao Moutinho.
  • Portugal has a lot of options in attack and midfield with Joao Felix, Bernardo Silva, and Andre Silva in the squad. The provision of 5 substitutions would be instrumental as Portugal possesses massive squad depth.
  • Hungary would be targeting an outside chance to grab a spot in the knockouts if they manage to upset the Portuguese. Portugal, on the other hand, would target the top spot in Group F and avoid a potential pre-quarter-final clash with England or the Netherlands.

Key battles

Bruno Fernandes vs Adam Nagy

This midfield battle will be a decider in how things pan out in the match. Bruno Fernandes has been in terrific form of late, breaking Frank Lampard’s goalscoring record in a single PL season. He also scored a brace in Portugal’s 4-0 warm-up win over Israel. Once again, the responsibilities of creating chances would fall on him. Nagy, on the other hand, has been in fine form for Bristol City. His duty would be to cut off the Portuguese supply lines in midfield and move the game forward in Hungary’s favor. The Hungarian attacking lineup is lethal with players like Roland Sallai and veteran Adam Szalai.

Image via Twitter
Cristiano Ronaldo vs Willi Orban

The Portuguese legend, Cristiano Ronaldo, is the highest active international goalscorer with 104 goals. He’ll be well supported by Diogo Jota in attack, with Bruno Fernandes pulling the strings in midfield. The former Real Madrid legend needs one more goal to become the highest-ever goalscorer at the Euros, breaking Michel Platini’s record. He’ll be up against the resolute Willi Orban, who has been an important cog of RB Leipzig’s backline for the past few seasons.

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