Hungary vs Portugal Preview

Ronaldo Portugal Hungary

Portugal and Hungary are familiar foes. In fact, very familiar. Five years ago — at Euro 2016 — they too were in the same group. It was also Group F. Five years later, we come full circle to watch them clash again.

The fixture at Parc Olympique Lyonnais half a decade ago was frantic. The eventual champions had to come from behind three times to salvage a point against the Magyars who went on to top the group that also included Iceland and Austria. The game ended 3-3.

Funnily enough, A Seleção finished third in that group before going on to lift the trophy. Iceland came second. Fernando Santos’ side went through as one of the four best third-placed teams — a rule that may be of huge importance this time around too.

In a group that also contains world champions France and Germany, every point will matter. The Hungarians — though respected — are seen as the minnows in a pool full of sharks. Each of the giants will be aiming to take the three points from the Magyars before clashing each other. But Marco Rossi’s side cannot be overlooked.

A well-organized unit, Hungary will carry the home-field advantage into battle as one of the host countries. Budapest’s Puskas Stadium is expected to have close to full capacity (approx. 65,000) in attendance during the group stage fixtures. And while both teams will have their fair share of support, the Hungarian voices will undoubtedly be heard.

Match Facts

Teams: Hungary vs. Portugal
Date: Tuesday, June 15
KO Time: 17:00
Competition: Euro 2020 — Group Stage
Stadium: Puskas Arena, Budapest, Hungary
Managers: Marco Rossi (HUN), Fernando Santos (POR)
Referee: Cüneyt Çakır (TUR)
VAR: Massimiliano Irrati (ITA)

Team News

An important notice to start with is that three of the four players who scored in the Euro 2016 fixture do not feature in either of the squads.

Two Hungarian legends in Zoltan Gera and Ballads Dzsudzsak (brace) were on the scoresheet in the 3-3 draw five years ago. The former is now retired and the latter did not receive a call-up from Marco Rossi.

For Portugal, two former Manchester United forwards helped A Seleção come from behind three times to rescue a point. Nani got the first and a double from Cristiano Ronaldo followed. United’s former No. 17 is no longer part of the national team set up and enjoying life over in the MLS. What Ronaldo has been up to needs no description.

Heading into their clash on Tuesday, both teams will have significant absentees.


The Hungarians — who play the role of hosts, literally and figuratively — will be missing their young talisman in Dominik Szoboszlai.

Photo Credit: The Athletic

The wonderfully talented 20-year-old booked Hungary’s ticket to the Euros with a last-minute winner in their playoff tie against Iceland. Unfortunately for the Magyars, the new RB Leipzig signing will not be at Rossi’s disposal due to an abductor injury sustained at the end of last year.


Fernando Santos’ Portugal squad looked healthy and firing heading into the tournament until just two days prior to their inaugural fixture. It has since been reported that right-back Joao Cancelo — who has just enjoyed a fantastic season for Manchester City — tested positive for Covid-19 and has been ruled out for the remainder of the competition. Manchester United’s Diogo Dalot has been called up in his place.

With that, Wolves’ Nelson Semedo should slot in as the first choice on the right side of A Seleção‘s defense. The rest of Santos’ side is fit and available for selection.

Players to Watch

With Portugal adopting the role of favorites, the Hungarians will likely be put on the back foot from the off. While looking for their chances on the break, their defensive Leipzig duo of Peter Gulacsi and Willi Orban will have to go above and beyond to keep the star-studded Portuguese attack from scoring.

Aside from Ronaldo — for whom this may very well be the last Euros — the Hungarians will have to have eyes in the back of their heads to keep tabs on all of Portugal’s attacking talent. Bruno Fernandes and Diogo Jota — who both enjoyed fine seasons in the Premier League — will undoubtedly take some of the goal-scoring burden off the Juventus forward.

Photo Credit: Eurosport

Recent Form

Both Portugal and Hungary are unbeaten in their last six fixtures (all competitions) — recording four wins and two draws in their respective games.

In their final two Euro 2020 warm-up fixtures, both nations were once again identical. Portugal drew 0-0 to Spain before thrashing Israel 4-0 in their last pre-tournament run out. The Magyars edged a 1-0 victory over Cyprus in their first preparation game before drawing 0-0 against the Republic of Ireland last week.

In head-to-head meetings, Hungary has never beaten Portugal before. And while that should fill the Portuguese with confidence, the Hungarians have become an uncomfortable opponent to play against in recent years.

In the comfort of their home stadium, Rossi’s side has only failed to score once out of 15 games during his tenure. So, while they will be looked as the ‘easiest’ opposition in the group on paper, Hungary will be determined to prove the doubters wrong and cause an upset in the group of death.

Predicted Line-ups

Hungary: Gulacsi; Fiola, Orban, At. Szalai; Lovrencsics, Kleinheisler, Nagy, Schafer, Holender; Sallai, Adam Szalai

Portugal: Patricio; Semedo, Pepe, Dias, Mendes; Moutinho, Carvalho, Fernandes; Silva, Jota, Ronaldo


Ultimately, every game of football lives its own fate. But with such a tough group stage campaign ahead, expect Portugal to come flying out of the gates — desperate to snatch the three points.

Hungary cannot be counted out. But Portugal has improved significantly since their Euro 2016 triumph. Man for man, their squads do not compare.

Historically, it’s difficult to blow any team out of the water at major competitions. This will be a well-contested game. But in the end, I expect Portugal to have too much for the Magyars to handle.

Score Prediction: Hungary 0-2 Portugal

Author: Arion Armeniakos

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