Euro 2020 opposition watch: Hungary

Over the next three days PortuGOAL will be running the rule over Portugal’s three Group F opponents at Euro 2020.

The Seleção kick off their campaign against Hungary in Budapest on 15 June, in front of what will be a capacity crowd at the Puskás Aréna.

Hungarian football expert Tomasz Mortimer gives us the lowdown on the Magyars. 


Ones to watch - Who are Hungary’s star players?

Hungary’s star man is Dominik Szoboszlai but unfortunately he’s had to pull out through injury, so the stars now lay are at the back for Hungary. Willi Orban, the RB Leipzig captain, is a magnificent defender who’s coming off at great season in Germany - he even made WhoScored’s team of the season for Europe’s top 5 leagues. Alongside him Attila Szalai is excellent too - a defender who has everything, he’s had great term with Fenerbache and has been linked to a number of big clubs across Europe.


Strong points/weak points – what must Portugal beware of and what can they exploit?

Hungary’s biggest strength is their togetherness, cohesiveness and tactical nous. A lot of international sides can look ramshackle and thrown together, but Hungary play almost like a club side and this makes them a difficult proposition for anyone.

The biggest weak point is their attacking threat. Hungary’s squad has a distinct lack of goals in it - only Adam Szalai has double figures - and there is a real lack of flair too without Szoboszlai and Zsolt Kalmar who also misses out through injury. If Hungary go behind in any game, you don’t fancy them to get back into it


Formation and playing style – what system do Hungary usually play? Would you describe them generically as an attacking or a defensive team?

5-3-2 is almost always the setup. It’s very much a defensive first approach, get men behind the ball, then play through midfield and try to counter. They’ve been very effective at doing this too, and caused huge problems against Poland in March and in the Nations League last year against Turkey, Russia and Serbia where they won the group.


Mood in the camp – do you think Hungary come into the Portugal match in a confident frame of mind?

The mood in the camp is very upbeat and confident despite the tough group. The blow to Szoboszlai is a big one, but Hungary have managed without him well in the past and the results since the outbreak of Covid have been super impressive against some decent sides. 


What was the reaction in the Hungarian media to the Euro 2020 draw?

So Hungary already knew before their playoff who they were going to face should they qualify, so it was a just a case of “We’re happy to be there” rather than one of doom and gloom. Plus I think the fans are just excited by the prospect. Major tournaments aren’t a common thing for Hungarian fans, so to see Hungary face up against Europe’s best sides on the biggest stage is a pretty cool thing. Plus, two of the games will be at home which makes it even better.


What will the result of Hungary-Portugal be?

I’m going for a 1-1. I was very confident that Hungary could get a victory before the Szoboszlai injury news, but I still think with home advantage and the enthusiasm that’s coursing through Hungary their veins right now, I think we can get something from this game. But it’s going to be very difficult and we will need some luck. Everyone knows Portugal have so many players that can hurt us, we just need to do our best to keep them quiet


Our thanks to Tomasz. To keep track of all things Hungarian football be sure you follow him on Twitter @TomaszMortimer.


Related: Euro 2020 opposition watch - Germany

Related: Euro 2020 opposition watch - France