In what is, without question, Euro 2020’s ‘Group of Death’, Portugal and Hungary will be desperate to kickstart their respective campaigns in winning fashion, with meetings against reigning world champions France and 2014 World Cup winners Germany following later this month.
Portugal are, of course, the current European Championship holders, famously beating hosts France in the Euro 2016 showpiece, with surprise match-winner Eder netting the decisive goal, but just two nations have successfully defended their crowns (Germany and Spain).
Fernando Santos will no doubt harbour aspirations of adding Portugal to that exclusive two-nation club, but he could not have asked for tougher group stage opponents. That said, to be the best you have to beat the best, and as reigning champions, Selecao will have an aura of authority for these meetings.
As for Hungary, well the immediate forecast looks rather ominous, but football is played on grass and not spreadsheets, so the Magyars will be relishing the chance to pit their wits against sporting royalty, and with a defence as solid as theirs, with Willi Orban the chief rearguard orchestrator, there’s every chance of an upset.
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Hungary vs Portugal: Match Stats
Defensively, Marco Rossi’s side are quite formidable, boasting RB Leipzig duo Orban and Peter Gulacsi, the latter of whom mans the sticks with merit. In fact, since autumn’s international break, Hungary have kept seven clean sheets in 13 games, a commendable record on the international circuit. Portugal meanwhile boast one of Europe’s most ferocious frontlines, so Hungary will have to be switched on from minute one. Santos is perhaps a more pragmatic coach than some fans would like, but when the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo, Bruno Fernandes and Joao Felix get going, few defences will be able to stop the flow of goals.
Hungary vs Portugal: Corner Stats
Since the start of September’s Nations League, Hungary have registered 70 corners across all competitions at an average of just over five per game. Portugal meanwhile have fared slightly better in the set-piece department, racking up 80 at an average of nearly nine per game.
Hungary vs Portugal: Cards Stats
Incredibly, in that same timeframe, from the first international break in 2020/21 to this point, four of Portugal’s nine games have seen red cards, but none of those have gone in the direction of a Selecao player. True to form, referees have dished out just eight yellows to Portugal since September, at less than a card per game. Hungary, on the other hand, have picked up 28 in their 13 games, including a red card in the 3-3 draw with Poland in March, in which Attila Fiola was given his marching orders in the 94th minute.
03 Sep 2017 – Hungary 0-1 Portugal – World Cup qualifying
25 Mar 2017 – Portugal 3-0 Hungary – World Cup qualifying
22 Jun 2016 – Hungary 3-3 Portugal – Euro 2016
10 Oct 2009 – Portugal 3-0 Hungary – World Cup qualifying
09 Sep 2009 – Hungary 0-1 Portugal – World Cup qualifying
Portugal have never lost to Hungary, though they did find themselves down three times in Group F of Euro 2016. Every time Hungary got their noses in front, Portugal responded, with the match finishing 3-3. Goals from Zoltan Gera and a Balazs Dzsudzsak brace were cancelled out by Nani and twice by Ronaldo.