Last year was a great one for Italy as they won Euro 2020, beating England on penalties at Wembley, but they have not had the best of times since lifting the trophy. Roberto Mancini’s side have won just three matches since the end of Euro 2020, drawing five and losing two – with one of the defeats coming in the 2020/21 Nations League semi-final to Spain.
However, the biggest defeat came in their first game of 2022 as they were beaten 1-0 by North Macedonia in World Cup qualifying, meaning the four-time champs will miss the World Cup for the second consecutive tournament. After recovering to beat Turkey in a friendly, Italy returned to action this month by losing the 2022 Finalissima (between the European and South American champions) 3-0 to Argentina, before drawing 1-1 with Germany in their opening Nations League match.
Hungary will also miss the World Cup in Qatar after finishing fourth in their qualifying group, three points behind second-placed Poland, but they do have reasons to be positive. The damage in World Cup qualifying was done in their earlier matches and Hungary go into this game with four wins and one draw from their past six matches.
The run started with a 1-1 draw against England at Wembley in which they took the lead through a penalty and continued with wins over San Marino, Poland and Northern Ireland – the latter in a friendly after losing to Serbia. But the big win came at the weekend, as another penalty was enough for Hungary to shock Euro 2020 runners-up England, placing Marco Rossi’s side top of Group A3.
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Italy vs Hungary match stats
Mancini has named a fairly rotated squad for the Uefa Nations League matches, with Gianluca Scamacca given an opportunity to lead the line. Despite not finding the net, the Sassuolo striker was a busy boy against a tough Germany defence, taking four shots with one on target. As Hungary are set to be even tougher, Scamacca could find himself taking more speculative shots that could hit the target.
Italy haven’t been the best defensively, conceding in seven of their past eight games across all competitions, only keeping a clean sheet in a goalless draw with Northern Ireland at the end of their World Cup qualifying group stage campaign. At the same time, Hungary have only failed to score in one of their past six matches, the aforementioned 1-0 friendly defeat to Serbia.
6 October 2001 – Italy 1-0 Hungary – World Cup qualifying
3 October 2000 – Hungary 2-2 Italy – World Cup qualifying
1 June 1996 – Hungary 0-2 Italy – Friendly
1 May 1991 – Italy 3-1 Hungary – European Championship qualifying
Hungary won the last meeting between these two sides but that 3-1 victory came way back in 2007 when Roland Juhasz, Zoltan Gera and Robert Feczesin overturned Antonio Di Natale’s opener to secure a priceless win over the reigning world champions.