Euro 2020 Group F: Champions Portugal begin title defense against Hungary

Portugal conceded just six goals during qualifying, keeping four clean sheets. They look well placed to kick off their Euro 2020 campaign in grand style against dark horses Hungary.

Pepe (left) and Cristiano Ronaldo (right) are the most experienced men in the current Portugal squad, Image credit: Twitter/Portugal

Portugal begin their defence of the Euro Championship crown with a Group F match against Hungary in Budapest on Tuesday. The presence of France and Germany in Group F means there is little margin for error for reigning champions Portugal. Meanwhile, Hungary will be hoping that home advantage at the Puskas Arena makes them far more than the whipping boys of the group.

Portugal qualified for UEFA Euro 2020 by clinching an automatic berth. They were made to work hard in their qualifying campaign, finishing runners-up behind Ukraine.

Hungary had to take the scenic route to qualify for the Euro for only the fourth time in their history. They only managed a fourth-place finish in a Group E in the qualifiers but earned the ticket to the playoffs on the back of their exploits in the UEFA Nations League.

THE REIGNING CHAMPIONS – PORTUGAL

Many would argue Portugal were far from the best side at Euro 2016. But they somehow managed to go all the way. They head to this Euro 2020 with a stronger and more experienced squad and that’s bad news for Hungary.

Any team with Cristiano Ronaldo will always have a chance of challenging for titles, and Portugal can also count on Manchester United playmaker Bruno Fernandes to pull the strings in midfield.

Head coach Fernando Santos has an array of attacking talent, with the likes of Joao Felix, Bernardo Silva, Diogo Jota and Andre Silva. However, he is a pragmatic manager and can count on some top-quality defenders to steer his side into the competition.

The Premier League player of the Season, Ruben Dias was inspirational for Manchester City. He was incredible as they clinched the Premier League title and he will be hugely essential over the coming weeks for Portugal. Jose Fonte and Pepe are competing to partner Ruben Dias at the heart of the Portugal defence

Hungary are unbeaten in six matches on home soil. They play their opening two group games at the Puskas Stadium in Budapest. The home support could give them a much-needed extra boost.

KEY PLAYERS ARE MISSING FOR BOTH

Head coach Marco Rossi was handed a major setback heading into the tournament. Star midfielder Dominik Szoboszlai has missed the cut as he recovers from injury.

Like his counterpart in the Hungary dugout, Fernando Santos also received a major blow heading into the first match. Joao Cancelo had to withdraw his name from the Portugal squad after testing positive for the coronavirus. Diogo Dalot is set to take his place.




WRITTEN BY
Sportslumo Desk

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