UEFA Euro 2020

Hungary Euro 2020 preview: Key players, strengths, weaknesses and expectations

Max Parsons
Hungary line up before a Euro 2020 qualifier in Wales
Hungary line up before a Euro 2020 qualifier in Wales / Stu Forster/Getty Images

The group of death. It sounds horrible, it looks horrible and, for the underdog, it almost inevitably will be completely and utterly horrible.

Unfortunately for Hungary, when they qualified for this summer's delayed Euro 2020 tournament via the playoffs, they were put into Group F to compete (well, you know what we mean) alongside France, Germany and Portugal. But despite that outrageously gruelling line up, all optimism is not lost among Hungarians.

After all, no one gave them a chance of even qualifying for Euro 2016 and, in a group with eventual winners Portugal, Austria and Iceland, they finished top, before exiting at the round of 16 stage. So don't write them off just yet - although, you can probably get the Tipp-ex ready.

Hungary v Belgium - Round of 16: UEFA Euro 2016
Hungarian fans at Euro 2016 / Richard Heathcote/Getty Images

In preparation for the hugely anticipated European Championships, here's the lowdown on Hungary.

Hungary's route to Euro 2020

It wasn't an almightily impressive qualifying group stage for the Hungarians, who managed four wins and four losses in their eight matches against Croatia, Slovakia, Wales and Azerbaijan. Despite finishing fourth in that group, they were granted the opportunity of qualifying for the actual tournament via the playoffs - thanks to their Nations League performance - which they grasped in dramatic fashion.

The playoff semi-final went down a breeze, with Hungary running out 3-1 winners over Bulgaria. The final, however, would be anything but calm. Gylfi Sigurdsson put opponents Iceland ahead in the 11th minute, which looked for the majority of the game like the winner.

However, an 88th minute equaliser from Loic Nego put the match back on level terms before starlet Dominik Szoboszlai found a winner in the second minute of stoppage time to send his country to Euro 2020.

Since their underwhelming qualification group stage campaign, Hungary have actually given fans reason to be very optimistic heading into this summer. They have found a lot of stability and have managed to go ten games unbeaten, winning seven of those.

Hungary's strengths

Marco Rossi's side will undoubtedly have to predominantly rely on solidity at the back and, with their back line's heart being an integral component of the Bundesliga's best defence, they're going about it the right way.

Rossi often favours a three-man defence with the central player being RB Leipzig captain Willi Orban, and in goal his club teammate Peter Gulacsi who kept a league-high 15 clean sheets throughout the 2020/21 campaign. With Leipzig conceding just 32 goals in 34 league games this term, that commanding partnership will have to be on top form to give the Hungarians a chance this summer.

Hungary will also have to make the most of set piece opportunities, from which they have shown they can cause problems. Orban will be the main threat for such situations, already registering five goals in 21 caps from central defence.

Hungary's weaknesses

Apart from the sheer misfortune of being pitted against France, Germany and Portugal, Hungary's main weakness will be in attack. It was revealed before the tournament that their creator-in-chief Szoboszlai would be absent through injury, inevitably meaning a lack of flair, creativity and thrust from midfield.

Domink Szoboszlai has not been included in the Hungary squad / JOE KLAMAR/Getty Images

Although captain Adam Szalai is a proven prolific marksman for the country (boasting 23 goals in 70 appearances), his ability to really affect matches in front of goal will surely be stifled without that flash of magic and cutting edge from midfield.

It's safe to say they will really need to take their chances.

Hungary's players to watch

Apart from the aforementioned Orban and Szalai, Hungary have a few young faces that will be very keen to make their mark on one of the world's biggest stages.

Roland Sallai
Roland Sallai in action for Freiburg / Matthias Hangst/Getty Images

Forward Roland Sallai, who can impact proceedings from anywhere across the front line, will be aiming to build on four goals in 22 caps on the back of an impressive 14 Bundesliga goal contributions tally for Freiburg during the 2020/21 campaign.

Rossi can also call upon 22-year old central midfielder Andras Schafer, who has scored once in his five caps so far. The Dunajska Streda man is inexperienced on the international stage but, in Szoboszlai's absence may be able to put himself in the spotlight for Hungary.

There is one cap-less player in Rossi's 26-man squad heading into the tournament, in the shape of Szabolcs Schon, who plies his trade in MLS for FC Dallas. The 20-year old, who has played on either wing or at left-back, managed 15 goal contributions in 32 games in Hungarian football this campaign before joining FC Dallas in May.

Hungary's final squad

Goalkeepers: Peter Gulacsi (RB Leipzig), Adam Bogdan (Ferencvaros), Denes Dibusz (Ferencvaros)

Defenders: Gergo Lovrencsics (Ferencvaros), Adam Lang (Omonia), Attila Fiola (Fehervar), Willi Orban (RB Leipzig), Attila Szalai (Fenerbahce), Endre Botka (Ferencvaros), Akos Kecskes (Lugano), Bendeguz Bolla (Fehervar)

Midfielders: Adam Nagy (Bristol City), Laszlo Kleinheisler (Osijek), Filip Holender (Partizan), David Siger (Ferencvaros), Loic Nego (Fehervar), Daniel Gazdag (Honved), Andras Schafer (Dunajska Streda), Tamas Cseri (Mezokovesd)

Forwards: Adam Szalai (Mainz), Nemanja Nikolic (Fehervar), Roland Sallai (Freiburg), Roland Varga (MTK Budapest), Kevin Varga (Kasimpasa), Janos Hahn (Paks), Szabolcs Schon (FC Dallas)

You can find every confirmed Euro 2020 squad here.

Hungary Euro 2020 predictions

Marco Rossi
Marco Rossi has a tough job on his hands / Laszlo Szirtesi/Getty Images

If Hungary get out of Group F, it will surely be one of the biggest upsets in European Championship history. It's an almost impossible task.

Rossi's side face world champions France, European champions Portugal and Germany, who look stronger than they have done in a while heading into Joachim Low's final tournament as Die Mannschaft boss.

While anything can happen in football, all three of Hungary's opponents have more - a lot more - than enough to break down their back line as well as keep out what could be a very lacklustre attack.

Football is played on grass and not paper, but this is surely too much for the Hungarians.

Predictions: Group stage

Hungary 0-2 Portugal
Hungary 0-3 France
Germany 2-0 Hungary