Cristiano Ronaldo (center) and his teammates would like to defend the European title
Photo: HUGO DELGADO / EPA
Hungary: The defense wants to annoy the big ones
Nobody expected that Hungary would set off an offensive fireworks display at the European Championship (at 6 p.m. against Portugal; TV: ZDF; Stream: MagentaTV). But the surprise round of 16 from 2016 is forced on the defensive this time simply because of the personnel circumstances: The only offensive exceptional talent of the squad, Leipzig midfielder Dominik Szoboszlai, missed the tournament injured. Then there is the motto: Against the last two world champions and the current European champions, the Hungarians will hardly get out of their own penalty area.
Fortunately for him, it is precisely there that coach Marco Rossi's team has the greatest individual quality.
Szoboszlai's club colleagues Péter Gulácsi and Willi Orbán have Champions League experience in goal and central defense, Orbán's 23-year-old man Attila Szalai recently made his breakthrough with a strong second half of the Turkish Süper Lig at Fenerbahce.
So it is within the realm of the imaginable that the Hungarian defense holds tight and the outsider in the »death group« F can tip the scales.
In addition, the games against Portugal and France take place in the Puskás Aréna, so the Hungarians play at home - and are even allowed to do so in front of full stands in the stadium, which can accommodate around 65,000 spectators, due to relatively lax corona rules.
The Hungarians also hope for the example of the EM 2016: At that time they defied the eventual tournament winner Portugal in the group 3: 3.
Five years later, however, only striker Ádám Szalai from the starting line-up is still part of the regular line-up, the Mainz player will lead the Hungarian team as captain on the field.
Portugal: is Ronaldo no longer inviolable?
The Portuguese want to defend their title from 2016 - and have a significantly improved squad available for this.
Once Portugal snuck through the preliminary round with three draws and fought their way through the knockout phase to the title, now a whole arsenal of world-class players shines alongside superstar Cristiano Ronaldo.
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They even shine so much that national coach Fernando Santos "CR7" denied its inviolability in the run-up to the tournament. "Cristiano is not a player who does a lot defensively," Santos told the public broadcaster RTP. You don't want that from Ronaldo either - Santos didn't want to say a guarantee that he would always be on the pitch.
The status of the captain, record national player and goal scorer is unlikely to be in serious danger.
Rather, Santos' words speak for competition and luxury by storm: Frankfurt's André Silva scored 28 times in the past season, but is only a wild card.
Pedro Gonçalves, 22 goals from midfield for Portugal champions Sporting - a bench player.
Not even João Félix, »Golden Boy« 2019, Spanish champion with Atlético 2021, is sure to have a regular place.
Presumably, the Premier League stars Bernardo Silva, Bruno Fernandes and Diogo Jota Ronaldo will be able to feed Ronaldo with templates.
Portugal is most likely to have quality gaps in the playful part of the double six.
The creative full-backs usually catch it - but one of them, João Cancelo, will be missing at the start: He tested positive for the corona virus.