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Euro 2016 profile: Hungary just happy to be back on big stage


The Magyars may not be so magical anymore, but make a welcome return to the big stage after many years in the doldrums.

We’re profiling all 24 teams that will be competing in France, so punters will have an expert view as Europe’s finest compete this summer.

This time we focus on Hungary, appearing in the finals for the third time after a 44-year absence from the tournament.

The Magyars now face a competitive Group F comprised of Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal, Iceland and Austria with 888 Sport having them at top odds of 2/1 to qualify for the knockout phase.

History at the Euros: Hungary qualified for Euro 1964 which was hosted in Spain. The Magyars played against the hosts in the semi-finals of the tournament, losing 2–1 to La Roja after extra time. The only Hungarian goal was scored by Ferenc Bene, a player that finished his club career with an outstanding 303 goals in 417 domestic games for Budapest club Ujpest.

Hungary qualified for Euro 1972 which was held in Belgium. In the semi-finals they played the Soviet Union and lost 1–0.

The nation finished third in 2016 qualifying Group F behind Northern Ireland and Romania; however, scoring was a real problem. Netting only 11 goals in 10 games, the defence was a crucial part of their qualification. The back-line was solid and held firm in the 3-1 aggregate play-off victory over Norway.

Head coach: Bernd Storck was promoted from the Under-20s with four games of their qualifying group remaining, replacing Pal Dardai who quit to focus on club commitments coaching high-flying Hertha Berlin.

The manager was brought in to restructure Hungarian football with the goal of qualifying for Euro 2020. Years ahead of schedule, the Magyars achieved their goal in a project he called the ‘decade of revival’.
Boylesports offer a best-price of 9/2 for Hungary ro finish second in their Euro 2016 pool.

Key player: Captain Balazs Dzsudzsak is key to Hungary if they are to progress. The tricky left winger scored 44 in 114 Eredivisie appearances, and was set for a big move after being linked to Roma and Spurs, but transferred to the briefly wealthy Anzhi Makhachkala in 2011.

Now with Bursaspor, Dzsudzsak possesses pace and great crossing ability to trouble full backs.

Rising star: Werder Bremen’s Laszlo Kleinheisler shoots with ferocity and can control the game well in the centre of the park.

The midfielder is nicknamed ‘Scholes’ by his teammates, due to his ginger hair rather than unpredictable tackling tendencies.

Wildcard: Ex-Premier League veteran Zoltan Gera, now playing for Ferencvaros, has 24 in 87 caps for his country and could be a familiar face to look out for this summer.

Gera, who turns 37 before the tournament, still remains a threat in the air and has good playmaking qualities

Confirmed Hungary Euro 2016 fixtures:
All kick-offs are British Summer time (BST)
Tuesday, June 14th: Austria v Hungary (17:00); Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux, Bordeaux, ITV
Saturday, June 18th: Iceland v Hungary (17:00); Stade Velodrome, Marseille, BBC
Wednesday, June 22nd: Portugal v Hungary (17:00); Parc Olympique Lyonnais, BBC

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