A whopping 50/1 with some bookmakers just to win Group F, Hungary are one of the rank outsiders in this summer’s European Championship despite enjoying home advantage in two group stage ties.
It’s not just their own limitations that sees them lumbered with a whipping-boys-in-waiting tag, of course: the Magyars are one quarter of the compulsory ‘Group of Death’, with Germany, Portugal and France providing fearsome opposition.
In partnership with UEFA, we continue our series of EURO 2020 articles by examining Hungary’s squad to see if any of their players can compete for a place in your Fantasy teams.
ROAD TO QUALIFICATION
To further underscore their underdog status, Hungary qualified for EURO 2020 despite finishing just fourth in a five-team group.
No country who made it through to this summer’s tournament racked up fewer points in qualifying than the not-so-mighty Magyars (12), who defeated only Wales and Azerbaijan in their group and ended up with a negative goal difference.
Hungary didn’t actually progress by the orthodox route, instead having to rely on their earlier exploits in the UEFA Nations League and subsequent play-off matches against Bulgaria and Iceland.
A paltry total of eight goals and two clean sheets in routine qualifying is a worry going into this summer’s championships but some improved form since then – including those two aforementioned play-off games – does offer Marco Rossi’s side a glimmer of hope.
HUNGARY’S EURO 2020 QUALIFICATION RECORD (EXCLUDING PLAY-OFF MATCHES)
|Played||Won||Drawn||Lost||Goals for||Goals against||Clean sheets|
After a fairly dismal 2019 in which they lost six of their 10 competitive matches, Hungary’s resurgence began with another successful Nations League campaign.
Rossi’s troops saw off Serbia, Russia and Turkey to finish top of their Nations League group last year, earning promotion to the highest tier ahead of the 2022/23 restart.
An unbeaten start in World Cup 2022 qualifying has continued the momentum but the Magyars hardly arrive at this summer’s tournament having been tested at the highest level, with San Marino, Andorra, Cyprus and the Republic of Ireland representing their last four opponents.
Cyprus and Ireland provided the opposition in Hungary’s two June friendlies, with Rossi’s mob scoring only once across those 180 minutes but keeping two clean sheets in the process.
Finding the back of the net indeed seems to be the major problem going into EURO 2020, with injury-related omissions of playmakers Dominik Szoboszlai and Zsolt Kalmár weakening the midfield and a fitness doubt surrounding Roland Sallai (€6.5m) up top.
HUNGARY’S MATCHES IN 2020 AND 2021 (INCLUDING TWO EURO 2020 PLAY-OFFS)
|Played||Won||Drawn||Lost||Goals for||Goals against||Clean sheets|
Formation wise, it’s nice and simple: having rolled out a back four during EURO 2020 qualification, Rossi has adopted a 3-5-2 from October 2020 onwards and stuck with it since.
EURO 2020 QUALIFYING STATS (INCLUDING PLAY-OFFS)
- Most starts: Peter Gulacsi, Adam Szalai (10), Willi Orban (9), Adam Nagy, Gergo Lovrencsics (8), Dominik Szoboszlai, Balazs Dzsudzsák (7), Roland Sallai (6)
- Most goals: Willi Orban (3), Mate Patkai, Dominik Szoboszlai (2)
- Most assists: Adam Szalai, Balazs Dzsudzsák (3)
- Goals scored: 13
- Goals conceded: 13
- Clean sheets: 2
THE KEY TARGETS
While there was a temptation to channel the spirit of Len Shackleton and leave this section blank, there are a couple of names to note among this Hungary squad.
One of their players, indeed, is the second-most owned midfield asset in the official EURO 2020 Fantasy game.
Loic Nego (€4.0m) sits in around 40% of squads at the time of writing, with his price – he is one of just three midfielders in this bargain-bin bracket – the primary reason for his popularity.
With automatic substitutions allowed in the official EURO 2020 game and ‘bench fodder’ perhaps less appealing as a result, his 39% ownership does seem excessive.
He’s not a regular starter, either, have made Rossi’s line-up in just three of the last 11 internationals that Hungary have played.
While impressing off the bench over the last week, the fact that Nego didn’t start either of his national side’s June warm-up matches underlines the rotation risk status.
Up top, captain Ádám Szalai (€6.0m) is Hungary’s leading scorer, although one goal in 35 league appearances for current club Mainz does again highlight where the Magyars’ main problems are at present.
Indeed, their leading scorer in qualification was a centre-half.
The impressive Willi Orban (€4.5m) is the likeliest source of goals at the back and has found the back of the net on five occasions in 22 international appearances, with a further four arriving for RB Leipzig in 2020/21 alone.
The low chance of clean sheets will probably deter many from going anywhere near the Hungarian backline but first-choice custodian Peter Gulacsi (€4.5m) will at least rack up the save points in the Group of Death.
Many of the above names could very well have appeared in this category, such are the low expectations of this group of players this summer.
On top of Nego, Hungary could well provide us with a handful of starting €4.0m defenders.
Attila Fiola (€4.0m), Bendeguz Bolla (€4.0m) and Akos Kecskes (€4.0m) started at left wing-back, right wing-back and right centre-half respectively in their nation’s final warm-up match against Ireland, a game in which the starting XI looked more like what we would expect to see against Portugal on Tuesday.
FANTEAM PRICE CORNER
Hungary are even more affordable in FanTeam’s EURO 2020 game, with not a single asset listed above €4.5m.
Every single one of their defenders and goalkeepers come in at €4.0m, while potential midfield starters like Andras Schafer, Laszlo Kleinheisler and Adam Nagy are all available at this price, too.
Roland Sallai at €4.0m is worth a mention, as well, given that he will be playing ‘out of position’ up front for his motherland if he proves his fitness in the coming days.
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