Lyon (AFP) – Surprise Group F leaders Hungary will look to prolong Cristiano Ronaldo’s misery in front of goal and secure first place when they face Portugal at Euro 2016 on Wednesday.
The Hungarians have raised eyebrows in France, backing up their 2-0 win over Austria with a 1-1 draw with Iceland, to top a group Portugal had been favourites to win.
Under German coach Bernd Storck, Hungary only need a point against Portugal to be sure of reaching the knockout phase.
“Who would have thought that we’d be top of the group with four points and that Portugal would need to win to qualify?” said Storck.
“We have nothing to lose, Portugal have to win.
“This is a big surprise for everyone and I can’t compliment my team enough.
“I’m enjoying myself, my team is enjoying the chance to face such top quality players and we hope it’s a journey which continues.”
Midfielder Gergo Lovrencsics said Hungary were desperate to hold on to top spot and avoid the likes of England, Spain and Germany in the last 16.
“I think I can speak for the team when I say we don’t want to let first place slip through our fingers,” he said.
In contrast, the misfiring Portuguese are under pressure and must win at the Stade de Lyon to be sure of qualifying.
They have scored just once in two games so far despite creating 50 chances over the course of their 1-1 draw with Iceland and goalless stalemate with Austria.
To compound Portugal’s struggles, Ronaldo hit the post with his second-half penalty against the Austrians.
Having become Portugal’s most capped player last Saturday, Ronaldo continues his wait for a goal that would see him become the first player to score in four European Championship finals.
“Everybody is always asking about Cristiano Ronaldo, but I don’t think he’s the only world-class player in their team,” insisted Storck.
“We need to be compact, everyone needs to fight for each other, be brave and we have to play our own game.
“It’s not just about their number seven.
“They haven’t been able to put away their chances in their first two games, so it will be tough.”
The Hungarians have no intention of letting the Real Madrid star write more football history.
“We really hope not, he’s their most dangerous player, but there is a lot of talent in this team and we think we have the antidote to deal with them,” added Lovrencsics.
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