The defending champions Portugal are one of the favourites for the tournament, and they begin their campaign against Hungary in Budapest. With a full capacity stadium allowed, Hungary will have a lot of home support, but Portugal clearly possesses better players. In this article, we will predict Portugal’s playing 11 and tactics versus Hungary.
In football, tactics and playing 11 are often decided on the basis of opponents. Hence, we will first take a brief look at Hungary’s formation and key players.
Last year, Hungary topped a tough Nations League group which included Russia, Turkey and Serbia. Dominik Szoboszlai’s absence will undoubtedly affect them as he is their main force in midfield. However, they do possess a decent defense and play a 3-5-2 formation.
Hungary also played out a thrilling 3-3 draw in the EURO 2016 against Portugal. Willi Orban of Leipzig will be their key player as he scores rather frequently for a center-back.
Portugal’s playing 11
Goalkeeper : Rui Patricio
The word under-rated is a perfect fit for Patricio as his heroic performances often goes unnoticed. In The EURO 2016 final would have been easily won by France if not for his solid saves throughout the game. He will be a calm presence between the sticks and will be the last man to do anything silly under pressure
Defenders : Nelson Semedo, Ruben Dias, Jose Fonte, Raphael Guerreiro
With Cancelo testing positive for COVID-19, Semedo will get the chance to start at right-back. Semedo has a lot of pace but does leave a lot of space behind, during his forward runs. He is also a good dribbler and can beat anyone in a 1v1 situation.
Ruben Dias is coming off a terrific season for Manchester City and will be the first name in Portugal’s playing 11. He swept the PL end of the season awards for almost single-handedly sorting out Manchester City’s defensive woes. Lille surprised everyone by winning the league title and Jose Fonte played a pivotal role in their victory. Fonte is a late bloomer and it must be said that he has grown in stature with every passing season.
Raphael Guerreiro is one of the best left-backs in the world and he had another very good season with Dortmund. Although he is known for his attacking contributions, he always ups his defensive game when playing for Portugal.
Midfielders : Ruben Neves and Danilo Pereira
Wolves had a torrid campaign, but Neves was rock solid as a defensive midfielder through the season. He also has a knack for scoring unbelievable goals, which could come in handy in tight games. Danilo Pereira is expected to partner him in a double pivot. Danilo is a strong and imposing midfielder who can also play a box-to-box role.
Forwards : Bernardo Silva, Bruno Fernandes, Cristiano Ronaldo and Diogo Jota
Not many teams have a better forward line and Portugal have an added advantage of in-form players too. Jota has become a fan favourite at Anfield and has firmly established himself as a starter for Portugal. For a short guy, Jota has an impressive header in his armoury which often surprises the opposition.
Bernardo Silva has enjoyed a career renaissance after warming the bench for much of the 19/20 season. He combines his dribbling skills with a solid work ethic and can provide killer balls in set-piece situations. Bruno Fernandes and Cristiano Ronaldo do not need an introduction and if they combine well during attacks, Portugal can beat any side in the world.