Hungary v Portugal: Ronaldo focusing on retaining title rather than historic high five

By Sports Desk June 14, 2021

Cristiano Ronaldo wants defending champions Portugal to make a statement in their Group F opener against Hungary as he prepares to make history at Euro 2020.

Ronaldo will become the first player to feature in five European Championships in front of a crowd of around 65,000 at the Puskas Arena on Tuesday,

The legendary Juventus forward needs only one goal to be the outright leading goalscorer in the competition, as he is currently level with Michel Platini with nine.

Portugal captain Ronaldo is also only one appearance shy of going out on his own as the European player with the most appearances at major tournaments - currently sharing a record of 38 with Bastian Schweinsteiger.

The 36-year-old says retaining the trophy is at the forefront of his mind and knows Portugal must make a strong start in Budapest, with France and Germany their other opponents in such a tough group.

He said: "I'm not overwhelmed. It's a good record but more important than this is to win back-to-back European Championships. The team is quite well and working great.

"Since our first training sessions, the team has been great and we are all ready. Tomorrow I hope we can start on the right foot.

"It's important that we start with a victory, the crowd will be on their side, but it's good to play in front of a crowd. We are going to enjoy this and, as I said, the team is ready."

Hungary led Portugal three times in a 3-3 draw at Euro 2016, Ronaldo scoring a second-half brace in a thriller.

The holders, who lost Joao Cancelo for the tournament due to a positive coronavirus test and replaced him with Diogo Dalot, are unbeaten in 13 games against Hungary - winning nine and drawing four.

Hungary should not be short of confidence, though, as they come into the tournament without being beaten in nine competitive matches.

 

PLAYERS TO WATCH

Hungary – Willi Orban

Centre-back Willi Orban was Hungary's top scorer in their Euro 2020 qualifying campaign, with all three of his goals coming from set-pieces.

Among defenders, only Mats Hummels (129 for Borussia Dortmund) won more aerial duels than Orban's 108 for RB Leipzig in the Bundesliga last season.

Portugal – Bruno Fernandes

Bruno Fernandes can have a huge say in whether Portugal retain the title.

The Manchester United midfielder created more goalscoring chances than any other Premier League player with 95 last season. He also scored twice and laid a goal for Ronaldo in Portugal's final warm-up game, a 4-0 rout of Israel.

 

KEY OPTA FACTS

- Portugal are bidding to become the second team to win back-to-back, a feat also achieved by Spain in 2008 and 2021.
- Hungary were unbeaten in the group stages in their last appearance at the European Championship (W1 D2 in 2016).
- Portugal have failed to win their opening game in the past five major tournaments, drawing three times and losing twice. Their last opening game victory was at Euro 2008 against Turkey (2-0).
- The defending champions are the only team to reach the knockout stages of the European Championship in each of the previous six editions.

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