Hungary’s qualification to the knock-out round is a huge success and not many people expected that, but now it gets tricky. Their opponent is Belgium who haven’t yet performed at their peak, but they have a very talented team, and if they can overcome the psychological factor, they will win this match-up.
Hungary did an amazing job in the group stage, as they finished at the top of the group, which also featured Iceland, Portugal and Austria, but they also did that without losing. Before the tournament they wanted to have a decent presence in the group, however it was proven with their passion on the pitch that they deserve to be here. What kickstarted their campaign was the 2-0 victory against Austria in the premiere, which filled the players with confidence. In the second match against Iceland, they knew that a single point could see them through, and they got exactly that, after equalizing in the final minutes. In their final match against Portugal, they almost disqualified Portugal in an amazing 3-3 draw. The Hungarians were excellent in the offense, however Cristiano Ronaldo on the other side scored two goals to haul his team into the next round. The team is set very good on the field, but they are a much weaker team than Belgium, at least in theory. They are a very dangerous team that could easily pull an upset in this game. Their general attitude is much more calm and passionate than the Belgians.
Belgium who did not impress in their premiere against Italy, as they got entangled in the defensive tentacles of Italy and were defeated with 2-0. The defeat brought a lot of discomfort in the team, as it was known before the tournament that the expectations were high. Anyway, they reacted positively in their next match against Ireland, with the final 3-0 bringing some peace in the team. In the final group match against Sweden they played for the draw, however they managed to take all 3 points in an offensive outburst by Naingollan. In general, Belgium have too much potential as a group, and they still haven’t showed their maximum capabilities in any game so far. This puts pressure at coach Mark Wilmots, who receives negative criticism for not being able to manage Belgium’s most promising generation of players. The timing is perfect for a good performance, as they are in the weakest of two brackets, with Croatia or Portugal being their next opponents, should they proceed. The road to the final is extremely easy compared to the other bracket that features all the big names like Germany, Spain, Italy and England.
Hungary have stunned the soccer world with their performances so far, as they were the true underdogs in the group and they managed to qualify as first, and without even losing. They are now on high spirits and it wouldn’t be a surprise if they pulled an upset here. Belgium had some internal friction after the game loss to Italy, but the players pulled it together and with 2 straight wins they have now a big advantage of the easy bracket to the final. Hungary showed against Portugal that they can put up a fight so I expect them to do exactly that.
UEFA EURO Round of 16 Prediction: Hungary +1 (-152)