EURO Classics: Hungary 3-3 Portugal

Watch this dramatic UEFA EURO 2016 group decider in full on UEFA.tv – and get background here.

Finals debutants Hungary were already sure of a last-16 place, and held a two-point lead over Portugal after two UEFA EURO 2016 Group F games. They were expected to buckle against Cristiano Ronaldo's side in Lyon, but that did not happen.

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Context

EURO 2016 highlights: Austria 0-2 Hungary
EURO 2016 highlights: Austria 0-2 Hungary

Something of a novelty team after making it to the finals following a play-off win against Norway, Bernd Storck's Hungary had captured the imagination thanks in part to goalkeeper Gábor Király's tracksuit bottoms. However, they were certain of a knockout stage place after two games, and even rested some booked players against Portugal – who had drawn both their opening matches and were in serious danger of bowing out.

Key players

Cristiano Ronaldo: Fresh from leading Real Madrid to their 11th European Cup success, the forward failed to find the target in Portugal's Group F draws with Iceland and Austria, but was gearing up for his record 17th EURO finals appearance.

Zoltán Gera: A UEFA Europa League runner-up in 2010, the midfielder was back in Hungary with Ferencváros when he was selected – aged 37 – to be Hungary's vice-captain in France.

Nani: The former Manchester United winger had spent 2015/16 at Fenerbahçe and came into this group decider having scored Portugal's only EURO 2016 goal so far – in the 1-1 stalemate with Iceland.

What happened

All Cristiano Ronaldo's EURO goals
All Cristiano Ronaldo's EURO goals

Zoltán Gera's fabulous low half-volley opened the scoring in Lyon, but Portugal were back on terms by the break, Nani finishing off a tasty Cristiano Ronaldo through ball. However, Hungary were anything but cowed as they stretched the section favourites' defence.

Balázs Dzsudzsák put them back in front after half-time from a deflected free-kick. Ronaldo's flicked equaliser made him the first player to score at four different EUROs, and yet he had little time to crow, captain Dzsudzsák profiting from another deflection to make it 3-2. Ronaldo's header on 62 minutes restored parity again, this third straight draw squeezing Portugal through to the next phase as one of the four best third-placed finishers.

Reaction

Cristiano Ronaldo, Portugal forward: "This was an insane match. Three times we were going home and we had to chase the result. It was very hot, but we made it through."

Fernando Santos, Portugal coach: "This is what Cristiano Ronaldo is all about. He has to score because he's a winner. He plays up front and feeds on goals."

Zoltán Gera, Hungary midfielder: "We're on a fantastic journey; it's such an experience to take part in this championship and finish first in our group. It means a lot to the team. The best wine is the oldest one, and the oldest wine is getting better and better, and I'm happy about that."

Elsewhere that evening

Iceland’s 2-1 win against Austria earned them second place in Group A, and a tough-looking round of 16 tie against England. Group E concluded the same night, with Belgium beating Sweden to go through, and the Republic of Ireland progressing with a 1-0 victory against section winners Italy.

Aftermath

Highlights: Watch the top ten goals of UEFA EURO 2016
Highlights: Watch the top ten goals of UEFA EURO 2016

Hungary's adventure ended abruptly in the round of 16 with a 4-0 defeat by Belgium, though it may have been some consolation for Gera that his strike was voted Goal of the Tournament by UEFA.com users.

Portugal, meanwhile, continued to prosper in adversity. They beat Croatia in the last 16 after extra time, then ousted Poland on penalties in the last eight. If their 2-0 semi-final win against Wales was more of a formality, the ensuing 1-0 victory over hosts France in the final was anything but. Fernando Santos's men claimed their first EURO title in extra time despite losing star man Ronaldo to injury early on.

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