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UEFA EURO contenders in focus: Hungary

On their EURO return – following a 44-year absence – Hungary reached the knockouts in 2016.

Hungary's Balázs Dzsudzsák celebrates at UEFA EURO 2016
Hungary's Balázs Dzsudzsák celebrates at UEFA EURO 2016

EURO pedigree

Final tournaments: 3
EURO best: third (1964), semi-finals (1972)

Once among Europe's top teams, the Magyars took part in two of the first four editions of the tournament: 1964 and 1972. Hungary finished third on their first attempt, beating Denmark at the Camp Nou, before reaching the last four eight years later. After a subsequent 44-year absence – a EURO record – the Hungarians qualified for their third final tournament in 2016, getting to the last 16.

Key players

Every goal on Hungary's road to EURO 2020
Every goal on Hungary's road to EURO 2020

Péter Gulácsi (36 caps)
The Leipzig goalkeeper became the first Hungarian to appear in the UEFA Champions League semi-finals in 2019/20. A two-times Austrian Bundesliga winner with Salzburg, he has been named Hungary's Player of the Year on three occasions.

Dominik Szoboszlai (12 caps, 3 goals)
One of Hungary's hottest prospects, the 20-year-old midfielder's dramatic, last-gasp strike in the UEFA EURO 2020 play-off against Iceland secured their place at the final tournament.

Memorable EURO goals

  • Ferenc Bene scored his first goal at a major international tournament in 1964, forcing the Santiago Bernabéu semi-final against Spain into added extra time.
  • Zoltán Gera's fierce drive in the 3-3 group stage draw with Portugal was voted the 2016 fans' Goal of the Tournament. At 37 years and 62 days, Gera became the oldest player to score from open play at a EURO.

Memorable moments

  • Dispatching from the spot in the third-place play-off against Belgium in 1972, Lajos Kű brought an end to Hungary's penalty misfortune. Lajos Kocsis had failed to convert in qualification, then Sándor Zámbó missed in the semi-final loss to the Soviet Union.
  • Gábor Király's baggy grey tracksuit bottoms made headlines in 2016. Explaining his attire, the veteran goalkeeper, also known as 'Pyjama Man', said: "I'm a goalie, not a top model."
  • Balázs Dzsudzsák's double against Portugal in 2016 made him the first Hungarian player to net two goals in a major tournament against European opposition since 1964.

Stats

Watch Szalai strike for Hungary at EURO 2016
Watch Szalai strike for Hungary at EURO 2016

Most final tournament appearances
4: Flórián Albert, Balázs Dzsudzsák, Zoltán Gera, Richárd Guzmics, Gábor Király, Ádám Lang, Ádám Szalai
3
: Ferenc Bene, Roland Juhász, Tamás Kádár, Ádám Nagy, Ádám Pintér, Zoltán Stieber

Most final tournament goals

2: Ferenc Bene, Dezső Novák, Balázs Dzsudzsák
1: Zoltán Gera, Lajos Kű, Ádám Szalai, Zoltán Stieber

Did you know?

  • At 40 years and 86 days, Király became the oldest player to appear at a UEFA EURO.
  • Bene is the only Hungarian player to have scored in two different matches at a single EURO: the 1964 edition.
  • Bene was joint-top scorer in 1964; later that year he also topped the scoring charts at the Olympic Games.
  • Hungary competed in the first-ever EURO qualifying match: their defeat by the Soviet Union on 28 September 1958.