Co-hosts Hungary take on neighbours Romania at Budapest's Bozsik Stadion in the second round of Group A games.
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The second round of Group A games pits co-hosts Hungary against neighbours Romania at the Bozsik Stadion in Budapest.
• While Hungary's most successful recent U21 campaign came as long ago as 1996, Romania need look back only two years for inspiration, having reached the semi-finals of the 2019 competition in Italy.
• Romania will be looking to build on their 1-1 draw against the Netherlands on Matchday 1, when Hungary conceded three times in the final half-hour to lose 3-0 against Germany.
• The teams have contested eight previous European U21 Championship matches, Romania winning six of those – including the last five.
• Most recently, Romania were victorious 1-0 in Bucharest and 3-1 in Kecskemét in the 2002 U21 EURO qualifying competition, although both teams missed out on the finals in Switzerland. Romania lost 5-0 on aggregate to France in the play-offs having finished as runners-up to Italy in Group 8, one point ahead of Hungary.
• That was also also the case in the 2000 preliminaries; Romania were 2-1 victors in both Budapest and Bucharest but could only finish third in the section behind Slovakia and Portugal, with Hungary in fourth place.
• Hungary have not beaten Romania since a 4-2 victory in Békéscsaba in May 1981; that was the third meeting between the teams and their second victory.
• Andrei Vlad, Denis Haruţ and Radu Boboc started for Romania in a 2-1 defeat of Hungary in European U17 Championship qualifying on 24 October 2015.
• This is the co-hosts' first appearance at the U21 EURO finals. Hungary and fellow hosts Slovenia are the only sides to be making their debuts at the 2021 tournament.
• Before the eight-team final tournament was introduced for 1998, Hungary reached the quarter-finals of the 1996 event, losing 4-3 to Scotland over two legs (2-1 h, 1-3 a).
• The Hungarians, who were also losing quarter-finalists in the inaugural edition of the U21 competition in 1978 and again two years later, enjoyed their most successful campaign in 1986, losing to eventual champions Spain 5-4 on aggregate in the semi-finals (3-1 h, 1-4 a) having beaten Poland 5-1 over two legs in the last eight (0-1 a, 5-0 h).
• Hungary's most successful European U21 Championship campaign since 1996 came in 2006, when they lost to holders Italy in the qualifying play-offs (1-1 h, 0-1 a).
• A team coached by Michael Boris – who was succeeded by Zoltán Gera in June 2019 – finished fourth in qualifying Group 6 ahead of 2019 U21 EURO, behind Belgium, Sweden and Turkey having picked up 11 points from ten matches. Hungary lost their last five fixtures.
• This is Romania's third appearance at the U21 EURO finals, and the first time they have qualified for successive tournaments.
• In 2019, a team coached by Mirel Rădoi qualified unbeaten (W7 D3) and then finished first in Group C at the final tournament, winning the section ahead of France – with whom they finished level on seven points – England and Croatia.
• Germany proved too strong in the semi-finals, however, scoring two late goals to win 4-2 – Romania's first competitive U21 defeat in 14 games (W9 D4), since a 2-0 qualifying loss in Bulgaria in October 2016.
• That was Romania's first appearance in the final tournament since they lost to the Netherlands in the quarter-finals of the 1998 tournament, which Romania hosted. They lost all three games at those 1998 finals, subsequently going down to Germany (0-1 aet) and Russia (1-2) to finish in eighth place.
• This time round, Adrian Mutu – who replaced Rădoi in January 2020 – guided Romania to the finals as the fifth best second-placed side overall, his team having finished as runners-up to Denmark in Group 8 (W6 D2 L2). Romania collected 20 points to end six behind the Danes but four ahead of third-placed Ukraine.
Links and trivia
• Mutu was in the Romania U21 side that beat Hungary 2-1 on 13 October 1998.
• Mutu played twice against Hungary at senior level, both in Budapest – a 2-0 FIFA World Cup qualifying win on 5 September 2001 and a 2-2 draw in the 2014 qualifying competition on 22 March 2013, captaining the side and converting a penalty to make it 1-1 after current Hungary U21 assistant coach Vilmos Vanczák had opened the scoring. That goal was his 35th and last for Romania, equalling Gheorghe Hagi's all-time record.
• Gera played against Romania in two senior internationals, a 1-0 friendly loss in Budapest on 12 August 2009 and a 1-1 UEFA EURO 2016 qualifying draw in Bucharest on 11 October 2014. He also took part in a 3-0 loss at the Cyprus Cup on 21 February 2004, although that was not classed as an official match.
• Mutu scored twice in Fiorentina's 4-3 win against Hungarian side Debrecen in Budapest in the 2009/10 UEFA Champions League group stage, and was also on target in the Italian club's 5-2 home success.