Hungary 0-3 Portugal: 5 Talking Points as Cristiano Ronaldo takes center stage for reigning champions | UEFA Euro 2020

Hungary v Portugal - UEFA Euro 2020: Group F
Hungary v Portugal - UEFA Euro 2020: Group F
Vishal Subramanian

For the first time in over a year, a game of football was watched by a fully-filled stadium in Europe. The Puskas Arena in Budapest was the venue, as Hungary and Portugal locked horns in an intriguing Group F encounter. The opening act of Portugal's title defense began in some style, as a late flurry of goals saw them record a 3-0 victory.

The Hungary fans turned up in huge numbers to cheer their players on, but Portugal dominated proceedings and created two big chances in the opening exchanges. However, they were unable to break the deadlock, with Diogo Jota going closest to scoring.

The Liverpool attacker could've played Cristiano Ronaldo clean through on goal, but he risked his captain's wrath by taking on a shot from outside the penalty area that was comfortably saved by Peter Gulacsi. Ronaldo himself fluffed a gilt-edged opportunity to score the opening goal of the game, as he inexplicably missed from six yards out after getting on the end of a Bruno Fernandes cross.

Portugal saw a lot of the ball in the first half and created chances aplenty, but their attackers let them down in front of goal, as they went into the interval with the scores level.

Hungary grew into the game in the second half and threatened to cause an upset, but it was Portugal who broke the deadlock late in the game, albeit in fortunate circumstances. Raphael Guerreiro will claim the goal, but his shot landed up in the back of the net via a deflection, as the home side suffered a devastating blow late in the game.

The situation demanded Cristiano Ronaldo to rise to the occasion, and he did so in some style late in the game. The Portugal captain scored his first of the game from the penalty spot after Rafa Silva was brought down inside the box. He followed it up with a cool finish in stoppage time, as he took his international goal tally up to 106.

Hungary will feel hard done by and will argue that the scoreline is incredibly harsh, but such is the nature of tournament football that a team can be punished in a matter of minutes.

On that note, here are five talking points as Portugal began their title defense with a 3-0 victory in Budapest.

#5 Europe sees a full capacity stadium for the first time since March 2020

Hungary v Portugal - UEFA Euro 2020: Group F
Hungary v Portugal - UEFA Euro 2020: Group F

The Puskas Arena in Budapest hosted 67,000 fans, as they turned up in large numbers to support Hungary against the reigning European Champions.

Since March 2020, games across Europe have been played either behind closed doors or with a limited capacity of fans, as the COVID-19 pandemic continues to wreak havoc across the continent. However, a fully packed stadium in Budapest witnessed the Euro 2020 encounter between Hungary and Portugal, indicating that there is a semblance of normalcy around the corner.

In the words of the great Jock Stein, football is nothing without the fans.

#4 Cristiano Ronaldo makes European Championships history with Portugal

Hungary v Portugal - UEFA Euro 2020: Group F
Hungary v Portugal - UEFA Euro 2020: Group F

Cristiano Ronaldo scored a late brace to take his international goal tally up to 106, as he edged closer to beating Iranian icon Ali Daei's record of 109. The Portugal captain also broke two more records in what turned out to be a historic night for him.

The 36-year-old became the first player in history to feature in five different editions of the European Championships, while he became the most decorated goalscorer in the competition's history with 11 goals to his name.

The Juventus hitman just can't stop breaking records and looks set to play a pivotal role for Portugal in the games ahead, as they look to defend their crown at Euro 2020.

Also Read: Paul Merson column - 5 surprise contenders for the Player of the Tournament award at Euro 2020

#3 Hungary will feel hard done by the scoreline

Hungary v Portugal - UEFA Euro 2020: Group F
Hungary v Portugal - UEFA Euro 2020: Group F

While Portugal dominated the first half and created a flurry of chances, they were unable to put the ball into the back of the net despite their best efforts. The reigning European champions were guilty of making a few wrong decisions in the final third, but Hungary defended well and grew into the game gradually.

The home side threatened to break the deadlock in the second half and even had the ball in the back of the net, but their happiness was shortlived, as it was ruled out for offside. They defended deep and worked their socks off, so it's only natural that their tired legs began to show late in the game.

Portugal took advantage of the situation and punished them emphatically with three late goals, as Cristiano Ronaldo emerged as the matchwinner on the night. Over the course of the 90 minutes, Hungary performed admirably and some would even argue that they deserved a point after their spirited showing.

#2 Intriguing battle between Ruben Dias and Adam Szalai

Hungary v Portugal - UEFA Euro 2020: Group F
Hungary v Portugal - UEFA Euro 2020: Group F

Ruben Dias is widely regarded as the best central defender in world football at the moment and is coming on the back of a stunning season with Manchester City, having been named FWA and Premier League Player of the Season. The Portuguese defender started alongside Pepe at the heart of the Portugal backline, as he looked set to take his good form into Euro 2020.

While he started the game well, Hungary grew into the game and caused him a lot of problems. Adam Szalai, in particular, seemed to be getting the better of him, while Freiburg striker Roland Sallai also gave him a run for his money on the night.

Szalai didn't get his name on the scoresheet and Dias ended up on the winning team, but it could be argued that the 33-year-old got into the central defender's head, who looked a bit out of sorts coming up against a target man.

#1 Portugal's attack looked disjointed on the night

Hungary v Portugal - UEFA Euro 2020: Group F
Hungary v Portugal - UEFA Euro 2020: Group F

Portugal might have won 3-0 on the night, but they flattered to deceive over the course of the 90 minutes. Starting with Cristiano Ronaldo, Diogo Jota and Bernardo Silva up front with Bruno Fernandes also joining in as a fourth attacker, the reigning European champions looked like they could cause some serious damage.

Jota looked lively, but his finishing let him down and he was guilty of being selfish at times, while the likes of Bernardo Silva and Bruno Fernandes failed to perform to the best of their capabilities.

Cristiano Ronaldo, too, looked a bit flustered for most of the game, but the Portugal captain scored a late brace to emerge as the matchwinner. Fernando Santos will know that his team didn't really deserve to win 3-0 on the night, with Hungary giving them a run for their money for the lion's share of the game.

Rafa Silva came on for Jota late in the game and made a positive impact, so the Portugal manager might even be tempted to tinker with his forward line for the game against Germany.

Also Read: Jim Beglin column - 5 players who could impress in unfamiliar positions

Edited by Vishal Subramanian


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