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Past glory no burden for new Hungary, says Nemeth

Football Soccer - Austria v Hungary - EURO 2016 - Group F - Stade de Bordeaux, Bordeaux, France - 14/6/16 Hungary's Krisztian Nemeth in action with Austria's Martin Harnik REUTERS/Sergio Perez Livepic
Football Soccer - Austria v Hungary - EURO 2016 - Group F - Stade de Bordeaux, Bordeaux, France - 14/6/16Hungary's Krisztian Nemeth in action with Austria's Martin Harnik REUTERS/Sergio PerezLivepic

By Zoran Milosavljevic

LYON, France (Reuters) - European Championship upstarts Hungary are focused on a promising future and not an illustrious past ahead of their key Euro 2016 clash with Portugal, striker Krisztian Nemeth said on Tuesday.

The Hungarians, who played in the 1954 World Cup final, qualified for Euro 2016 as rank outsiders and are on the brink of reaching the last 16 after collecting four points from their opening two games.

"The Hungary of old and their accomplishments is not a burden because we live in the present," the 27-year old Nemeth told a news conference on the eve of the match on Wednesday.

"We are very proud of our predecessors but it is not useful to compare ourselves against them," he said.

"We have to look at the future and I think we are on the right path."

The Hungarians enjoyed a smash-and-grab 2-0 win over Austria before salvaging a 1-1 draw against Iceland with a late equaliser after dominating the game against the Nordic nation.

Hungary are likely to soak up intense pressure against the Portuguese, whose leading forward Cristiano Ronaldo has so far misfired in a 1-1 draw with Iceland and a goalless stalemate against the Austrians in which he also missed a penalty.

Heaping praise on his players for defying the odds to get to the verge of securing a knockout stage berth, Hungary's German coach Bernd Stork acknowledged it would take a massive effort to avoid defeat by Portugal.

"Who would have thought that heading into our last group match, we'd be top of the section with four points from two games?" he said.

"I can't compliment my players enough for what they have achieved.

"We have to be disciplined and organised against a top quality team who will put a lot of pressure on us. Ronaldo is obviously a world-class player but not the only one on their team. It's not just about their number seven."

Midfielder Gergo Lovrencsics was upbeat about Hungary's chances.

"Having got ourselves into this position, we don't want to go below where we are now and let the top spot slip through our fingers," he said.

"We have shown the world that we are a good team and after applying two different strategies in our opening two games, I think we can come up with a third style against Portugal."

(Editing by Ed Osmond)

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