Hungary are set to play their first knockout round game at a major tournament finals in 50 years against Belgium’s ‘golden generation’ tonight at 8PM GMT.
Belgium came through their group fairly easily. Despite losing their first group game to Italy 2-0, they have done well to bounce back by winning both of their final group games to secure their place in the knockout round. In the group stages, Hungary did well to come through the group unbeaten. This is the first time the Hungarians have done this since the 1962 World Cup, 54 years ago.
Hungary have lost just one of their last eight international games, winning three and drawing four in that period. This has been Hungary’s first European Championships finals since 1972, and their first major tournament since 1986.
Belgium’s last five goals at a European Championships finals have all been scored in the second half of their games. This is Belgium’s first knockout game at a European Championships since 1980, where they were beaten by West Germany 2-1 in the final.
Hungary have four players on yellow cards heading into this game, whereas Belgium have Jan Vertonghen, Thomas Meunier and Axel Witsel on a yellow card. Any yellow cards for the players already booked in this tournament will result in them sitting out the next game.
Hungary Predicted XI: Király, Korhut, Juhász, Kádár, Fiola, Dzsudzsák, Kleinheisler, Nagy, Gera, Szalai, Németh.
Belgium Predicted XI: Courtois, Vermaelen, Vertongehen, Alderweireld, Meunier, Witsel, Nainggolan, Hazard, De Bruyne, Carrasco, Lukaku.
I feel that Gábor Király will be Hungary’s key player tonight if Hungary hope to stand a chance of progressing. The 40-year-old shot stopper will need to have his defence organised if Hungary are to limit Belgium’s chances tonight.
Romelu Lukaku has been Belgium’s goal threat during this entire tournament and the big Everton striker will need to be firing on all cylinders against Hungary if Belgium are to progress further on.
I predict Belgium to win 2-0. I think their ‘golden generation’ will be too much for Hungary, and I think that Lukaku will get himself on the score-sheet twice.