Hungary versus Portugal.
Puskas Arena, Budapest. 5:00 pm.
Reigning Champions of Europe, Portugal are one of the favourites for the competition with possibly a stronger squad on paper(matches are still not won on paper), then the team that won the competition in 2016. Portugal have excellent players in almost every position on the pitch, and have in Cristiano Ronaldo, possibly the best soccer player ever from Europe (certainly in my lifetime). Portugal, also have the Football Writer Player of the Year in England (Ruben Dias), and Manchester United’s best individual player (Fernandes). There are Portuguese players on most of Europe’s elite club sides, and Portuguese clubs (well the big three of Benfica, Porto and Sporting Lisbon) have tended to perform quite well in Europe.
Hungary are just not in the same class as France, Germany and Portugal, even with three home matches, Hungary should lose all three of their group games.
Verdict: Hungary 0 Portugal 3. Hungary are just not in the same class as Portugal.
Germany versus France.
Allianz Area, Munich. 8:00 pm.
This should either be match of the round or a bore fest, where the two teams aren’t showing their complete hand. France who are World Champions and favourites for this championship have the strongest pick of players of any country in the World, let alone Europe (in my opinion). France have except for the goalkeeper (Lloris is still a good player), great players in every position of the pitch. The return of Real Madrid player, Karim Benzema to international football should already strengthen a world-class attack.
Germany while being the country with a strong depth of talent have had some very bad results in the last couple of years, losing 6-0 to Spain in the Nations League and losing 2-1 at home to North Macedonia. Germany have the talent, and also have been traditionally a great tournament team, but I have to doubt Germany’s capabilities of winning the competition, as they have a coaching team that should really have moved on years ago.
Verdict: A draw. Home Advantage, should see Germany not lose the game, and also there could be the case that the match might lack the intensity of a knock-out match.
(C). Ferdia O’Mahony 2021.