hungary squad football
Photo: MTI

The warm-up schedule for the Hungarian men’s national team ahead of this summer’s UEFA European Championship is progressing well, the squad now due to prepare for the continental tournament jointly hosted by Budapest at the national training centre in Telki and for a short time in Austria, before two friendly matches at home, on 4th June against in-form Cyprus and four days later against the Republic of Ireland.

The schedule is not yet final and its details may be adjusted according to events related to the coronavirus pandemic, but it is planned that the domestically-based members of Marco Rossi’s national squad will meet one week after the end of the OTP Bank Liga season on 8th May, and those based abroad will join as soon as their club seasons have finished.

The squad will then travel to Austria for a one-week training camp at the end of May, which is when Rossi’s final squad for Euro 2020 will be announced.

Two days after returning home on 2nd June, the team will play their first warm-up match on 4th June against Cyprus, a national team which, a few days ago, managed to draw with 2018 World Cup participants Slovakia and only lost by a single goal to 2018 World Cup finalists Croatia. They’ve also recently defeated Slovenia and are currently 100th in the FIFA world rankings.

That is in contrast to our opponents four days later, Republic of Ireland, who are just two places behind us on the same list.

The Irish national team fell out of contention to reach this year’s European Championship at the very last moment, losing the play-off final on penalties to Slovakia, who we’d faced in the qualifying group phase. In the Nations League of Nations, Ireland were, like us, in Division B, where they finished 3rd in Group 4 behind Wales and Finland and ahead of Bulgaria. More recently, the Republic of Ireland lost 3–2 against Serbia and 1-0 aginst Luxembourg in March’s World Cup qualifiers, then drew 1-1 against Qatar in Debrecen.

The venue for both matches is expected to be the Ferenc Szusza Stadium in Újpest. Both opponents insisted on the venue being in the capital city, and due to the European Championships, UEFA had already booked several stadia in Budapest for training purposes for this period. The planned kick-off time in both matches is 20:00 CET.

“Right now we’ve just played the World Cup qualifiers in March, so a detailed analysis of Cyprus and Ireland is still far away,” Hungary head coach Marco Rossi told mlsz.hu. “For a preparation period, it is important that one chooses opponents who are neither too strong nor too weak. Cyprus’ recent results are impressive and we also know from the Irish that they were only a hair’s breadth away from making it to the European Championship, so we’ll meet two teams that can prepare us well for our first European Championship fixture a week later.

It is also important to play against two opponents of different styles, but we didn’t want either to be too strong, because it would be especially bad for us to possibly suffer a more serious defeat before the European Championship, while one of the most important things in preparing for the tournament is to give all the team members the confidence to do so”.

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Source: MLSZ

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