Hungary v Portugal: Ronaldo and co won’t fluff lines a third time
The self-perpetuated fanfare that follows Cristiano Ronaldo has inevitably deflected attention away from Portugal as a team and although they’ve stumbled to a pair of draws, rational thinking suggests they’ll get it together against a spirited, yet limited Hungary side.
The Euro 2004 runners-up usually flourish at this juncture too, regardless of circumstance, securing victory in their final group game four times across the last five Euros finals.
Had Ronaldo’s penalty in the eventual 0-0 draw against Austria been a few inches to the right, then Portugal’s perilous situation heading into Group F’s pivotal assignment with the table-topping Hungarians could have been far less dicey.
The width of a post aside, there was plenty of evidence in that Austria clash to persuade punters that the seasoned Euros campaigners will deliver on a 4/9-rated win.
A Seleccao were dominant against a supposedly dangerous Austrian unit, enjoying 60 per cent possession, firing off 11 shots to three and leading the corner count 10-0. It was a display that deserved more.
There’s no denying the 9/1-rated Hungarians have exceeded expectations so far, particularly in beating the same opponents 2-0 in their opening game.
However, they trail the Portuguese in some telling offensive and defensive statistics over their first two fixtures and their head-to-head record is pitiful against the Iberian nation.
Bernd Storck’s team have created 13 fewer chances and completed 86 less passes in the final third at the tournament to date, while conceding 23 attempts on goal to only eight for Portugal’s uber-experienced backline.
A victory could well send Fernando Santos’ men through as group winners (swerving England in the process) and history portends Ronaldo and co will get the business done.
The Portuguese have claimed the laurels in all five prior meetings by an aggregate score of 15-2. If the multiple Ballon d’Or winner in their ranks re-adjusts his typically pinpoint sights, then A Seleccao’s faltering campaign could be ignited at Hungary’s expense – albeit a place in the last 16 is virtually assured.
Portugal’s skipper and record scorer is 10/11 to notch as part of a win and 13/5 to hit two or more.
With four of five previous collisions breaching the 2.5 goals line too, backing that eventuality would appear to be a sensible course of action at 5/4.
All Odds and Markets are correct as of the date of publishing.