Tuesday, July 16, 2024

Hungary face Switzerland in first round of Group A


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Cologne, June 14: Hungary faces Switzerland on Saturday in Cologne in their first Group A match. The other teams in the group are host nation Germany and Scotland. Kickoff is at 6:30 pm IST. Here’s what to know about the match:
Match facts
– Switzerland is aiming for a winning start to its Euro 2024 campaign as it bids to reach the knockout stages for the third European Championship in a row.
– Hungary came into the tournament with an impressive record in recent years and came through qualifying unbeaten. A loss to Ireland in a pre-tournament friendly last week was the team’s first defeat since 2022.
– Hungary’s fans will be under scrutiny after racist and homophobic abuse by its supporters during the last European Championship in 2021, and against England later the same year.
Team news
– Hungary’s star midfielder, Dominik Szoboszlai of Liverpool, needed treatment on his left thigh in Saturday’s 3-0 friendly win over Israel and was substituted as a precaution, but seems likely to be fit.
– Gregor Kobel reached the Champions League final with Borussia Dortmund but is set to be only the second-choice Swiss goalkeeper at Euro 2024. The more experienced Yann Sommer is Switzerland’s starter and won the Italian title at Inter Milan this season.
– A calf injury means Swiss winger Steven Zuber may be doubtful. Xherdan Shaqiri could play in his place.
– Switzerland made a formal complaint to UEFA about the quality of its training field in Stuttgart but opted against relocating to another facility because the travel would take too long.
By the numbers
– It’s 70 years since Switzerland hosted the World Cup and Hungary lost to West Germany in the final. That loss marked the end of an era when Hungary’s “Magic Magyars” were one of the world’s best teams.
– It’s 43 years since Hungary beat Switzerland in a competitive game. Their last meeting was a 5-2 win for Switzerland in World Cup qualifying in 2017.
– Opening games have been a problem for both teams at the Euros. Switzerland has one win from five, against Albania in 2016. Hungary has a win from four, though two of its opening games were also semifinals because only four teams qualified for the tournament in 1964 and 1972. (AP)


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