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MATT BARLOW'S SCOUTING REPORT: Hungary will hit England with fearless aggression and counter attack

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MATT BARLOW’S SCOUTING REPORT: Hungary will hit England with fearless aggression and a counter attack that made them dangerous at Euro 2020… but Three Lions can pounce on a string of absentees in defence

  • England are set to lock horns with Hungary in their World Cup qualifying clash  
  • The Hungarians enjoyed a stint at Euro 2020 and hit hard on the counter attack 
  • They will show fearless aggression vs England at their 67,000 capacity ground
  • But the hosts are missing a string of key men in defence that make them solid  


For the first time this century, England are in Budapest, scene of their heaviest defeat — a 7-1 thrashing by Hungary’s Magical Magyars featuring Ferenc Puskas, Nandor Hidegkuti & Co in 1954. 

These days an atmospheric new stadium is named in honour of Puskas, who died in 2006, and there are signs of progress under Italian coach Marco Rossi as they aim for a first World Cup finals since 1986.

Sportsmail’s MATT BARLOW takes a look at England’s opponents on Thursday night and highlights where the Three Lions could take advantage – and where they must tread carefully in Budapest. 

Hungary are not a side to underestimate as England prepare to face them in Budapest

Hungary are not a side to underestimate as England prepare to face them in Budapest

The Three Lions are hoping for another three points in their World Cup qualifying campaign

The Three Lions are hoping for another three points in their World Cup qualifying campaign

Strengths

Rossi has forged them into a solid and spirited side, growing in confidence after a series of encouraging results. They play with a back three, energetic wing-backs and three snapping in midfield. They sit deep, absorb pressure and counter quickly.

In Peter Gulacsi, they have a fabulous goalkeeper and, up front, they combine the craft and vision of Roland Sallai with the power and aerial threat of captain Adam Szalai.

They took points from France and Germany at the Euros and were six minutes from knocking out the Germans in Munich before a late deflected equaliser. 

They should tackle England with the same fearless aggression, inspired by a 67,000 capacity crowd in the capital city of a genuine football nation.

The hosts provide fearless aggression that helped them take points off France and Germany

The hosts provide fearless aggression that helped them take points off France and Germany

Hungary are spirited and energetic side growing in confidence after positive recent results

Hungary are spirited and energetic side growing in confidence after positive recent results  

WEAKNESSES

It took them time to strike a balance in the Euros. In the opener against Portugal, they sat too deep and failed to generate any threat in transition. They held out for 86 minutes but were overwhelmed by fresh legs from the bench.

They don’t boast the individual quality or depth of England. Adam Nagy, who has just left Bristol City for Pisa, would anchor in midfield were he not suspended. 

Also missing are wing-backs Loic Nego, who has tested positive for Covid, and Gergo Lovrencsics, who is injured. Changes may weaken the defensive understanding that has been the bedrock of the recent success.

However, the team have been hit by a number of absentees in defence which could hurt them

However, the team have been hit by a number of absentees in defence which could hurt them

Star Man: Dominik Szoboszlai

The good news for Rossi comes in the return of Szoboszlai, hailed as the future of Hungarian football. Only 20, the attacking midfielder was a target for Arsenal before his £18million move from Salzburg to Leipzig in January. 

Injury ruled him out of the Euros but he has started the German season with three goals in four games. England must beware his deadly delivery from set-pieces.

Dominik Szoboszlai will be the key man and has been hailed as the future of Hungarian football

Dominik Szoboszlai will be the key man and has been hailed as the future of Hungarian football

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