Home » Euro 2024: Hungary revved up for Euros opener as fragile Switzerland seeks turnaround

Euro 2024: Hungary revved up for Euros opener as fragile Switzerland seeks turnaround

Euro 2024: Hungary revved up for Euros opener as fragile Switzerland seeks turnaround

Hungary and Switzerland open their Euro 2024 campaigns on Saturday with points to prove after starkly contrasting form, as they look to lay down some early markers for who will advance from the group stage.

Hungary has been oozing panache after an astonishing unbeaten run that lasted 20 months until last week and is a side the fragile Swiss would have preferred to avoid for an opener in which they desperately need a confidence boost.

Switzerland finished second in the easiest of the groups after a dismal, at times clumsy qualifying campaign, beating only Andorra in its last eight games and squandering leads late on in four of those matches, against Romania, Kosovo, twice, and Israel.

Hungary and Switzerland are joined by Scotland and hosts Germany in a Group A that the form guide indicates is wide open.

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Italian manager Marco Rossi has introduced to Hungary a brand of free-flowing football that has been generating excitement at home, with a stellar record since 2022 that has included wins away to England and Germany.

Rossi’s team is built largely around creative midfield maestro Dominik Szoboszlai, who at 23 will be the youngest player to captain a side at a European Championship.


Szoboszlai was injured before Euro 2020 and spoke on Wednesday of his anguish in missing out on matches against heavyweights France and Germany that ended in draws and an early exit, fuelling his determination to help Hungary return stronger.

“We want to go as far as possible … the team unity is really good, everyone has to go into the tournament with nothing to lose,” he said.

“If we go into it with the right attitude, we can really achieve something great.”

A win on Saturday could dramatically change Switzerland’s fortunes and rekindle memories of its good showing in the last Euros when it eliminated France on penalties and went toe-to-toe with Spain in the quarter-final before losing in a shootout.

Switzerland will be bolstered by goalkeeper Yann Sommer and defender Manuel Akanji, fresh from winning league titles this season for Inter Milan and Manchester City, while once-volatile captain Granit Xhaka will lead with confidence and newfound calm after being instrumental in Bayer Leverkusen’s stunning Bundesliga title this year.

Defender Silvan Widmer sidestepped questions about the national side’s frailties and uncertainty up front but said fans should expect an unpredictable and dangerous Switzerland this time.

“Everyone is fired up. The team spirit is really great. We are all ready and can hardly wait,” Widmer said. “It’s a real unit again, hungry and wanting to give it their all.”