It is just the two matches at Euro 2016 today as we see the final four teams in action for the first time in France as Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal face debutants Iceland, while Hungary face a tough Austria challenge.
Austria v Hungary
1700 ~ Stade de Bordeaux – Bordeaux
Old rivals Austria and Hungary will meet for the 138th in Bordeaux and Austria gaffer Marcel Koller is confident that if his side can play to the best of their ability, they can grab the result they want.
“We hope to really be able to play as we want,” said the 55-year-old.
“We’ve had a great preparation period and I think it’s time to finally get started. Of course there will be a few nerves but we hope we can quickly find our best playing style. Hungary are very strong at the back. They also attack very well and are good on the counter.”.
Hungary head to their first European Championships since 1974 and Hungary head coach Bernd Strock believes an opening win would give his side a massive confidence boost.
“We want to win and we have to score,” said the German.
“I expect the same as we have seen in recent games, especially against Germany and Ivory Coast, from a defensive point of view: we were well-organised and disciplined. And we also have to score. It would give us confidence for the next match and it would be amazing.”
Austria boss Koller has a full strength squad available to him with Hungarian-born defender Gyorgy Garics having decided to stay with the squad despite his father’s death on Friday.
Hungary will be without striker Gergo Lovrencsics with a knee injury, while fellow striker Krisztian Nemeth (muscle) and defender Tomas Kadar (ankle) are doubtful.
Hungary goalkeeper Gabor Kiraly is set to become the oldest player ever to play at the European Championship at 40 years and 75 days old, breaking the previous record set by German Lothar Matthaeus.
Portugal v Iceland
2000 ~ Stade Geoffroy Guichard – Saint-Etienne
Portugal have reached the semi-finals in three of their last four Euros but manager Fernando Santos knows his side will need to take it one match at a time starting with a strong Iceland team.
“We go into every match to win,” said the former Benfica gaffer.
“Iceland are more than just physically strong. They are strong, tactically well organised, and they know exactly how to act in defence and in attack. They will do everything to break Portugal’s will to win the match and they’ve got every right to do so.”
There will be great excitement in Iceland for their first ever European Championship match and co-manager Heimir Halgrimsson wants his Iceland side to give a strong Portugal side something to think about.
“Psychologically I would think they want to knock us out of our stride as soon as possible,” said the 49-year-old.
“They are not a team that play only one way so it’s difficult to play against them – in return, we can’t play just one kind of defensive style against them. There is a lot to look out for but hopefully we have prepared well enough.”
Portugal could be without winger Ricardo Quaresma for their opener with Iceland due to a hamstring problem, which could see Nani support their all-time top goalscorer Cristiano Ronaldo up front.
Midfielders Gylfi Sigurdsson, Aron Gunnarsson and striker Kolbeinn Sigthorsson are all to fit to start Iceland’s first ever European Championship game after overcoming injury.
Iceland co-managers Halgrimsson and Lagerback must decide as to whether Alfred Finnbogason or Jon Dadi Bodvarsson will partner Sigthorsson up front.