Euro 2024: Hungary Suffer 3-1 Defeat Against Switzerland

  • 17 Jun 2024 2:50 PM
Euro 2024: Hungary Suffer 3-1 Defeat Against Switzerland
Barnabás Varga's second-half header ended up being just a consolation goal as Hungary suffered a 3-1 defeat at the hands of Switzerland in Cologne on Saturday afternoon.

Yesterday's opening European Championship Group A fixture had seen Germany thrash Scotland, so both Hungary and Switzerland knew a significant step could be taken towards the round of 16 with a win in the group's second fixture.

It was a reassuringly predictable lineup that Rossi selected, Péter Gulácsi getting the nod ahead of Dénes Dibusz in goal and a three-man rearguard of Ádám Lang, Willi Orbán and Attila Szalai taking their place behind four in midfield.

They were, from right to left, Attila Fiola, Ádám Nagy, András Schäfer and Milos Kerkez, and the three forwards in front of them were no less familiar, playmakers Roland Sallai and captain Dominik Szoboszlai looking to supply central striker Barnabás Varga with opportunities to strike.

Hungary's first chance was actually provided by Varga though, his break down the right channel preceding a pass inside to Sallai who controlled the ball but then fired it harmlessly over the crossbar.

In an open start to the game, Switzerland were then presented with their first sight of goal in the 10th minute and they took advantage in clinical fashion, inexperienced striker Kwadwo Duah, earning just his second international cap, latching onto a cute through-pass from Aebischer just inside the Hungary penalty area and confidently dispatching the ball low past Gulácsi's right foot and into the net.

Thereafter, Switzerland gained a measure of first-half control, dominating possession without finding another clear way to Gulácsi's goal.

Hungary didn't lose their composure either though and created a presentable chance to equalise when Szoboszlai's left-wing free-kick found Orbán's head ten metres from goal, but he connect cleanly with the ball and his effort was easily gathered by Switzerland goalkeeper Yann Sommer.

It seemed as if the teams bow had the measure of each other, but just as the end of the half was drawing close, Switzerland's Aebischer struck a significant blow, rifling the ball past an unsighted Gulácsi and into the left corner of the net from just outside the penalty area to double his team's advantage.

Rossi responded by bringing on Bendegúz Bolla for Ádám Lang for the second half and although the opening minutes followed much the same pattern, gradually Hungary wrested control of the game.

Sallai curled in a beautiful cross from the left wing for Varga on the hour mark, only for the Ferencváros striker to head agonisingly wide of the left post, but when Varga connected with another cross five minutes later, the result was more positive, a lower, whipped cross from Szoboszlai finding Varga at the back post, his stooping header beating Sommer and halving the deficit with 25 minutes remaining.

Rossi's charges still needed to be wary at the back though and could count themselves fortunate that Fabian Schär's 72nd-minute header from a left-wing corner flew just a metre or two wide of Gulácsi's left post.

On came Ádám Martin to provide more attacking threat as Hungary pushed for an equaliser and an opportunity did come his way in the dying embers of the game, but Szoboszlai's long, driven free-kick just evaded him as he ran into the Switzerland penalty area.

That proved costly just seconds later as a routine, long goal-kick from Sommer caused panic in the Hungary defence, substitute Breed Embolo collecting a loose header and lobbing the ball over Gulácsi to seal a 3-1 victory and three points in Group A.

Hungary's next match is a crucial fixture against hosts Germany on Wednesday, a draw being the minimum they'll need to retain genuine hope of qualifying for the knockout stages.

Rossi: We coudn't react to Switzerland's challenge until half-time

After the 3-1 defeat to Switzerland, Hungary head coach Marco Rossi admitted his team had not been able to react properly to Switzerland's challenge during the first half, something which caused confusion on the pitch and it was only during the half-time break that the team was able to organise their lines properly.

"The first half went very poorly; we were passive and against teams of this level, this carries the risk of mistakes," Rossi expained.

"The tactical formation of the Swiss caused us confusion on the pitch. Aebischer was able to play very freely and despite our efforts to draw the players' attention to this from the bench, we were unable to properly react to the opponent's tactics.

We sorted out the lines of the formation at the break, but by then Switzerland were leading by two goals. I'm not looking for scapegoats - I'm primarily responsible - but today we showed little apart from determination and hard work and we showed a lot of shortcomings in the first half. I could highlight at most two or three good performances in today's match, which is not enough for a good result in a European Championship.

At 2-1 in the second half, we gave everything to equalise, so it's very frustrating that we conceded a goal at the end after another huge mistake

Hungary next play on Wednesday in Stuttgart against Germany, who won their opening Euro 2024 group-stage match by a four-goal margin against Scotland. Rossi expects an improved performance from the national team, even though the opponent is one of the best teams of the European Championship:

"Three years ago, we started the European Championship with a three-goal defeat, then we almost advanced after the matches against France and Germany. We'll need a similar improvement, but we have a very difficult task ahead of us in four days' time, because Germany stand out from the rest of the group and I still think they are the number one favourite to win this European Championship," Hungary's head coach concluded.


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