Euro 2016: ‘Free and liberated’ Hungary happy to play underdog role

Hungary, who ended as winners in Group F ahead of Portugal, Austria and Iceland, will play Belgium to book a place in semi-finals.

By: Reuters | Toulouse | Published: June 26, 2016 12:22 am
Hungary vs Belgium, Belgium vs Hungary, Hungary Euro 2016, Euro 2016, Euro 2016 results, Euro 2016 standings, Euro cup, Euro fixtures, Euro 2016 last 16, last 16 euro 2016, Football Hungary emerged as winners of Group F with a defeat of Austria and draws with Iceland and Portugal. (Source: AP)

Hungary, one of the surprises teams of Euro 2016, are happy to play the role of underdogs ahead of their round of 16 clash with touted Belgium in Toulouse on Sunday.

Hungary midfielder Zoltan Gera says the pressure will be on Belgium to live up to pre-tournament expectations while his team begin the knockout stage feeling “free and liberated”.

“Of course they’re favourites for this game,” Gera told reporters on Saturday. “They have improved during their two matches and will be under pressure because expectations for them are very high.”

Hungary emerged as one of the surprise teams of the round-robin stages, winning Group F with a defeat of Austria and draws with Iceland and Portugal.

“We’re free and liberated,” Gera said. “We’ve reached our goal to qualify from the group and we’ll try to enjoy each and every moment.

“Maybe it will be our last (match). But we’ll try to give our maximum on the field as a team and we hope we can win.”

Belgium struggled to make the most of their wealth of talent in Group E, losing to Italy and leaving it late to beat Sweden to progress. But Hungary’s German coach Bernd Storck is still wary of his opponents.

“We know Belgium’s quality,” he said. “I know where all of their players play right now all at the top level, at world-class clubs. They’re all in the Premier League and they’ve won a lot of trophies.

“They had a difficult start but they’ve improved, progressed and tomorrow will be a big challenge.”

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