This will go down as the one that got away for Hungary. They gave as good as they got — and then some — for 85 minutes against the mighty Portugal.
The defending champions were staring at defeat when Hungary’s Szabolcs Schon had the ball in the back of the net with 80 minutes on the clock.
But the fickle fates of football these days ruled him offside thanks to VAR (rightly so, in fairness) and a few moments later the Magyars were 2-0 down rather than 1-0 up and Portugal were marching to a win that they rarely deserved.
Raphael made it 1-0 with an ugly toe-poke and deflection to finally break the Hungary defence and Magyar hearts. Then a rough-and-tumble involving Rafa Silva in the area seconds later had referee Cuneyt Cakir pointing at the spot. Cristiano Ronaldo dispatched a winner into the bottom right corner.
All of a sudden it was five minutes to go and nowhere to go for Hungary as their game plan fell apart.
Ronaldo bagged a third late on as Hungary flumped to add salt to the wounds — and added a lovely twist to his own personal mission at Euro 2020. He is now only four goals behind Ali Daei in the all-time international goalscoring records. The Portuguese legend has made no qualms about how he wants that individual landmark — it looks like it is gonna fall.
It could have been so different after a very professional and cool display by Hungary saw them hold their own against the Portuguese as the clock ticked down. In this ‘group of death’ with France and Germany, Hungary clearly wanted to make a point.
They were so close.
The massive crowd was in dreamland when Schon connected with a through ball and slotted home at the near post of Rui Patrício. However, the flag and VAR silenced the Budapest throng and the Hungarian heads dropped.
After the delight came the dismay as Portugal ran in three quick goals to get out of jail.
Portugal woke up and powered up to the other end. Raphael’s strike inside the box pinged off a leg into the corner and the visitors knew they were off a very big hook — considering the dangers that lurk ahead.
The Puskas Arena fell into silence as the big fish got away. Cue the Ronaldo show and things looks very rosy for the defending champs and their talisman.
Sadly for Hungary, and their heart, they now face a stern task to get a point on the board as the small tasks of facing France and Germany await.