Following Saturday’s disappointing result against Croatia, the Wales squad travel to Budapest to take on Hungary. In this article, we examine the squads and how Wales can try and bounce back.
The match itself is taking place at the Groupama Arèna, a multi-purpose sports stadium in Budapest, that has a capacity of 22,000. The Groupama Arèna is the home of Ferencvárosi TC, who compete in the Nemzeti Bajnokság I division, otherwise known as the OTP Bank Liga, which is the highest level of domestic football in Hungary.
Following the disappointing 2-1 defeat to Croatia, Wales have dropped down to fourth in the group, with Croatia and Slovakia overtaking them in the group standings. With teams taking points off each other this early on, it proves that it’s a competitive group, where four teams have lost one match, and one side, Azerbaijan, has lost two.
Hungary, on the other hand, has moved to the top of the group, with an impressive victory against Croatia being followed up by a comprehensive 3-1 win against Azerbaijan. With these results still recent, Wales can expect Hungary to be fully confident of getting another good result. However, Wales have a good head-to-head record against Hungary, having won five, drawn two and lost three in 10 matches.
The most recent meeting between the two sides took place in 2005 when Wales won 2-0 in a match at the Millennium Stadium. Former Cardiff City, Newcastle United and Liverpool forward Craig Bellamy scored both goals, as John Toshack’s second stint as manager got off to a perfect start.
The Wales squad will be desperate to bounce back with a win, and will be buoyed by the fact there is a strong chance Ben Davies, Ethan Ampadu and David Brooks will be fit to start, after Davies’ hernia operation was delayed, with Ampadu and Brooks recovering from being unable to start against Croatia. Both Ampadu and Brooks impressed after coming off the bench in that match, and many expect Wales’ manager Ryan Giggs to name them in the starting line-up if they are fit enough as expected.
Daniel James who’s close to finalising his big move to Manchester United is again expected to start, along with Harry Wilson and Gareth Bale in the attack. Bale is likely to continue to feature, despite speculation regarding his future at Real Madrid reaching new levels in recent weeks, and with Ashley Williams likely to miss out on a place in the starting 11, Gareth Bale will be expected to continue as captain for the third match in a row. As for the midfield, Matt Smith is expected to drop out of the line-up in order for Ampadu to retake his starting position alongside Joe Allen in the centre of midfield. In defence, the partnership of James Lawrence and Chris Mepham are expected to continue as Giggs’ preferred choice, with Connor Roberts and Ben Davies continuing as the full-backs. Wayne Hennessey is the undisputed first-choice goalkeeper and should continue.
In terms of strength in depth, Wales look stronger than in recent years, and Giggs could call on the likes of Kiefer Moore, Ben Williams or Dylan Levitt, who are all uncapped but included in the squad. Moore especially could be useful as an out and out striker should Wales need a goal as the match progresses into its dying stages.
Hungary’s manager is Italian Marco Rossi, who has helped revitalise Hungary’s fortunes at international level since replacing Belgian Georges Leekens in 2018. In his nine matches in charge, they’ve won five, drawn one and lost three.
In terms of the goalkeepers named in the Squad, the undisputed first choice is former Liverpool stopper Péter Gulácsi, who now plays in Germany for RB Leipzig. Dénes Dibusz, of Ferencvárosi, and Ádám Kovácsik, of MOL Fehérvár, provide the backup.
In defence, former Newcastle United defender Tamás Kádár is expected to return in place of Mihály Korhut. Gergő Lovrencsics and Botond Baráth will likely also continue in defence, alongside RB Leipzig centre-back Willi Orban, who scored twice against Azerbaijan to take his goalscoring tally up to three in just seven matches. Barnábas Bese and Paulo Vinícius are also included in the squad but are unlikely to start.
In midfield, their Captain Balázs Dzsudzsák is the undisputed star player, with over 100 caps for his country. Dzsudzsák is a set-piece expert and its vital that Wales keep him quiet. Bologna midfielder Ádám Nagy is another crucial member, meanwhile, László Kleinheiser and Dominik Nagy are expected to retain their positions in midfield, with young 18-year old RB Salzburg prospect Dominik Szoboszlai facing a race to be fit in time for kick-off after suffering a knock against Azerbaijan. Máté Pátkai, Zsolt Kalmár, István Kovács and Dávid Holman are all included in the squad, and any one of them could make an appearance if Szoboszlai fails his late fitness test. Holman made his international debut against Azerbaijan and scored the all-important third goal, so he could be expected to make an appearance at some point.
Up front, Hoffenheim attacker Ádám Szalai is expected to continue as the lone striker after his good run of form recently. Former Liverpool youngster and current Sporting Kansas City forward Krisztián Németh is the second choice, with fellow attackers Roland Varga and Filip Holender available from the bench.
THE LIKELY LINE-UPS
Here are our predicted line-ups for both teams ahead of the match.
Groupama Stadium – Baumetall (https://en.baumetall.hu/referenciak/groupama-arena-budapest-acelszerkezetu-tetojenek-femlemezfedese#&gid=1&pid=1)
Dan James – Talking Baws (http://www.talkingbaws.com/2019/06/man-utd-fans-left-underwhelmed-by-daniel-jamess-display-for-wales/)
Kieffer Moore – Getty Images (https://www.bristolpost.co.uk/sport/football/football-news/crazy-think-wouldnt-want-him-2860920)
Hungary celebrate vs Croatia – Daily News Hungary
Balázs Dzsudzsák – Richard Heathcote
Dominik Szoboszlai – Vaaju.com (https://vaaju.com/Faustriaeng/Fbayern-is-probably-targeting-dominik-szoboszlai-from-rb-salzburg)