Round of 16
Hungary v Belgium
Monday June 27, 5:00am
Hungary have been one of the surprise packages of the tournament so far as they were widely expected to finish bottom of Group F, but they in fact ended up winning it with five points after a 3-3 thriller with Portugal.
Belgium, meanwhile, will now regard their defeat against Italy in their tournament opener as something of a blessing in disguise as they achieved the runners-up spot after winning their final two group games and as a result are in the softer half of the draw.
Hungary certainly showed some form heading into the tournament as they’d only suffered two defeats in 12 matches and one of those was against World Champions Germany. With their win over Austria and draws with Iceland and Portugal in the group stages, that run now stretches to two in 15, with four draws in their last six.
Their record against sides that are ranked between 26 and 46 places higher than them is W3-D3-L6 since 2007, though they only lost two by more than one goal. These games have generally been tight affairs, with seven of 12 seeing fewer than three goals and it’s worth noting that Hungary only trailed at the break in three.
Belgium bounced back strongly after defeat against Italy and they’ve now won 12 of their last 16. Marc Wilmots will be glad that his side have managed clean sheets in their two wins, as they’d failed to shut out their opponents in eight prior to that. Their record against teams they’re ranked between 26 and 46 places higher than is W8-D1-L0 since 2011, though they conceded exactly once in seven of these matches and as a result only three of their wins were by more than one goal.
Hungary were in fact the joint-top goalscorers in the group stages and since Belgium have been suspect defensively in recent times, particularly in the absence of Vincent Kompany, they certainly look on the short side here at 1.67. This is of course the first time that we have a last-16 stage in the Euros, but in World Cup last -16 ties since 2010, sides ranked outside the top-20 have managed to score in four of their seven clashes with teams ranked above them.
Though the first round of Euro knockout matches have generally been cagey in recent times, with 14 of 20 quarter-finals since 1996 seeing fewer than three goals, these two were sides whose games saw more goals than most in the group stages and as a result we’re backing both teams to find the net.
BACK – Both Teams to Score Yes at 2.48