Three years ago Hungary’s game was built on survival but Marco Rossi has unleashed the side’s creative talents and they were undefeated in qualifying

Hungary fans during the friendly against Turkey at Puskas Arena in Budapest. Photograph: Arpad Kurucz/Anadolu/Getty Images

This article is part of the Guardian’s Euro 2024 Experts’ Network, a cooperation between some of the best media organisations from the 24 countries who qualified. is running previews from two countries each day in the run-up to the tournament kicking off on 14 June.


Though Hungary have famously had great teams in the past, this generation is the first of its kind for a very long time. Playing a transitional, relationist 5-3-2 formation, Marco Rossi’s side have developed enormously in the three years since the last European Championship where they so narrowly missed out on a place in the knockout stages despite being in a nightmarish group containing Portugal, Germany and France.

Then, Hungary were based on survival, whereas now this team are thriving in their own right. Led by the masterful Dominik Szoboszlai, they are much improved in an attacking sense since Euro 2020 and now play a flowing brand of football which gives the players the freedom to flex their creative muscles.

Though the squad on paper may not worry many, this Hungary side is much more than the sum of its parts and is built on a combination of astute tactics and being intensely resolute. In international football, it’s a combination you rarely see.

And this all comes from their manager, Rossi, who embodies every fibre of his team. The Italian has been transformational since taking charge in 2018 and has developed a side who are being tipped by some as a dark horse for the tournament.

That may be a stretch and a group containing Germany, Switzerland and Scotland won’t be easy to navigate, but the further Hungary go, the more confidence they will collect, and the more dangerous they will become.

At the time of writing Hungary are on a run of one defeat in 18 games, which is not to be sniffed at, especially when away wins over Germany and England are included in that sequence. They qualified for these finals unbeaten in their eight games and topped their group for the first time in their European Championship qualifying history.