Hungary to begin EURO 2020 qualification bid in Slovakia
Sunday’s draw for the UEFA 2020 European Championship qualifying group stage sees Hungary Men placed in the same group as World Cup runners-up Croatia, Wales, Slovakia, and Azerbaijan. Hungary will begin their campaign with a match against Slovakia in Bratislava on Thursday 21 March next year, with the first home match being against Croatia in Budapest three days later.
The following year of 2020 will see the Puskás Ferenc Stadion in Budapest be one of the venues – hosting three group matches and one last-sixteen tie – for the largest European Championship final tournament to date, which is being co-hosted by 12 cities in 12 different countries across Europe. 24 teams will qualify for the final tournament, 20 through the European Qualifiers groups and four through the UEFA Nations League.
There are ten qualification groups, with the group-winners and runners-up progressing to the finals. Seedings for the draw were based on the teams’ UEFA Nations League results, and saw Hungary placed as a fourth seed. Only two of the twelve co-host countries – Azerbaijan, Denmark, England, Germany, Hungary, Ireland, Italy, Netherlands, Romania, Russia, Scotland, and Spain – were permitted to be drawn together in the same group to give every host nation the opportunity to qualify. Hungary were drawn in Group E together with World Cup runners-up Croatia, Wales, Slovakia, and Azerbaijan, one of five groups to consist of only five, and not six teams.
It is quite rare that a fourth seed finishes in one of the top two spots in the group, although the last time it happened was in the previous European Championship qualifiers when four fourth or fifth seeds (Northern Ireland, Wales, Albania and Finland) did so.
Following the completion of the qualifiers, sixteen of the teams who missed out on qualification through their qualifying group will have the opportunity to reach UEFA EURO 2020 via the UEFA Nations League playoffs, four making it through via that route.
The new EURO 2020 Qualifiers will be played over an eight-month period, from March to November 2019. Hungary will play two matches in March, before playing in June, September, October and November.
Hungary’s group fixtures
March 21st: Slovakia – Hungary (20:45)
March 24th: Hungary – Croatia (18:00)
June 8th: Azerbaijan – Hungary (18:00)
June 11th: Hungary – Wales (20:45)
September 9th: Hungary – Slovakia (20:45)
October 10th: Croatia – Hungary (20:45)
October 13th: Hungary – Azerbaijan (18:00)
November 19th: Wales – Hungary (20:45)