Baku, November 12, AZERTAC
Hungary will look to beat Norway for the first time since 1981 when the sides square off at Oslo’s Ullevaal Stadium in the first leg of their Euro 2016 play-off tie today, according to timesofmalta.
The Hungarians have not competed in a major tournament since the 1986 World Cup.
“The next two games are the most important games of my career,” Hungary captain Balazs Dzsudzsak, who plays for Turkish side Bursaspor, told reporters.
Hungary’s German coach Bernd Storck will be hoping his side has the upper hand heading into Sunday’s second leg at Budapest’s Groupama Arena.
Hungary won four and lost two of their Group F qualifying matches to finish third behind Northern Ireland and Romania, respectively.
Storck’s side went undefeated on the road in qualifying before ending the campaign with a 4-3 loss in Greece on October 11.
Norway have not lost to Hungary in their previous nine games and are favourites to reach their first Euro finals tournament since 2000.
Moreover, the Norwegians have won two and drawn one of their last three home games against Hungary, with the latter failing to score.
Norway narrowly missed out on automatic qualification as they finished just one point adrift of second-placed Croatia in Group H, with Italy taking top spot.
“There is a lot of positive energy in this group of players, but we will also need to be well-prepared,” Norway coach Per-Mathias Hogmo told reporters.
Among those is Stromsgodset’s in-form striker Marcus Pedersen, who has found the back of the net three times in his last three games in the Tippeligaen.
Pedersen is expected to start in attack alongside Rosenborg’s Alexander Soderlund, who currently is at the top of the league’s scoring charts with 22 goals from 29 games.
Today’s match will mark goalkeeper Gabor Kiraly’s 100th appearance for Hungary, while the visitors will be without defender Roland Juhasz, who must serve a one-match ban.