Euro 2016 play-off - Norway - Hungary Preview: Both sides desperate for first leg lead

Norway have remained unbeaten for over 30 years against Hungary, and the sides meet in Oslo for the first leg of their UEFA Euro 2016 play-off.

The hosts’ morale will be boosted with that fact ahead of an important tie on Thursday, but they have also lost their only other play-off tie, losing 5-1 on aggregate to Spain.

Hungary are featuring in the UEFA Euro play-offs for the first time, they faced Yugoslavia in the 1998 World Cup play-off, where they crashed out 12-1 on aggregate.

How did they finish in their groups?

In Group F, Hungary finished behind Northern Ireland and Romania, while Norway came third behind Italy and Croatia in Group H during the round-robin stage of the qualifiers.

The Hungarians suffered a 4-3 defeat in Greece on the final matchday, but it wouldn’t have made a difference even if they won, with Romania beating the Faroe Islands 3-0 and Northern Ireland drawing 1-1 in Finland.

As for Norway, a win over Italy on the final matchday would have won them their respective group, but a 2-1 defeat and Croatia’s 1-0 win in Malta kept them in third and in the play-off spot.

A clean sheet in their last four home games will be a record that Norway will be wanting to extend, while Hungary have failed to score in five of their last seven games against the Nordic side.

It has been 15 years since the Norwegians participated in a European competition, back at Euro 2000, while Hungary have not been part of a major tournament since the 1986 World Cup.

Team News

Joshua King and Jonas Svensson are surprise omissions from the Norway squad, while Adama Diomande will miss out once more through injury.

Forwards Mohamed Elyounoussi and Marcus Pedersen have both been recalled as Orjan Nyland, Even Hovland and Stefan Johansen keep their places.

Ahead of the Hungary first-leg, there has been no reports of any injuries for head coach Per-Mathias Høgmo, with the team that ended the group stage likely to maintain their places.

Hungary head coach Bernd Storck decided to drop midfielder Daniel Tozser from his squad, a surprise to many, while Laszio Kleinheisler has made the squad for the first time in his career.

Experienced forward players Adam Szalai and Zolan Stieber have been welcomed back into the side after missing the qualifiers in October as Daniel Bode is expected to keep his spot.

Predicted line-ups