Cristiano Ronaldo has re-found his shooting boots but thankfully England won’t be in his firing line.
The varying permutations of Group F were up in the air throughout the 90 minutes, and Portugal were all but set to meet Roy Hodgson’s side in the last 16 until a last minute goal from Iceland against Austria moved the Icelandic’s into second place- making them England’s next opponents.
Portugal finish third after another unconvincing performance, while Hungary emerged as the shock winners of the group.
If the different variations weren’t confusing enough, then cracking end to end game of football made the situation even more complicated.
Hungary led three times and first went ahead inside 20 minutes though an excellent strike from former Fulham and West Brom midfielder Zoltán Gera.
Ronaldo then set up Nani minutes before half time before two goals from Hungary captain Balázs Dzsudzsák. Though Portugal’s talisman managed to bail his nation out and equalised on both occasions.
Another slow start from Portugal
Portugal made two changes from the eleven which started the frustrating draw against Austria. Full back Raphaël Guerreiro was replaced by Eliseu while winger João Mário took the place of Ricardo Quaresma in what appeared a 4-4-2 formation, with Ronaldo and Nani leading the line.
Mario almost made an immediate impact after just five minutes when he fired an effort over the bar following a Portuguese corner, but it was the Hungarians who appeared the more threatening on the break.
A minute later Ádám Szalai, who scored in Hungary’s opening game against Austria, eluded Pepe but couldn’t divert his header from Dzsudzsák cross on target.
Like in their first two games Portugal’s slow build up play was made to look inferior to Hungary’s well-organised and compact 4-5-1 formation.
Hungary impressive once again
That wasn’t to say Bernd Storck’s side were simply happy to park the bus and use Ronaldo’s definition of a ‘small nation’s mentality’, which is what he said about Iceland after the opening game.
In fact the Hungarian’s showed composure on the ball and a bite on the counter attack, which saw them take the lead after 18 minutes.
A corner from the left was only half cleared by Portugal, and after chesting the ball down Gera produced a crisp strike which skimmed past Rui Patrício who had no chance.
Ronaldo had been kept quiet as Portugal’s crosses were wasteful and often over hit or comfortably headed to safety.
The Real Madrid star headed wide from Vieirinha cross before Portugal fell behind, however it was Hungary who carried the greater threat early on.
Szalai dazzled Pepe with good foot work on 23 minutes leaving the Real Madrid centre half in a heap on the floor. Ákos Elek then nipped in, but his shot was saved by Patrício.
Game of the tournament breaks out
Ronaldo continued to try his luck every time a free kick was awarded within range, but the majority flew high into the stand. He came closest on 28 minutes when he stuck set play which dipped in front of goalkeeper Gábor Király, but the tracksuit bottom goalkeeper turned the ball behind.
Portugal abruptly equalised three minutes before half time when Ronaldo showed great vision to thread a pass through to Nani, who converted the chance first time low under the body of Kiraly.
Then the second half burst into life like no other match at this tournament so far.
Hungary retook the lead three minutes after the restart when Dzsudzsák’s free kick deflected in off Andre Gomes, who was stood in the Portugal wall, deceiving Patrício who was sent the wrong way.
Ronaldo finally arrives
Ronaldo then flicked Mario’s cross into the far corner of Kiraly’s net moments later and Portugal were level again.
But back came Hungary and their captain Dzsudzsák who clattered another free kick into the wall, however when the ball came back to him the Hungarian skipper curled another shot past Patrício via another deflection. That made it 3-2.
At this stage the game had become incredibly open and twelve minutes after netting his first goal of the tournament, Ronaldo produced a powerful header to convert Quaresma’s cross after the latter had entered the fray as a substitute.
Quaresma continued to make the impact which he was sent on to create and he added a more direct threat to the Portugal attack.
However Hungary, knowing that a draw would see them top the group, managed to re-find their composure and the final few minutes were contrastingly dull.
In the end it was a late goal in the other game which decided the outcome and allowed every England fan to breathe a sign of relief.