Euro 2020 outsiders Hungary were held to a 0-0 draw by a spirited Ireland in Budapest on Tuesday in their final friendly match before the delayed tournament starting on June 11
The tie extends the Magyars unbeaten streak to 11 games across all competitions, with their last defeat coming against Russia in the UEFA Nations League in September 2020.
Hungary enjoyed more possession throughout but, similar to their hard-earned 1-0 win against Cyprus last Friday, struggled to create chances against a well-organised Irish outfit.
Hungary’s blunt attacking edge will concern Italian coach Marco Rossi whose starting line-up was close to the side that will face a daunting challenge in Euro 2020 Group F.
Hungary play title holders Portugal (June 15) and World Champions France (June 19) at the Puskas Arena, before facing Germany in Munich (June 23).
Stephen Kenny’s Ireland, seeking to make it two friendly wins in a row after beating Andorra 4-1 last Friday, nearly went ahead after six minutes when Sheffield United defender John Egan slammed a header against the crossbar.
After settling, Hungary had the better of the first half but had to wait until just before the break to threaten an opener when captain Adam Szalai’s header forced a diving save from Gavin Bazanu.
Growing in confidence Ireland carved out more openings on the counter-attack in the second period, going close with a long-range strike by Norwich City’s Adam Idah that was pushed wide by substitute goalkeeper Adam Bogdan.
Late on, burly Mainz striker Szalai almost broke the deadlock with close-range efforts that were tipped over by Bazanu’s replacement Liverpool’s Caoimhin Kelleher, while he curled another shot just wide.
The match was played in front of over 10,000 raucous home fans in the Szusza Ferenc stadium, with packed stands also expected at the Puskas Arena in Budapest, the only one of the 11 Euro 2020 stadia not to limit fan numbers.
The Magyars will be appearing at their second successive European Championships after reaching the last 16 round at Euro 2016.