Paula Vilaplana: “Hello and welcome. Portugal take on Hungary this evening in a crucial Euro 2016 game. For Bernd Storck’s men, this fixture serves as a chance to upset the odds yet again. How well have the underdogs played so far and will it be enough to trouble Cristiano Ronaldo’s team-mates?
“Hungarian journalist Doloresz Katanich and Francisco Marques of Portugal joined us to share their views on their respective national teams. After a 44-year absence from the European Championship, Group F leaders Hungary look set to qualify for the knockout phase. Did you expect this?”
Doloresz Katanich: “I don’t think a lot of people here expected it but we were hopeful ahead of the tournament. To tell you the truth, I don’t believe Group F is very strong and it seems as though teams facing us tend to underestimate our group of players. Now other sides can see that we are competing with the likes of Portugal and Cristiano Ronaldo, who earns more money than all of our national team players combined. Of course I’m surprised we got off to such a good start but I’m also suprised other so called ‘stronger’ teams have stumbled so far.”
Paula Vilaplana: “What is the atmosphere like in Hungary right now and how can you explain your team’s great start to the competition?”
Doloresz Katanich: “This feeling is hard to describe. Approximately twenty thousand Hungarian fans have travelled to France to watch the competition unfold while tens of thousands of people are watching the games on television and supporting the national team. I spoke to some friends before the tournament got underway and they didn’t seem that interested. Now it’s a whole different story and the situation has completely changed… even my mother is talking about the European championship.
“I think we owe this success zo our coach Bernd Storck and his predecessor Pál Dárdai. Both men worked hard to introduce a new style of play and it seems as though their system is working. Our players are used to working hard during training sessions and I believe this shows on the pitch.”
Paula Vilaplana: “Portugal, on the other hand, have failed to deliver so far. They were held twice and currently sit third in Group F. What’s going on?”
Francisco Marques: “It’s a worrying situation of course but football can be cruel sometimes. We’re creating so many chances but we can’t find the back of the net. We’re still undefeated although we all know that we can’t afford to lose our next game. It’s almost like playing in the knockout stages in that respect. Portugal were in a similar situation at the European Championship in France in 1984. We drew against West Germany and Spain before beating Romania. We eventually lost
to France in the semi-finals, which shows you that anything is possible. We just need to put away our chances.”
Paula Vilaplana: “And what about Cristiano Ronaldo? Would you say he has failed to live up to expectations so far?”
Francisco Marques: “Well it’s true that Ronaldo is underperforming at the moment. The same happened at the World Cup two years ago but he’s still the best player in the world so we all know he has what it takes to bounce back. Luckily for us, Portugal do not solely rely on one player. William Carvalho proved his worth against Austria and I think he’s one of the best defensive midfielders at the moment. André Gomes and João Moutinho have failed to get into their stride so far so maybe the manager needs to make a few changes. João Mario could play as an attacking midfielder. We also have new Bayern signing Renato Sanchez who could prove the difference in a tight game. There is still time.”
Paula Vilaplana: “And here’s my last question. How do you think the game will end?”
Doloresz Katanich: “I would say 1-0…in our favour of course.”
Francisco Marques: “5-3 and this will be the most exciting match of the tournament. Good luck!”
Doloresz Katanich: “Good luck to you too.”