#360fans: Portugal vs Hungary – Euro 2016 Group F UAE fans preview

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Portugal face a fight to advance

Ahead of their Group F clash in Lyon on Wednesday, Portugal and Hungary UAE-based fans give their verdict on the game.

To gain an insight into the mindset of the fans we asked UAE fans to share with us their predictions, likely line-ups and players to watch.

Do you agree or have they missed the mark? Use #360Fans to share with us your thoughts.

PORTUGAL – Francisco Alves (Architect, Dubai)

Even the most optimistic Hungarians would not have expected themselves to be in pole position at this point and they won’t be willing to just drop their big chance to go through. I’m expecting a locked down defensive approach from the Magyars, exactly as Iceland and Austria played against us.

This may very well be the worst circumstances in which to face Portugal, though. We are desperate to both win and convince not only the Portuguese supporters, but also the media, that we were favourites to win this group for a reason.

After his disappointing performances in the first two matches, it would be wise to unload the pressure from Cristiano Ronaldo’s shoulders as the main attacking resource for the team. The majority of Portuguese fans (including myself) are hoping for Renato Sanches to be included in the starting line-up instead of Andre Gomes. Although João Moutinho is always guaranteed to provide consistent pass accuracy, we could use some more creativity and even João Mário should be considered.

Let’s hope our manager Fernando Santos refreshes the midfield with the galvanising energy of our wonderkids. Looking back at the (supposedly) easy group draw, one wouldn’t have expected it to play out like this, but that’s just the Portuguese way. We are experts in agonising improvisation.

PREDICTION: Portugal 1 – 0 Hungary

LIKELY PORTUGAL XI: Rui Patricio; Vieirinha, Pepe, R. Carvalho, Eliseu; W. Carvalho, Moutinho, Renato Sanches; Quaresma, Nani, Ronaldo.

PORTUGAL PLAYER TO WATCH: Cristiano Ronaldo – Twenty shots, zero goals… it’s got to change soon right?!  Ronaldo has had more attempts than nine TEAMS at this tournament but luck has not been on his side. It might affect a normal player’s confidence but giving up is not part of Cristiano’s character and hopefully this goal-drought will end precisely when he is most needed to lead the team into the last-16.

HUNGARY PLAYER TO FEAR: Ádám Nagy. One of the most promising young players in Hungarian football, his ability to intercept opponents’ passes is impressive. As a Benfica fan, and a keen follower of transfer rumours, I’ll be curious to see if he truly has what it takes to wear my club’s glorious colours.

WHERE TO WATCH THE GAME: Barasti Beach Bar.

Twitter/Instagram handle: @ShoukFritz

HUNGARY – Viktor Jemeljanov (Chief Representative, Dubai)

Well, well, well, Hungary are leading Group F after two games. Who’d have thought it?! It’s surprised everyone, including the Hungarian fans, but our team without superstars has come together and put four points on the board.

We now face our toughest match yet against Portugal but should not feel pressure as we should be through to the knockout stage whether we lose or not. In contrast, the Portuguese HAVE to win to progress. They have a lot of expectation on their shoulders but they also have some fantastic players.

Daniel Bode suffered a slight injury during the Iceland match, but hopefully he will fully in time, while Attila Fiol is still out, meaning the XI will likely be the same that started the last game.

The last time when Hungary proceeded to the knockout stage on a big tournament was 50 years ago at the 1966 World Cup. Hungary were also in the same group with Portugal back then, but lost their first match to them 3-1, before beating Brazil and Bulgaria. While this team probably isn’t good enough to beat Brazil, it is cheered on by a hugely passionate set of supporters that believe anything is possible now. The fans give extra strength to the players, hopefully they will feed off that against Portugal.

PREDICTION: Portugal 1-1 Hungary

LIKELY HUNGARY XI: Kiraly, Lang, Guzmics, Juhasz, Kadar, Kleinheisler, Gera, Nagy, Stieber, Priskin, Dzsudzsak

HUNGARY PLAYER TO WATCH: Balazs Dzsudzsak – He has been a real hero for Hungary so far and is a player who the fans love. His dribbling, his attacking intent – surely one of Europe’s big clubs will come in for him after watching his performances in France!

PORTUGAL PLAYER TO FEAR: Nani – All eyes will be on Cristiano Ronaldo but his old team-mate at Manchester United has scored one more goal than him so far at Euro 2016 and has looked dangerous in both games with his movement on and off the ball.

WHERE TO WATCH THE GAME: ON42 at the Media One Hotel.

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#360fans – Iceland vs Austria – Euro 2016 Group F UAE fans preview with players to watch and prediction

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It is an important match for both sides in Paris.

Ahead of their Group F match in Paris on Wednesday, Iceland and Austria UAE-based fans give their verdict on the game.

To gain an insight into the mindset of the fans we asked UAE fans to share with us their predictions, likely line-ups and players to watch.

Do you agree or have they missed the mark? Use #360Fans to share with us your thoughts.

ICELAND – Sæmundur St. Magnusson (Private Client Advisor, Dubai)

Such had the level of expectation for Iceland been transformed by the result against Portugal, it was hugely disappointing not to hold on for victory against Hungary in our second match.

The match against Portugal was a necessary defensive performance but, make no mistake, Iceland can play good football and we really sold ourselves short against Hungary. We were again excellent at the back – with the exception of Hungary’s agonizing equaliser of course – but in attack there was just not enough possession, not enough oomph.

However, we still have a chance of winning our group and our fate is in our hands. I’d expect to see one change to the starting XI with Eidur Gudjohnsen coming in for Böðvarsson, as we want to hold on to the ball more than we did in the last two games.

Unfortunately, Alfred Finnbogason has collected two yellow cards and is suspended which limits the attacking options at Lars Lagerback and Markus Hallgrimsson’s disposal.

PREDICTION: Iceland 1-0 Austria

LIKELY ICELAND XI: Halldorsson, Skulason, Arnason, Sigurdsson, Sævarsson, Bjarnason, Gunnarsson, Sigurdsson, Gudmundsson, Gudjohnsen, Sigþorsson.

ICELAND PLAYER TO WATCH: Gylfi Sigurdsson – Showed he is deadly from the penalty spot against Hungary but now we want to see him showing how deadly he is in open play too. He is our most creative player and as our top scorer in qualifying, also our most clear goal threat.

AUSTRIA PLAYER TO FEAR: Marko Arnautovic – The Stoke City winger and Zlatan Ibrahimovic doppelganger is fast, strong, offers good crosses and has an eye for a goal.

WHERE TO WATCH THE GAME: Kickers Sport Bar at Dubai Sports City.

AUSTRIA – Thomas Lattacher (Assistant Product Manager, Dubai)

Our last game, the 0-0 draw with Portugal, felt for most Austrian fans (myself included) like a win. It was definitely not a very glamorous performance but after the disappointment of the first game it will have injected a much-needed boost of confidence into the team.

Austria certainly owes our goalkeeper Robert Almer a huge debt of thanks for somehow keeping that clean sheet and keeping Cristiano Ronaldo at bay, with a little help from the goalpost for the penalty of course. Martin Hinteregger admitted he was the “happiest man in France” after seeing the spot-kick rebound off the goalframe, and it certainly put a smile on the faces of all the Austrian fans at Euro 2016 and around the world.

The upcoming game against Iceland will be just as exciting to watch as a win should be enough to take Austria through to the last-16. The same is true for Iceland, though, which should mean that both teams try to play offensive football right from the first moment. Both teams have a strong defence, though, so if we get chances it is imperative that we take them.

PREDICTION: Iceland 0-1 Austria

LIKELY AUSTRIA XI: Almer, Klein, Dragovic, Hinteregger, Fuchs, Ilsanker, Baumgartlinger, Harnik, Alaba, Arnautovic, Sabitzer

AUSTRIA PLAYER TO WATCH: Marko Arnautovic – He’s had a quiet tournament so far but I think the game will suit him better than the previous two because Austria will be more offensive-minded. He can beat players one-on-one which will be important if we are to create chances to win this game.

ICELAND PLAYER TO FEAR: Gylfi Sigurdsson – Their key man, Sigurdsson, dictates their strategy and it will be imperative for our two defensive central midfielders to keep him quiet.

WHERE TO WATCH THE GAME: Definitely ON42 in MediaOne hotel – most Austrians will be there so if you cheer for Alaba & Co, feel free to join!

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#360fans: Sweden vs Belgium – Euro 2016 Group E UAE fans preview with players to watch, likely line-ups and prediction

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Key men in the frame: Lukaku and Zlatan.

Ahead of their Group E clash in Nice on Wednesday, Sweden and Belgium UAE-based fans give their verdict on the game.

To gain an insight into the mindset of the fans we asked UAE fans to share with us their predictions, likely line-ups and players to watch.

Do you agree or have they missed the mark? Use #360Fans to share with us your thoughts.

BELGIUM – Herwig Devolder (Freight Forwarder, Dubai)

Overall, it was an easy win against Ireland but to be honest it did not provide a real test for our team. We still can, and should, improve. There were of course plenty of positives in the 3-0 win, our fast counter-attacking play returned after its absence against Italy and we are so dangerous when we play on the break, exemplified by Lukaku’s second goal which saw us break from one end of the pitch to the other in only a couple of passes.

Axel Witsel also had a great game at No. 6, while Thomas Meunier played well at full-back despite not having much previous international experience. Ireland failed to get a single shot on goal, a sign that the defence finally had a good game!

Still, though, Belgium must get better at converting our dominant possession into real chances. There is certainly a chance to do that against Sweden, who have looked very ordinary so far at Euro 2016. We last played against them on home soil at Euro 2000, winning 2-1 thanks to goals from Bart Goor and Emile Mpenza. Obviously Zlatan Ibrahimovic wasn’t playing then – he can score out of nothing and I’d worry about our chances of coming back from 1-0 down.

PREDICTION: Belgium 2-1 Sweden

LIKELY BELGIUM XI: Courtois; Meunier, Alderweireld, Vermaelen, Vertongen; Witsel, Nainggolan; De Bruyne, Mertens, Hazard; Lukaku.

BELGIUM PLAYER TO WATCH: Dries Mertens – With Yannick Carrasco still injured, I’m looking forward to watching Mertens. The Napoli winger has some serious speed and can definitely cause damage to the Sweden defence.

SWEDEN PLAYER TO FEAR: Zlatan Ibrahimovic – Has anyone picked another Sweden player?! The fact he hasn’t scored yet worries me slightly. The coiled spring could be ready to surprise us.

WHERE TO WATCH THE GAME: Belgian Beer Café at Souk Madinat. Good Belgian atmosphere, beer and food.

SWEDEN – Bengt Ternstrom (Chief executive, Dubai)

Against Ireland we showed resilience but against Italy a lack of focus really cost us; it was late delight in the first game, late despair in the second. You just can’t switch off in international football and that’s what happened at the end of the game in Toulouse. Yes, it was a great strike by Eder but there is a great picture which shows five Swedish players around him when he hits it – more should have been done to stop the shot or get the block in.

Embarrassingly, Sweden are now the first team not to have mustered a single shot on target in the first two games of the European Championship since 1980. Not a favourable stat! The over-reliance on Zlatan Ibrahimovic, who has just announced his international retirement after the conclusion of the tournament, is becoming unbearable, particularly as he has been totally unable to replicate the incredible form he enjoyed playing in France all season for PSG.

Victory seems unlikely but at least the point in our opening game gives us an outside chance of qualifying. It will be really tough facing a Belgium team that finally appeared to come together in unison against Ireland. Hopefully they will replicate the performance against Italy instead, where they looked a lot less cohesive.

PREDICTION: Belgium 1-1 Sweden

LIKELY SWEDEN XI: Isaksson; Lustig, Lindelof, Granqvist, Olsson; Durmaz, Kallstrom, Hiljemark, Forsberg; Berg, Ibrahimovic.

SWEDEN PLAYER TO WATCH: Kim Kallstrom – It’s time we stopped relying on Zlatan and in Grasshoppers playmaker Kallstrom we have someone who can definitely make things happen going forward. He also boasts excellent delivery from set-pieces which may prove our best hope of getting a goal.

BELGIUM PLAYER TO FEAR: Romelu Lukaku – The Everton striker opened his account at Euro 2016 in style against Ireland. He’s quick, he’s powerful, and now he’s in form too. We should be scared!

WHERE TO WATCH THE GAME: ON42 at the Media One Hotel.

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