Border mates Austria and Hungary open Euro 2016 Group F play and reignite a century old rivalry for the first time in 10 years in Tuesday’s showdown at Nouveau Stade de Bordeaux in France. Dating back to 1902, and spanning 135 matches, Hungary’s owned the all-time series with 65 victories, including the last battle in 2006, which ended 2-1.
However, it’s Austria that enters the match ranked No. 10 in the world and Hungary No. 20. Manager Marcel Koller’s side are victorious in nine straight matches and is relatively healthy as striker Marc Janko is expected to play despite a muscular injury. The 32-year-old netted seven goals to help Austria qualify for just the second time in history.
"Everyone's fit. We've had a great preparation period and I think it's time to finally get started," Koller told UEFA.com. "We hope to really be able to play as we want; of course there will be a few nerves but we hope we can quickly find our best playing style. [Hungary] are very strong at the back.
"They also attack very well and are good on the counter. Clearly I'm familiar with the history [of the fixture]. You could say it's a sort of derby."
Derby or not, Hungary and manager Bernd Storck aren’t nearly as fit but are proud of 40-year-old keeper Gabor Kiraly will be the oldest player to feature in a Euro match. The seemingly ageless Haladas star will earn his 104 th cap for country, and certainly has his work cut out for him with Austria sending out midfielder David Alba and Stoke’s Marko Arnautovic.
The Hungarian attack will be equally limited with midfielder Gergo Lovrencsics out due to what Storck called a "bad knee injury" and defender Tamas Kadar potentially out as well.
Storck said he was hopeful Kadar could train and thus improve his chances of playing, and he does expect Hungary to approach the match defensively the way it has of late.
"I expect the same as we have seen in recent games, especially against Germany and Ivory Coast, from a defensive point of view: we were well-organised and disciplined," Storck said. "And we also have to score. We want to win and we have to score. This is very important for us. [A victory] would be unbelievable – it's the first game and it would be a miracle coming against the favourites [for this match], Austria. It would also be fantastic for the upcoming games. It would give us confidence for the next match and it would be amazing."
Kickoff: 8 p.m. ET
TV Channel: ESPN, ESPN Deportes
Live Stream: ESPN3