Preview: Barath, Nemeth and Hungary begin Euro 2020 qualifying at Slovakia on Thursday

Hungary at Slovakia
UEFA Euro 2020 Qualifying | Group E
Thursday, March 21 | 2:45 p.m. CT | ESPN3, WatchESPN
Anton Malatinsky Stadium | Trnava, Slovakia

Sporting Kansas City striker Krisztian Nemeth and center back Botond Barath will look to parlay their solid starts to the 2019 season into equally strong showings with the Hungary Men's National Team as qualifying for UEFA Euro 2020 kicks off across the European continent.

Nemeth, Barath and the Magyars open their Group E campaign at 2:45 p.m. CT Thursday, visiting Slovakia in a match that will stream live on ESPN3 and WatchESPN. Hungary is part of a challenging group that includes three of the top 30 teams in the latest FIFA rankings, including No. 4 Croatia, No. 19 Wales and the Slovaks, who currently sit 29th. 

The five teams in the group will square off in a home-and-away, double-round-robin format between now and November for a total of eight games. The top two finishers will advance to the tournament finals, which is scheduled to take place in 12 cities in 12 different European countries during the summer of 2020. 

UEFA EURO 2020 QUALIFYING: GROUP E

FIFA
rank
TEAM PTS W L T GF GA GD
4 Croatia 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
19 Wales 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
29 Slovakia 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
52 Hungary 0 0 0 0 0 0 0
108 Azerbaijan 0 0 0 0 0 0 0

Nemeth has scored five goals in six appearances for Sporting this season, reclaiming the scintillating form that saw him first shine for the club in 2015. Barath, meanwhile, has earned four straight starts under Manager Peter Vermes, acclimating quickly and effectively in his first year away from hometown club Budapest Honved FC.

The Sporting duo join a 26-man Hungary squad led by Italian-born head coach Marco Rossi, who happened to coach Barath at Honved from 2012-2014 and again from 2015-2017. The Magyars are hoping to make their second straight Euro appearance, having returned to the 2016 edition in France for their first trip to the tournament since 1972. Almost three years ago, Hungary performed admirably in the group stage before taking a 4-0 loss to Belgium in the Round of 16.

Slovakia, captained by veteran midfielder Marek Hamsek, made their FIFA World Cup debut in 2010 before competing at their first European Championship in 2016. The Falcons emerged from the group stage in France but fell to Germany in the Round of 16.

Hungary Roster

Goalkeepers (3): Peter Gulacsi (RB Leipzig), Denes Gibusz (Ferencvaros), Adam Kovacsik (MOL Vidi)

Defenders (8): Tamas Kadar (Dynamo Kiev), Gergo Lovrencsics (Ferencvaros), Adam Lang (CFR Cluj), Barnabas Bese (Le Havre), Mihaly Korhut (Aris), Paulo Vinicius (MOL Vidi), Willi Orgban (RB Leipzig), Botond Barath (Sporting Kansas City)

Midfielders (10): Balazs Dzsudzsak (Ittihad Kalba), Adam Nagy (Bologna), Laszlo Kleinheisler (Osijek), Mate Patkai (MOL Vidi), Zsolt Kalmar (DAC Dinajska Streda), Istvan Kovacs (MOL Vidi), Dominik Nagy (Legia Warsaw), David Holman (Slovan Bratislava), Daniel Gazdag (Honved), Dominik Szoboszlai (Red Bull Salzburg)

Forwards (5): Adam Szalai (Hoffenheim), Roland Varga (Ferencvaros), Norbert Balogh (APOEL), Filip Holender (Honved), Krisztian Nemeth (Sporting Kansas City)