Exactly one month later, the Hungarian national team will clash with two-time World Champion Uruguay to open Hungary’s brand new, super expensive and state-of-the-art stadium, Puskás Aréna.
While the Aréna itself is apparently 99.5% ready, its surroundings still need clearing. Observing the large number of workers working day and night, one can be sure that everything will be ready by November 15th to host one of the world’s most traditional footballing countries.
At the upcoming Euro 2020, Puskás Aréna, Hungary’s biggest sports infrastructure investment in recent times, is scheduled to host four matches: three in the group stage and one in the round of 16. Unfortunately, the national team’s chance for qualification has become slim by now.
Puskás Ferenc Stadium, formerly known as Népstadion (“People’s Stadium”), opened in 1953 and was completely demolished in March 2016 when reconstruction works started. The new stadium’s capacity is 67,000 for football events, while for concerts it can house 80,000 people.
Although most agree that Hungary needs a larger national stadium with the ability to host high-profile football games and concerts as Groupama Arena, the country’s largest venue at the moment, is usually sold out weeks before National Team games and organizing top-level concerts have become problematic as well, the large cost of the stadium is still a matter of controversy.
Initially, in 2011, the construction was budgeted for 35 billion HUF (around EUR 112 million); that number rose to approximately 190 billion (EUR 610 million) by now, making it one of the most expensive stadiums in Europe.
The National team has played against Uruguay three times in history. Besides two ties at friendly games in the 60s, Hungary beat the South American team in the semifinal of the 1954 World Cup.