Hungary: On the Road to Brazil?

 

Written by Bence Bocsak

With the two recent matches against Estonia and Turkey, our nation’s chance of qualifying has brightened up. Beating Turkey was definitely the turning point, before that many were calling for Egervari’s head, as his squad selections were extremely odd at times and many argued that other players deserved their chance. However, the dismantling of Turkey turned a lot of supporters on Egervari’s side and they are now very optimistic about our hopes of qualifying to the 2014 World Cup in Brazil.

Although, to be fair Hungary beat a very poor Turkish side whose stars have failed to perform since the beginning of their 2014 campaign and have suffered defeats against Romania and Holland already, the later one is probably not that surprising though as Holland are huge favourites in this group. With all this in mind it was still one of the greatest results in the Egervari era, as we saw the national team play extremely well in front of big crowd. Which was fantastic to see as the Puskas Ferenc Stadion doesn’t usually get filled up with spectators these days.

Hungary now sits second in Group D with 9 points and just 3 points behind the Netherlands after 4 games played. The following games against Romania will be the most crucial in this campaign as they are now the ones who seemed to be our main rivals for the 2nd spot. Romania has surprised a few I think in their campaign so far, and they looked like a very tough side to beat and one that could defend their lead at crucial times as their defence is very hard to break down. However, they looked very unconvincing against the Netherlands as they were thrashed 4-1 in Romania by Louis Van Gaal and co. Let’s not forget though the same thing happened to us when we played the Dutch as they thrashed us 4-1 as well and it was a very disappointing performance by Hungary that day. However, if we could produce a good performance against Holland the next time we play them in about a year’s time and hopefully scrap a draw, it would definitely get us ahead of everyone else in our group due to the fact that at this point Holland look like they will go on to win every game. So, if we could prove that wrong that 1 point could decide whether or not we finish second in the group.

We mustn’t get ahead of ourselves though, it’s  only been 4 games and there are 6 more to go if we are in the same position come next year, then that’s the time when we should start getting excited. Players like Koman and Szalai have been excellent in our campaign so far and they will probably be the players who will guide us to Brazil alongside a few of our more experienced players Gera, Juhasz and probably Dzsudzsak is in that category as well.

In terms of sport, 2012 has been a great one for Hungary, succeeding in the Olympics, Videoton achieving the impossible by qualifying to the Europa League and also Huszti flurishing in the Bundesliga since his move to Hannover this summer, which has given Hungarian football something to talk about. Unfortunately, though Huszti hasn’t been able to carry on his form for the national team due to the fact that there is an ongoing feud between him and Egervari. Huszti once stated that he doesn’t want to sign for Videoton just to get into the National team as he was upset by Egervari leaving him out of the team. It’s an irony that these days there aren’t any Videoton players in the National squad. However, upsetting people has sort of been Egervari’s thing since he started as national coach. First it was Huszti and then Sousa, when Egervari stated in the media that he doesn’t agree with the Portuguese manager’s team choices as he doesn’t pick many Hungarians in Videoton’s starting 11. This followed on by Sousa refusing to shake hands with him, when the couple met back in the winter of 2012 and their argument has been ongoing in the media ever since. Maybe, if he hadn’t got into these arguments in the first place the national team could be succeeding a lot more. I mean the creativity of Huszti and the finishing ability of Nikolics could be a huge impact to the team.

Back to our qualification campaign, if we somehow manage to clinch that 2nd spot then it will all be about the playoff round where it our chances of qualification will depend on who we get drawn against. Looking through the groups, I would most fancy us getting drawn against teams from Group E which consists of: Switzerland, Norway, Albania, Iceland, Slovenia and Cyprus, or teams from Group G which has: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Greece, Slovakia, Lithuania, Latvia and Liechtenstein. I have chosen these groups as I believe we are capable of beating probably every single team on that list, when we play our best.  Although looking around the other groups I haven’t found many teams that we could fear anyway, apart from France who will face a tough task of trying to finish ahead of Spain in their group and maybe Croatia or Belgium depends on who finished second in that group. Getting drawn any of those teams would definitely fade our chances of being in Brazil with the best come 2014. Although, I don’t want to get into too much details about this as first of all we need to make sure we do finish in second place.

Overall, we came so close to qualifying to the 2012 European Championship where if we would have beaten Sweden and Finland in our first and last game we could have qualified. So, this time we must make sure that we won’t let it happen again and aim to win the next 6 games in our qualification. Obviously, that is very unlikely but we mustn’t rely on others slipping up, we need to make sure that we won’t slip up ourselves. It would be a dream to see Hungary compete in Brazil with the best nations in the world and knowing how great the Hungarian fans are we could create a great atmosphere for our lads during the competition. The Hungarian fans crave success and that’s why they were so great in London this summer, as I am sure anyone who went to the games witnessed it. They will definitely make every effort to get there in numbers and support our team, as they are waiting patiently since 1986 for Hungary to qualify for a World Cup again. This must change in 2014 because a nation with such rich history in football as ours deserves to be playing in Word Cups. So the national team must make sure that they won’t make us wait any longer.