UEFA EURO 2020 - Qualifying Round

As well as the National Team playing, we have 1 team of match officials out and 2 UEFA Match Delegates.

Group E
9 September 2019, 20:45 CET - Budapest (Groupama Aréna)
Referee: Antonio Miguel Mateu Lahoz (ESP)
Assistant Referee 1: Pau Cebrián Devis (ESP)
Assistant Referee 2: Roberto Diaz Pérez del Palomar (ESP)
Fourth Official: Xavier Estrada Fernández (ESP)
UEFA Referee Observer: Oğuz Sarvan (TUR)
UEFA Delegate: Nebojša Ivković (SRB)

Group G
9 September 2019, 20:45 CET - Warsaw (PGE Narodowy)
Referee: Viktor Kassai (HUN)
Assistant Referee 1: György Ring (HUN)
Assistant Referee 2: Vencel Tóth (HUN)
Fourth Official: Tamás Bognár (HUN)

UEFA Referee Observer: Erol Ersoy (TUR)
UEFA Delegate: Zoran Cvrk (CRO)

Group D
8 September 2019, 18:00 CET - Tbilisi (Boris Paichadzis Dinamo Arena)
Referee: François Letexier (FRA)
Assistant Referee 1: Cyril Mugnier (FRA)
Assistant Referee 2: Mehdi Rahmouni (FRA)
Fourth Official: Jérôme Brisard (FRA)
UEFA Referee Observer: Peter Fröjdfeldt (SWE)
UEFA Delegate: Róbert Barczi (HUN)

Group G
9 September 2019, 20:45 CET - Ljubljana (Stadion Stožice)
Referee: Anthony Taylor (ENG)
Assistant Referee 1: Gary Beswick (ENG)
Assistant Referee 2: Adam Nunn (ENG)
Fourth Official: Christopher Kavanagh (ENG)
UEFA Referee Observer: Manuel López Fernández (ESP)
UEFA Delegate: Márton Esterházy (HUN)

Hajrá Magyarok! Csak Együtt!

Montenegro v Hungary Match Officials

Referee: Dimitar Mečkarovski (MKD)
Assistant Referee 1: Marjan Kirovski (MKD)
Assistant Referee 2: Dejan Kostadinov (MKD)
Fourth Official: Jovan Kaluđerović (MKD)

referee Dimitar Meckarovski during the UEFA Europa League second round qualifying match between AZ Alkmaar and FC Kairat at the AFAS stadium on August 02, 2018 in Alkmaar, The Netherlands(Photo by VI Images via Getty Images)

Jimmy Hogan: The Greatest Football Coach Ever?

By Ashley Hyne

This article is based on my biography of Jimmy Hogan, The Greatest Ever Football Coach? Published by Electric Blue Published, 2014. £9.99.

In July 1916, the
British Expeditionary Force (BEF) sustained huge losses on the Western Front
near the Somme River when seeking to gain territory against the German forces
massed to the East of the battleground. Tactically, the British had determined
that the best way for any forward advance would be to firstly traumatise the
Germans through constant heavy bombardment and then, on the premise, that the
Germans were decimated, for the BEF to simply walk in a straight-line across
the wasteland and man the empty trenches.

The Plan was a
disaster. The Germans had dug in and were therefore able to weather the storm
of the repeat shelling and then when the bombing programme stopped they
returned to man the machine guns. As the BEF troops scaled the walls of their
trenches and walked across no-man’s land in a straight line, the Germans easily
cut them down. That day, 1July 1916, was the deadliest day
in British military history. Around 100,000 went over the tops of the trenches;
57,470 BEF troops were injured and 19,240 were killed.   

British soldiers,
like footballers, in 1914 were geared to operate in straight lines. To attack
the opponent’s goal you moved directly forward. This was a basic premise of the
game. As a result there was almost a gentleman’s agreement between opponents.
The attack would naturally dovetail with the defence. Hence why in the pre-1925
days the left half’s role was to mark the outside right on the wing and the
left back’s role was to pick up either the inside right or the centre-forward
depending on what type of attack was being staged.

Over on the continent
this mentality was not ultimately followed. As the development of the game
gained traction so the early British hegemony in coaching started to be
challenged and alternative theories started to emerge. At MTK in Budapest,
Willy Kertesz bemoaned the club’s appetite for constantly employing British
coaches. Kertesz was of the mind that after the tactical primer of the club had
been laid down by Jackie Tait Robertson, the rest of them should just go back
to where they came from. And that included Jimmy Hogan. Kertesz had a point.
Robertson did not subscribe to the predominant British tactic of adopting the
‘Scottish style’ of play but instead promoted the use of the ‘inside forward’

The two styles of
play were diametrically opposed. In the Scottish style, play was built up in a
slow, deliberate fashion and involved the use of an outside forward to
interlink with inside forwards and make his way to the corner flag before
dropping a cross into the path of the centre-forward in the penalty area. In the
inside forward game, Robertson adopted a different approach completely. There
was no point sending the ball out to the wing if the purpose was to send the
ball out to the wing. So Robertson felt that an advance could either be
achieved through inter-passing between the three inside forwards or if the ball
did get played out wide, the plan would be to return the ball as soon as
possible. That latter aspect contained the germ by which Hungary defeated
England 6-3 for it completely abnegated the conventional centre-forward attack
so prevalent in Britain. The Hungarians after a time thought ‘if conventional
attack is pointless find a different route to undermine your opponent’.

Just how
influential Robertson was can be gauged by the fact that a move of his was employed
by the Hungarian national side in the 1938 World Cup Final against Italy when
Dr. Gyorgy Sarosi scored the goal that brought the game back to 3-2 with 20
minutes remaining. In that move, the ball is transferred from the centre of the
field to the wing and the ball returned immediately to the far post where
Sarosi is arriving on a blind side ride.

Now the purpose of
Robertson’s approach was popularly taken up by the Hungarians of MTK because it
tapped into a national ethic. And that was that to move forward one did not
necessarily have to advance in a straight line. This is a concept which is
still popular, apparently, in Hungarian Water Polo. A work colleague of mine,
Balasz Haraszti explained that a common move in that game is to fake a forward
advance then play the ball to the outside player forcing the defence to divert
their attention away from blind side moves building on the opposite wing. The
approach nullifies the nonsense in having a target man when he might otherwise
be boxed up with man to man marking. In which case he may as well not be there
and in some ways the Hungarian approach to the attack deliberately and
purposefully removes him completely from the picture.   

Both the Austrians
and Hungarians developed this approach in football and there is clear evidence
that the idea of circumnavigating the centre of the field became the preferred
method of play. I would recommend a quick review of the You Tube video which
shows the play of the Austrians at Stamford Bridge during their international
friendly with England in December 1932. There is a move there that is
classically Robertson: one touch passing, the ball transferred from the
Austrian half to the edge of the English defensive third and immediately
switched out to the right wing, the outside forward advancing and playing a
slide rule pass to a forward in the English goal area.

One would have thought that as the game became more complex and the pace of the game became accelerated that this type of move, of tricking the defence by playing the ball around the side of their Maginot Line, would become obsolete but nothing could be further from the truth. In November 1953, at Wembley Stadium, Hungary beat England 6-3. The goal which really twisted the British Lion’s tail that afternoon was a goal scored by Ferenc Puskas to make the score 3-1. In the biography of Hogan I set out how this goal was classic ‘third man theory’ but what is important to us is the way the goal is constructed. The Hungarians deliberately play a deep lying attack, moving the ball across the field from centre to the right. Since they are playing so deep, the English defence has to advance to chase the ball. That is because the purpose of the game is to win and gain possession of the ball. By doing that the English left a vast space down the left side of their defence. Boszik therefore plays a forward pass into that space so that Czibor, the outside left can now become the outside right. And so the trap is sprung: Hungary hoodwinked their opponents not through constant bombing missions at strategic targets or by walking forward in a straight line but through retreat. Classic Robertson theory.      

Ashley Hyne's biography of Jimmy Hogan: The Greatest Football Coach Ever? can be purchased via the author's page at Waterstones. Price £9.99

The Leaving of Liverpool – a Hungarian Football Adventure (Part 2)

Written by Mike Nevin

Liverpool fan Mike Nevin wrote an article The Leaving Of Liverpool And A Hungarian Football Adventure for the Anfield Wrap in January 2018 when he discovered his love for Hungarian football. Here in part 2 Mike talks of his "Fradi debut".

I am back in Budapest. It is early March 2018.
This time I’m staying on the banks of the Danube on the Pest side - with Buda
across the majestic river. My Saturday morning is viewed through a beautiful prism
of early morning mist which drapes itself across Europe’s vast arterial
waterway, second in command only to Russia’s Volga.

Last time I was here back in January, on my
first visit, I heard sad stories. Of footballers’ dreams denied. Of supporters’
dreams that died. No-one here seemed to care much for Hungarian football such
is the drain of talent and the shambolic club, national team and political
leadership that leaves The Mighty Magyars team of the 1950s not so much a
beacon lighting a way to the future, but instead, a dim and distant light
rooted in the past.

But Hungarian people still love football. That
much is obvious when you speak to them. But rather than Honved, Upjest and the
Green Eagles - league leaders Ferencvaros – too many of the indigenous lads and
lasses follow La Liga and/or The Premier League and the star names on people’s
lips are those of players representing Barca, Real Madrid, Manchester United,
Chelsea and of course, my very own Liverpool FC.

Lionel Messi now usurps the late, great Ferenc
Puskas of Honved. For Ferencvaros leaning Reds’ followers, all the talk is of Mo
Salah over their own current star player Daniel Bode.

When I was last here my Ferencvaros interest was spiked by a lovely
man, Borotsek Szolt whose emergent career - with “Fradi” and Hungary under-19s -
was cut cruelly short before he had turned 20.

Borotsek was the friendly doorman at my hotel. I didn’t speak any
Hungarian. Zsolt spoke good English but then football is an international
language. You know Puskas? Of course. You
know Liverpool? Of course.

Though a centre-half,
as a kid, he probably dreamed of being like
Puskas. Like most Liverpool lads I know dreamt of being Kevin Keegan or Kenny Dalglish. 

It never
happened for him. His eyes were as green as the bottom stripe
on the Hungarian flag but couldn’t disguise some
sadness. Zsolt suffered an awful knee injury at the age of 19 and lost his
lightning pace. A fledgling career was stopped in its tracks. Zsolt began to
struggle and ceded his place in the Hungarian youth

A terse,
painful message from youth coach, the late Florian
Albert - himself a Hungary great after whom Zold Sasok, The Green Eagles’ stadium (sponsorship aside) is
named, signalled an abrupt end for Zsolt. He was
finished. Imagine the same lifetime angst for an
injured Liverpool lad sent packing at 19 after years being the
starlet of the Academy.

Perhaps disaffected by his personal trauma, Szolt
bemoaned the state of the game at home. All very sad for him and a once proud
football nation, though he clearly retained a passion for the beautiful game. There
are ebbs and flows in your relationships, but real love never dies.

I resolved to come back and find out more about
Hungary and its association with football for myself. My friend at the
Hungarian Liverpool supporters club, Istvan Takacs promised he would get me a
ticket for an upcoming match without having to negotiate the clumsy Ferencvaros
membership scheme; something Liverpool fans the world over could identify with
in their quest to visit Anfield without recourse to touts.

Istvan delivered more than I could expect – a
meeting with his Red friends in their supporters’ club, the Kizrablo pub in
Budapest to watch our Manchester United (away) fixture and an invite later to
see Ferencvaros take on Balmazujvaros.

Before meeting Istvan, I had business to attend
to; to get out amongst the people of Budapest. During the morning, the moist haze
slowly giving way to a burning spring sun, I bumped into loads of “Green Eagles”.
It appears Ferencvaros still have a solid place in the hearts of their

In a taxi I spoke to the driver – Nagy Lazlo, a
season ticket holder. We sat and chat in the cab for ages. He was fantastic. For
him, Fradi are still what drives him; his Saturday afternoon the motivation to
spend those long hours ferrying people from Buda to Pest, endlessly traversing
the magnificent Széchenyi Chain Bridge which
connects the west of the new city to the east. I was sad to leave
him, but he had a crust
to earn for his family and his football.

Outside Olympia Park, a green space where
children and adults alike enjoy a kick-about with a whiff of the Danube in
their nostrils, I joined in a game of football with two young boys Alex and
Luca and their lovely Mum. Nutmegs everywhere and not just from my flaking left
peg. Their beaming, innocent smiles made my day. I asked Mum where their Dad is
– he’s working this morning but then off to the match to see Fradi, the mighty

Time runs away with itself and suddenly I’m
late and need another cab back to the hotel. I’m helped to find a number by a
man sweeping the streets, probably earning less than three Euros an hour in
this country of typical inequality.

His friend is Hungarian goalkeeper Adam Bogdan
– still at the time on Liverpool’s books – who lived just over the road. He
points to Bogdan’s vacant penthouse across the way, ownership of the empty
baroque facia apartment no doubt sustained by enormous Premier League wages.  I don’t have the heart to tell my willing aide
Bogdan had been a failure at Anfield.  

Back at my hotel I tell the thick-set,
brylcreemed man on reception, Szabo Zsolt - another Fradi fanatic – that I am
off to the match later, but first have an appointment with the local Liverpool
Supporters Club. He gives me flawless directions to the Kizrablo, over the
River. He loves that I’m going to see his team in the flesh and he slaps me
heartily on my back to send me on my way. Thus far, I have met only with enthusiasm,
warmth and smiles. I feel at home amongst these lovely people.

On my previous
visit, I sensed a sadness pervades many of the ordinary people. Inequality, low
wages and poverty blight the nation (albeit that in the UK we have far from a
financial level playing field) and 44% of Hungarian households cannot afford
the essentials provisions for family life. Beyond the magnificence of central Budapest lie much starker outskirts, as
though the 1956 Uprising was a figment of
the imagination.

Many young
people retain hope that perhaps one day they might flee and
experience a better life and even on the avenues of a capital which reminds of
Paris, elders look down, rooted in melancholy, haunted by a hard, hard past and
with little hope for what remains for the rest of their lives. 

There is
symmetry and reflection in the demise of Hungarian
football. Governments plough money into new stadia but people realise the need
for more money to build hospitals. Domestic football has lost its place in
the hierarchy of importance and the four major Budapest
teams – Ferencvaros, Honved, MTK and Ujpest - share meagre crowds who suffer crude

It is no wonder that following the Premier
League has become a vicarious pleasure enjoyed through the lens of the TV

When I reach Kizrablo and the Liverpool
Supporters Club, a friendly face outside greets me. It isn’t mein host, Istvan
but his mate, Lajos 'Hefti' Tankovics,
who is waiting for me. He’s smoking so we share a cigarette together and chat
about the upcoming Liverpool v United clash. We’re both nervous, perhaps Hefti
more so given that he’s a committed Red and I have the self-importance of my
Fradi debut later this evening.

Istvan – who goes by the name Steve to
illustrate his loyalty to all things English - turns up soon after and we go to
the bar. He’s on white wine spritzer and says it’s going to be a long day. Eschewing
wine at this hour, I opt for a premium Hungarian lager, plagiarising the 4th
Century Roman as I think to myself “When in Buda……”

We’re soon joined by more friends, the
fantastically crazy Krisztian Gerecs, who is a lawyer and a Greco-Roman wrestler.
All the best people have two jobs, I reckon. He’s not thinking about a long day
and is necking Pinot Grigio apace. * Later in the year, on a third trip here –
for all Kris’s alpha male front - he would show me an act of kindness that
would put Mother Teresa to shame. Funny how life throws shit at you and you
realise the value of true friendship as real consolation.

Liverpool lose miserably at Old Trafford. I’m
taken aback by the lads’ passion for “my” club. They’re angry with the Reds’
meek showing, expletives pouring from generously lubricated mouths, but they
are clearly obsessed and the prospect of an outing to the evening match
featuring their home town team is no consolation.

The Liverpool match finished, we must leave to
see the Budapest’s green and whites. I can’t wait and play darts while we linger
– impatiently - for Istvan’s father-in-law, a Ferencvaros veteran, 65-year old
Janos Balogh. I hit it off with the old man straight away. For him, old habits
die hard and he’s proud that this “Englishman” is looking forward to watching
his team.

The new ground they have is attractive and
functional, although it resembles many of the Premier League rebuilds and lacks
a little soul. The life it breathes is the voice of its 22,000 capacity. For seven
years at least, perhaps even 10, the new Ferencvaros home in Budapest is to be known
as the Groupama Arena. Many are content with the arrangement, but the more
nostalgic feel this will always be the Albert Flórian Stadion – in tribute to
one of their greats.

I recall that Florian was the man who called
time on my friend Borotsek Szolt’s time with Fradi; the definition of pain for
a young man to be let go by a hero, an icon of club and country.

There’s me, Steve, Kris and son, Janos and
three more old guys who’ve probably seen it all in life and football. When we
go inside the ground there’s another fella to meet, an acquaintance of my new
buddies. Mihaly Kotai is 42, former WBF Super-Welterweight Champion of the
World and a home game regular. He’s great and we chat over a pint and plate of
goulash while resolving to both resume training. He’s deadly serious and so am
I, even though I fancy his chances more than mine.

Inside I watch “our” players warm up in a
practically empty stadium, but I notice the end behind the near goal is a barren
swathe of empty green seats. During the November game versus Debrecen,
a Ferencváros supporter stabbed a fellow fan in the ultras area — a unique,
tawdry happening in the history of the Hungarian game. That section of the
ground is locked, and this fixture is the last of a three-match closure.

The lads I’m with aren’t like that; instead
they are kind, generous; yes, a bit wild and totally crazy but isn’t that what
football does to you?

The ground begins to fill up and by kick off 11,000
Budapesti populate a stadium built to house more than double that number. By
Christ, they are noisy. Balmazujvaros players are
relentlessly jeered and whistled and every refereeing decision is contested.

With the fervour, nay bias of the home crowd,
the away team are swept away and at half-time we’re three goals to the good. By
the end it is five-nil with the last of a nap hand coming in the fourth minute
of stoppage time. The players, resplendent in sweaty green and white hoops, and
manager Tomas Doll salute all three populated sides close-up and then wave to
the empty end where the shamed Ultras would usually reside. It’s a bizarre
moment, and slightly chilling. The players clearly have a close bond with their
fans, some more fervent than others, that puts the cossetted, distant stars of
the Premier League to shame.

I promise I’ll be back when the Groupama Arena
is full on a sunny afternoon – when many more thousands worship at the imposing
statue of their greatest, Albert Florian - hopefully for the match we clinch
the league in June. * I’ll be in the Ultras section then. I feel I’m one of
them now. If Fradi and Liverpool meet in next season’s Champions League I have
a dilemma. Or, maybe I don’t. It could go either way.

It has been an absolute pleasure; making
friends, absorbing culture, feeling the sporting and political history of one
of Europe’s grandest cities, and discovering a football club trying to dust off
the cobwebs of its relationship with a diverse, distracted local populace.

It’s time to go. The lads all have families to
go back to so do I. I have a plane to catch. So long Buda, you’ll be seeing
this Pest again soon.

Thank you, Istvan, Krisztian, Janos, Hefti,
Mihali, Nagy, Szabo and last but by no means least, Borotsek Szolt.

*Ferencvaros were pipped at the post to the 2018 Hungarian
Championship by Videoton FC from the ninth largest Hungarian city of

Fradi made amends in 2019 becoming Champions for nth time by the
clear water of 13 points. Their attempt to qualify for the 2019-20 Champions
League was foiled in the penultimate qualifying round at the hands of Dinamo
Zagreb from neighbouring Croatia.
Happily, Fradi were able to drop into the Europa
League and this week reached the Group Stages of UEFA’s repechage competition
for the first time in 15 years. The exposure could be crucial to the gradual
recovery of Football’s most romantic nation

2021 UEFA Under-21 Championship Qualifiers

We have one team of match officials and two UEFA referee observers out in the first announced games.

Group 8
6 September 2019, 20:30 CET - Ballymena (The Showgrounds)
Northern Ireland v Malta
Referee: Ferenc Karakó (HUN)
Assistant Referee 1: Balázs Buzás (HUN)
Assistant Referee 2: Gergő Vígh-Tarsonyi (HUN)
Fourth Official: Sándor Andó-Szabó (HUN)

UEFA Referee Observer: (AND)
UEFA Delegate: Léon Schelings (BEL)

Group 1
6 September 2019, 21:00 CET - Dublin (Tallaght Stadium)
Republic of Ireland v Armenia
Referee: Fyodor Zammit (MLT)
Assistant Referee 1: Duncan Sultana (MLT)
Assistant Referee 2: Theodore Zammit (MLT)
Fourth Official: Darryl Agius (MLT)
UEFA Referee Observer: Ferenc Székely (HUN)
UEFA Delegate: Veiko Soo (EST)

Group 3
9 September 2019, 16:00 CET - Durrës (Stadiumi Niko Dovana)
Referee: Petri Viljanen (FIN)
Assistant Referee 1: Ville Koskiniemi (FIN)
Assistant Referee 2: Riku Vihreävuori (FIN)
Fourth Official: Joni Hyytiä (FIN)
UEFA Referee Observer: Vencel Tóth (HUN)
UEFA Delegate: Michel Schafroth (SUI)

International refereeing debut for Katalin Sipos

Katalin Sipos receives her international debut in this round of the 2021 UEFA Women's EURO Qualifiers. Congratulations and Good Luck!

Group A
3 September 2019, 18:00 CET - Moscow (Sapsan Arena)
Referee: Katalin Sipos (HUN)
Assistant Referee 1: Judit Kulcsár (HUN)
Assistant Referee 2: Anita Vad (HUN)
Fourth Official: Katalin Kulcsár (HUN)
UEFA Referee Observer: Miroslava Migaľová (SVK)
UEFA Delegate: Ilona Tkač (BLR)