NB I Week 3 Results & Highlights with … @sewadyllo

Tomasz Mortimer predicts the weekend's Hungarian NB I games against a football expert on Twitter who knows little to nothing about the Hungarian league. For week 3 we welcome freelance football writer Olly Dawes. The person with the most points at the end of the season will receive £50 for their chosen charity.

(Click result for highlights)

 Tomasz  Olly Results
Puskas Akademia vs MTK  0-0  1-1  1-2
Debrecen vs DVTK  3-1 (2 points)  2-0 (3 points)  2-0
Ferencvaros vs Haladas  4-0 (1 point)  3-0 (1 point)  3-1
Vidi vs Mezokovesd  2-0  2-3  P-P
Honved vs Paks  1-1  2-1 (2 points)  1-0
Ujpest vs Kisvarda  2-0 (1 point)  1-0 (3 points)  1-0

Points: Correct result = 1 point, Correct margin of win = 2 points, Correct score = 3 points

Overall Table


Points Beat Tomasz?
Week 1 - @GregianJohnson 3 x
Week 2 - @JonnyGabriel 5 x
Week 3 - @sewadyllo 9 (+ game in hand)

NB I Week 2 Results & Highlights with … @JonnyGabriel

Tomasz Mortimer predicts the weekend's Hungarian NB I games against a football expert on Twitter who knows little to nothing about the Hungarian league. For week 2 we welcome freelance football writer Jonny Sharples. The person with the most points at the end of the season will receive £50 for their chosen charity.

(Click result for highlights)

 Tomasz  Jonny Results
DVTK vs Puskas Akademia  1-1 (1 point)  0-2  2-2
Debrecen vs Mezokovesd  2-0  1-1 (3 points)  1-1
Paks vs MOL Vidi  1-1 (3 points)  0-1  1-1
Haladas vs Ujpest  0-0 (1 point)  2-1  2-2
Honved vs Kisvarda  2-1 (1 point)  3-0 (1 point)  4-0
MTK vs Ferencvaros   1-2 (1 point)  1-3 (1 point)  1-4

Points: Correct result = 1 point, Correct margin of win = 2 points, Correct score = 3 points

Overall Table


Points Beat Tomasz?
Week 1 - @GregianJohnson 3 x
Week 2 - @JonnyGabriel 5 x

NBI Week 1 Predictions with … @GregianJohnson

Tomasz Mortimer predicts the weekend's Hungarian NB I games against a football expert on Twitter who knows little to nothing about the Hungarian league. For week 1 we welcome Football.London editor Greg Johnson. The person with the most points at the end of the season will receive £50 for their chosen charity.

Tomasz Greg Results
Puskas Akademia vs Debrecen  2-0  1-1  0-1
Honved vs Haladas  2-1 (2 points)  2-0 (1 point)  3-2
Mezokovesd vs Paks  1-1  0-0  3-1
MOL Vidi vs Kisvarda  2-1 (1 point)  1-0 (1 point)  4-0
Ferencvaros vs DVTK  2-0 (1 point)  3-1 (1 point)  4-1
Ujpest vs MTK  1-1  1-0  0-1

Points: Correct result = 1 point, Correct margin of win = 2 points, Correct score = 3 points

Overall Table

Points Beat Tomasz?
Week 1 - @GregianJohnson 3 x

Hungary Magyarorszag CONIFA World Cup

Karpatalya vs Szekely Land Report and Interview With Béla Fejér

Karpatalya were crowned CONIFA World Champions on Saturday after a penalty shootout victory over Northern Cyprus, but it was their game vs Szekely Land on Thursday night that will live longest in the memory. Tamas Cserep was there

It was in a small local ground nestled behind a row of detached houses, on a Thursday afternoon in the sleepy South London suburb of Carshalton, that the two semi-finals of the ConIFA World Cup would take place. An independent tournament set up for teams representing unrecognised territories and minorities, the competition would first see Northern Cyprus take on Padania, whilst the second match would be a derby pitting together the ethnically Hungarian minorities of Ukraine and Romania – Kárpátalja and Székely Land respectively.

The first fixture was a close-run affair, but Northern Cyprus’ quality shone through in the latter stages of the game; goals from Turan and former Ireland U21 international Mehmet turned the match around from 2-1 to 3-2, sealing their qualification to the final. London’s Turkish diaspora were in full voice throughout the match, and just like in previous games, they created a fiery atmosphere.

The Kárpátalja and Székely Land fixture was a unique one as both teams represent a Hungarian minority group. Fans found it difficult to choose which side to support, but Székely Land chants became more dominant as Hungarians of this area are more common in London than Hungarians of Kárpátalja, who originate from Ukraine.  Throughout the match Székely Land created a lot more chances, but failed to capitalise. On the other hand, Kárpátalja were patient and much more clinical and by the 75th minute they were 3-0 up. There was a late resurgence by Székely Land in in the last 15 minutes, scoring two goals in quick succession, but a counter in extra time allowed Peres to slot home, securing a 4-2 victory for Kárpátalja.

Amidst the clouds of red, white and green created by the flares, the fans were singing traditional Hungarian folk songs and chants. After the game finished, Székely Land fans congratulated Kárpátalja for their triumph and both teams and fans sang the Hungarian national anthem together. This was a fixture that allowed the Hungarian minority groups to express unity and solidarity for each other.

I was able to carry out a quick post-match interview with Kárpátalja captain and goalkeeper Béla Fejér:

Karpataly vs Szekely Land

How did you experience the world cup so far?

Very good so far. I would not have thought of this even in my wildest dreams. We wanted to win more and more games and get to the final. Thanks to God, we got there. This is team work.

What was the goal originally?

I don’t know. Each game I play, whether for club or country, my aim is to win. Everyone else’s goal in the team is the same.

The majority of Hungarian fans were supporting Székely Land, how did this make you guys feel?

I cannot contest this. We are from one blood. The way they supported them, in their hearts they supported us well. We are all Hungarian.

Do you have any players’ performances which have impressed you?

Well, this is a team sport. I can only say team work. Players start and sit on the bench, but in my opinion the whole process is team work.

What is wrong with Hungarian football?

Written by Tomasz Mortimer

Just under two years ago Hungary were preparing for their first major tournament in 30 years. 24 months on since that magnificent opening win over Austria, Hungary have beaten just four sides - Latvia, Faroe Islands, Andorra and a depleted Costa Rica. They’ve lost to Belgium, Kazakhstan, Sweden, Portugal, Switzerland, Scotland, Andorra, Luxembourg and Russia. But before finding out what went wrong, we need to first quickly look at what we went right.

The campaign to get Hungary to the finals was a strange one - three managers, a loss to bottom of the table, just four wins from ten games - yet following Attila Pinter’s sacking after an opening day home defeat to Northern Ireland, Hungary rode their way through qualification on a huge wave of optimism. The optimism spawned from one man, Pal Dardai.

Dardai has been at Hertha Berlin for three seasons now, but when he took over the reins of the Hungarian national team he had never managed a single senior game. His first test was away at bitter rivals and group favourites Romania but looking back at it now it was far from a baptism of fire, as it was billed at the time. Motivating a team for a game against your biggest rivals couldn’t be easier.

Hungary drew the game 1-1, Balazs Dzsudzsak scored an 84th-minute free-kick equaliser and the players celebrated the tie by listening to a rendition of Himnusz which echoed around an empty National Arena, save for a few thousand Hungarian fans. For Hungary, the draw was a catalyst for the successful campaign. For Dardai, it was a catalyst for a top Bundesliga job.

By the time Dardai had handed over power to Under 21 coach Bernd Storck following his appointment at Hertha in the summer of 2015, the relatively unknown German only had to carry on the good work, stabilise the side and delicately navigate the squad to a third-place finish which seemed quite straightforward. Momentum was massively behind the side and the tough task awaiting Storck would be to make it through the playoff. Yet Hungary sailed through beating Norway 3-1 on aggregate thanks in large part to some miraculous tactical decisions from Storck. The German became a Hungarian icon following the game.

Euro 2016 came and Hungary performed well beyond expectations, but that became a problem in itself. The overachievement left Hungarian fans and Hungarian players with an inflated self-worth, and self-expectation. Storck too.

Hungary started with a dominant performance over Austria, then followed it up with a gritty draw against Iceland before finishing the group in mesmerising fashion by drawing 3-3 to eventual winners Portugal. A 4-0 hammering from Belgium came in the Last 16, but it wasn’t really seen as a reality check, it was seen more as an unfortunate consequence of a gung-ho attitude.

Hungary’s side during the Euro wasn’t particularly great or particularly young, but there were exciting prospects sprinkled throughout the side like Adam Lang (23), Adam Nagy (21) and Laszlo Kleinheisler (22) who all ended up playing football in a ‘top five’ European league following the Euro while at home the climate was really starting to warm toward a more football-centric model following huge investment from the government.

Since 2014, six different clubs have had brand new stadiums built with help from the Fidesz government and a brand new national stadium will also be completed in 2019. Along with academy refurbishments, the government’s estimated football expenditure stands at over €1bn.

Yet almost exactly two years on from that magnificent win, Hungarian football arguably stands at its lowest ever ebb. In FIFA rankings not so much, Hungary still stand at a respectable 49th – in 1996 they were 87th – yet in 2017 Hungary became the first team to lose to Luxembourg and Andorra in the same year and just the fourth side to ever to lose to both. It was just the second competitive match Andorra had ever won, their first in 13 years.

Sometimes bad games can be just anomalies, but these aren’t anomalies. Four months after losing to Luxembourg, Hungary were well beaten by Kazakhstan at home. These problems run deep.

The confidence had been sapped. Following the incredible high of Euro 2016 where the Hungarian public and players celebrated group wins and draws like they’d won the tournament, reality soon came back to bite when in the first qualifier for the 2018 World Cup Hungary failed to beat the Faroe Islands.

After being on such a high, it is understandably hard to motivate yourself when you’re playing a game three months later in front of less than 10,000 fans on a 3G pitch in Torshavn. The players are human beings afterall. But the momentum built up during that incredible run to the Euros and the tournament itself died that night.

A devastating last-minute loss followed a month later at home to Switzerland and qualification was all but over. The subsequent games were devised as tryouts for the young members of the squad but every trial they had ended in a disaster; an inexperienced Hungary side went to Andorra and ended up losing. After the game the players threw their shirts into the crowd. The shirts were thrown straight back at them. Storck took the blame and the halo that he accrued by guiding Hungary to the Euros had been well and truly shattered, but Hungary were stuck between a rock and a hard place. Young players needed to be integrated into the side, yet the fans wanted results. Either way, Hungary should never have lost that game so Storck handed his resignation in which was rejected by the MLSz. The players should’ve taken the blame but by this point the fight was gone and the confidence was below empty. To this day it’s never recovered.

The losses to Luxembourg and Kazakhstan felt inevitable. The swashbuckling, free-flowing football that Hungarian fans were wowed by at times by this very same crop of players is long gone. Hungary now need a restart. They thought it would come with Georges Leeken following Storck's eventual departure in the winter of 2017, but the age and the baggage hasn’t been dispended of – it’s still whirling around on the carousel in the dressing room. Only Adam Nagy, now a bit-part player at Bologna and Laszlo Kleinheisler, now at Astana, were under 28 in the starting XI vs Belarus last night.

The performance was again abject. If it wasn’t for Peter Gulacsi, Hungary would’ve deservedly lost. Leekens has now been in charge of two losses – Kazakhstan and Scotland – and one draw. There is no way he turns this around.

Hungary’s squad as it stands is ghastly, it’s a side that wilts in the shirt and it’s a side that already feels like it doesn’t want to play for the manager. Nemanja Nikolics retired after playing just 7 minutes vs Scotland and Daniel Bode said following the Kazakhstan game that he didn’t know the team instructions because no one translated Leekens’ teamtalk into Hungarian for him. Akos Elek said last night the team has no common voice under Leekens.

The Belgian lasted just 5 games in charge of Algeria in his last managerial role, his only win came in a friendly over Mauritania. This was with a side that had Riyad Mahrez, Sofiane Feghouli and Yacime Brahimi at his disposal. No current Hungarian player gets near any of those three – Hungary’s best player plays in goal.

The future generation however does look fairly promising, but it’s hard to get excited about Hungarian youngsters after so many have failed to live up to expectation. Dominik Szoboszlai and Daniel Salloi do look like top talents, yet there’s this consistent nagging feeling that something will go wrong. And don’t even get me started on Hungarian club football.

I know we’ve been here before, at what is seemingly the lowest of the low, but to be in this position two years after the wild ride of Euro 2016 is just unbelievably miserable. And the outlook is so damn gloomy.

Budapest is hosting four games at the Euros in 2020 and there’s next to no chance Hungary will be there. How Hungary recovers from this mess is anyone’s guess. It felt like things couldn’t get any worse after that loss to Andorra, yet somehow, it has.

Thirty years Hungary waited to qualify for a major tournament. Am I being too pessimistic in thinking that the wait might just be as long again?

Inside The Other World Cup

Hungary may not have qualified for the FIFA World Cup later this month in Russia, but at the ConIFA World Cup currently being held in London, it's a different story. Tamás Cserép and Raphael Jucobin went down to find out more.

Regulars on London’s W3 bus service along White Hart Lane will be accustomed to seeing football fans flock on board on Saturday afternoons. Today though, instead of carrying on up to the Tottenham Hotspur stadium, the groups of supporters got off a mile before, at non-league Haringey Borough FC’s Coles Park ground. The 2500-seater, nestled in an industrial estate in North London, was set to play host to its second match of the World Cup group stages. The ConIFA World Cup, that is.

The ConIFA World Cup is an international tournament set up for teams who represent minority groups and unrecognised states which are not part of FIFA, with the 2018 edition being hosted by London. Among the participants, Székely Land and Matabeleland would face off in this crucial Group C fixture.

Székely Land (Székelyföld in Hungarian) is an ethnically Hungarian region in the heart of Transylvania. Since the Trianon Treaty signed in 1920 it has been part of Romania. Their team is usually supported by people from the region and Hungarians alike. Matabeleland, on the other hand, is a region of Zimbabwe which is mostly inhabited by the Ndebele people. The football association hopes to promote development through sport in the region, which has been largely been left to its own devices by Mugabe’s regime.

Conifa World Cup

In the run-down rusted stands, rickety seats awaited the Székely and Matabeleland faithful. Most Székely fans chose to stand by the barrier surrounding the pitch, away from the British spectators who are perhaps less-accustomed to Eastern European ultra-groups. Hungarians were wearing their national team’s kit along with the usual fan-favourite black ‘Magyarország’ T-shirts. Matabeleland supporters were present in high numbers as well, with many wearing traditional Ndebele clothing and waving Zimbabwean flags. Throughout the game they created a vibrant atmosphere, showing support through traditional songs and dances. Both Hungarians and neutrals were even tempted and encouraged to take part - there was a mutual respect between both sets of players and fans, showing solidarity for each other’s political situation.

The Hungarians welcomed kick-off with the customary red, white and green flares as they set about creating the atmosphere the national team’s ultras are so known for. However, it was Matabeleland who got off to a quick start as attacker Sawusani Mudimba came close to finding the opener in the first few seconds of the match. The game was very even until the 24th minute, when Matabeleland substitute Dude clattered the oncoming striker and was promptly shown red, tipping the balance of the fixture in Székely Land’s direction.

The Matabeleland defence eventually cracked soon afterwards in the 30th minute when a hard challenge by substitute Sidibindi, lucky to escape the same fate as his goalkeeper just six minutes prior, resulted in a penalty, which was converted by DVTK player Fülöp. Székely Land went onto score two more before half time, with a long range free kick from midfielder Györgyi and a simple tap in from a Györgyi cross by the aptly named Magyari. Matabeleland were very vulnerable at the back throughout the match, with long balls over their defensive line often leading to clear-cut chances for the Hungarian outfit.

The second half was much more balanced, but Magyari was able to nick another goal capitalising on a mistake by substitute goalkeeper Sithole (4-0). Soon enough, the pace of the game visibly slowed as both sides tired. However, substitute striker László neatly poked the ball past Sithole to make it 5-0.

In defence of Matabeleland, there had been a noticeable disparity in skill between the two teams. The Székely Team boasted a team captained and led by centre-back Csaba Csizmadia, who has been capped 14 times for Hungary, as well as various players plying their trade in Romania’s Liga I.

Despite their heavy loss, Matabeleland fans were, to their credit, in full voice throughout the match, inspiring both neutral and Hungarian fans alike by sharing their culture. Even renowned Székely-native manager László Bölöni, best known for his stints at Sporting CP and Rennes, was taking photos and videos with the Matabeleland fans.

The atmosphere and energy of these games is a stark contrast to the pomp and artifice that will greet fans at the ‘real’ World Cup in a couple of weeks’ time. Despite the undeniable gulf in quality between the two tournaments, the CONIFA World Cup can at least pride itself on being the more authentic football experience. If you are in the London area in the upcoming week and in need of live football, don’t hesitate to check out one of the games.