Hungary Under 21s Suffer Last Minute Heartbreak In Toulon

Written for the lovely guys at French Football Weekly

France grabbed a last minute equaliser and go through top of the group while Hungary are sent crashing out of the Toulon Tournament at the first hurdle.

With France having very little to play for after winning their first two games comfortably, they didn’t look to be taking the game too seriously, and put in quite a lacklustre performance against the Hungarians. But for Hungary it was completely different. They needed to equal or better Mexico’s result against China in Marquet to progress.

The game had been quite an even contest with both sets of goalkeepers making a couple excellent saves to keep their sides in the game, but it was Hungary who took the lead through Werder Bremen’s Marko Futacs after 46minutes. Videoton’s Andras Gosztonyi picked the ball half way through France’s half and played a delicious ball to the big striker who kept his calm and beat the French goalkeeper.

Meanwhile over in the other game, Mexico were level with China 1-1, and had just had a man sent off. It looked for all the World like Hungary were going to advance, especially with France seemingly not having any urgency to get back in the game.

Gosztonyi again fashioned out a chance for Futacs with 10 minutes to go in an almost identical manner to the goal, but this time the French goalkeeper was equal to the effort of the big Hungarian and saved superbly.

France didn’t create many chances after the goal, and the game looked to be petering out before the fourth official indicated a minimum of three minutes of added time. France’s ears pricked up, and they were finally starting to play some good football and get the ball into the Hungarian box. Hungary’s defence seemed to be a bit nervous, possibly hearing that Mexico had grabbed a winner against China with only minutes remaining.

France forced a corner in the 2nd minute of added time, which was met superbly by the captain Frederic Duplus, and he headed into the corner of the net leaving Gulacsi with no chance.

It was heartbreak for Hungary, but elation for Mexico who had beaten China 2-1 in Marquet. France didn’t really care about the draw as they were already through top of the group, but the spirit they showed to get the late goal was superb.

After the game Newcastle and Hungarian defender Tamas Kadar said; “Everyone is obviously disappointed, and we thought we did enough to get through to the semi-finals but it wasn’t to be. We played a very good match today, and we can look to the future with hope.”

French coach also praised the Hungarians saying “It was a very balanced encounter. The Hungarians played a good game. We did not produce many chances, but we stayed organized and didn’t concede too many opportunities ourselves. We now look forward semi-final against Italy who are very solid defensively, they have the winning culture. It will be a great match."

France will face Italy in Mayol tomorrow at 8pm local time, while Mexico face Colombia at 5.30pm local time in the other semi-final.

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San Marino vs Hungary - Preview

SERRAVALLE, ITALY - OCTOBER 14: Andy Selva of...
Andy Selva - San Marino's very own David Beckham

Tonight Hungary face the worst team in Europe, San Marino, who come off the back of 1-0 loss to Finland on Friday in a vital European Championship qualifier. The last time Hungary and San Marino faced each other, Hungary won 8-0 in Budapest but 3 of the of the goalscorers from that night will not be playing for the Magyars.

For Hungary it's a must win game, as they continue their quest to qualify for Poland/Ukraine next year. They currently sit in third place, 3 points behind Sweden in 2nd, but having played a game more.

San Marino have their star performer and all-time top goalscorer Andy Selva back from injury, and he will definitely Hungary’s main threat tonight. Selva missed the game in Budapest last October, and San Marino definitely missed his presence up front.

The San Marinese side are often considered the worst team in the World, having only ever avoided defeat on 5 occasions, and only ever managing one victory in their history, but Friday’s game showed that they have improved immensely since last October, and were unlucky not to come away with a draw against the Fins.

Andy Selva missed a good chance in the first half at 0-0 and had a stone-wall penalty claim turned down too. Mikael Forssell was the difference between the sides, but that was only one of two chances that the Fins had throughout the whole game which shows how well organised the San Marinese defence has become in recent months.

Obviously I maybe overrating San Marino slightly here, but with Hungary only managing to beat Luxembourg 1-0 on Friday, a draw could easily be a possibility if the Magyars don’t get their act together.

That goal on Friday came from Imre Szabics who had been frozen out of the National Team since 2006, due to bad form and numerous injuries.However, he’ll be starting today alongside ex-Liverpool youngster Krisztian Nemeth who will be getting his first start for the National Team. The pair linked up well on Friday and were unlucky not too add more than one goal to the scoresheet in their half together.

The midfield will be similar to Friday’s game with Dzsudzsak occupying the left hand side, Koman on the right and Hajnal and Elek in the middle – Hajnal playing slightly forward. The midfield contains a lot of creativity with Koman, Hajnal and Dzsudzsak all possessing the ability to unlock defences in a flash.

The defence is identical to Friday’s game with Vanczak, Juhasz, Liptak and Laczko all keeping their place. I don’t expect them to be troubled very often, but Laczko and Vanczak will look to get forward at every possibility to help with the Hungarian attacks.

Egervari has also opted to go for experience in goal with Gabor Kiraly replacing youngster Adam Bogdan.

If Hungary nab an early goal I can imagine the score being 4 or 5, but if they play like they did in the first half against Luxembourg throughout the whole game and San Marino are as organised defensively as they were on Friday, I wouldn’t be surprised if Hungary become the 5th nation to fail to beat San Marino tonight.

Hungary Starting XI: Kiraly - Vanczák ,Lipták ,Juhász, Laczko - Elek - Koman, Hajnal, Dzsudzsák - Szabics, Németh

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Luxembourg 0-1 Hungary - Match Report

Hungary got back to winning ways beating Luxembourg 1-0 in front of a crowd of just 1500 in the Stade Josy Barthel.

Right from the beginning there were opportunities for the Magyars but Tököli couldn’t finish either of his two gilt-edged chances inside the first 20 minutes..

Luxembourg didn’t lie down, and tried to spring some counter attacks of their own twice testing Bogdan in the Hungarian goal within the first 30 minutes.

After 37 minutes Hajnal had a good opportunity which was smothered by the home  goalkeeper.

It was a poor first half from Hungary, and Egervari said after the game that “we weren’t sticking to our game plan in the first half, and that contributed to our poor performance.”

Following the interval Hungary made two changes bringing off the wasteful Tököli and replaced him with Nemeth and defensive midfielder Elek was sacrificed for Imre Szabics. After the change Hungary were significantly better and started to up the tempo, but not creating any clear cut chances.

The breakthrough finally came after 53 minutes when Hungary eventually got something for all their dominance. Dzsudzsak found himself in a bit of space in the box and played a good ball to Szabics who couldn’t miss from short range, scoring his first goal for the National Team for 5 years.

Immediately after the goal more chances were being created for Hungary, with Nemeth and Szabics both missing good opportunities and later Nemeth had a goal ruled out for an incorrect offside call, before the game petered out after the coaches both made a host of changes.

Someone needs to remind the Hungarian boss that there are no points in friendlies after he said “Above all, be happy for the victory and the three points.”

At the end of the day a win is a win but it was a poor performance from Hungary and if the Magyars continue to play like this, they’ll come unstuck against better opposition, and they should be using these games to improve as a team by playing well, not just grinding out 1-0 wins against very poor opponents.

Hungarian Team: Bogdán – Vanczák, Juhász, Lipták, Laczko - Koman (Czvitkovics 68.), Vadócz (Pintér 68.), Elek  (Szabics, half-time),  Hajnal,  Dzsudzsák  - Tököli (Németh, half-time)


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Hungary vs Luxembourg Preview

Flag of the Kingdom of Hungary between Decembe...
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Hungary travel to Luxembourg tomorrow for a friendly that will prepare them for the mighty San Marino on Tuesday night, and hopefully provide them with a bit of momentum for the rest of the qualifying campaign.

Egervari provided a few shocks in his squad selection including the call up of Tamas Koltai from Gyor. Koltai hasn’t exactly been in top form this year providing just 3 goals from midfield, and to call him up ahead of Daniel Tozser, Racing Genk’s captain, is quite ludicrous. Tozser has been in scintillating form this season and that hasn’t gone unnoticed by Europe’s top clubs with Fiorentina having a reported interest in the centre midfielder. Egervari said that “Tozser doesn’t fit the system we play” but with Tamas Hajnal constantly getting a call-up, who also doesn’t fit the usual system, it just seems like a feeble excuse.

The Hungarian boss also said that there will be major changes to the starting XI in the game this Friday, so I suspect Bolton’s Adam Bogdan may make his international debut in goal.

With the defensive call ups being unaltered since the back-to-back games with Holland, I expect a similar backline to normal, with the exception of Juhasz being rested for Tuesday. That means Lazar will start at right back, Liptak and Vanczak at centre back with Laczko completing the back four at left back.

The midfield line-up will be interesting. Hungary usually deploy a five man midfield, but with Luxembourg being significantly weaker than the Magyars, Egervari may plump for a 4-4-2. However, Hungary have somewhat of a crisis up front, so a 4-4-1-1 may be the better option. Captain Zoltan Gera is injured so Vladimir Koman or Peter Czvitkovics will start on the right.

The centre of midfield will be hard to call. The Hungarian boss might play both Nb1 players in the middle to give them some experience in the international games so that means Jozsef Varga and Tamas Koltai could start.

Balazs Dzsudzsak may not feature but with no other recognised left midfielder in the squad, it could only be Czvitkovics who could fill in and he would not be 100% comfortable out on the left.

I expect Tamas Hajnal to play behind the front man, and that front man will probably be Sturm Graz’s Imre Szabics, who once scored a famous goal against Manchester United in the Champions League for Stuttgart.

It’s not going to be a classic by any stretch of the imagination, but it will give Egervari the chance to test a few players out who wouldn’t usually get the chance on the international stage. The omission of Mainz’s Zoltan Stieber does seem like a mystery when no other left midfielder is in the squad, especially when Egervari is planning some changes for this game, but it shouldn’t stop Hungary from winning and I expect them to beat a poor Luxembourg side 2-0.

Probable XI: Bogdan – Lazar, Vanczak, Liptak, Laczko – Koman, Koltai, Varga, Czvitkovics –Hajnal – Szabics

Squad in Full

Goalkeepers: Király Gábor (1860 München), Bogdán Ádám (Bolton Wanderers), Csernyánszki Norbert (Paks)

Defenders: Lázár Pál (Videoton), Lipták Zoltán (Videoton), Juhász Roland (Anderlecht), Vanczák Vilmos (Sion), Laczkó Zsolt (Sampdoria), Pintér Ádám (Real Zaragoza)

Midfielders: Gera Zoltán (Fulham), Koman Vladimir (Sampdoria), Elek Ákos (Videoton), Varga József (DVSC-TEVA), Vadócz Krisztián (Osasuna), Dzsudzsák Balázs (PSV Eindhoven), Koltai Tamás (Győri ETO), Hajnal Tamás (VfB Stuttgart), Czvitkovics Péter (DVSC-TEVA)

Strikers: Tököli Attila (KTE-Ereco), Szabics Imre (Sturm Graz), Németh Krisztián (Olimpiakosz Volosz)

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Sandor Egervari Continues To Surprise

hungarian national team boss sandor egervari
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The Hungarian boss Sandor Egervari again continues to perplex many Magyar fans and players alike by selecting a squad which again is without Daniel Tozser, Adam Vass and Zoltan Stieber, but does include Tamas Koltai, 34 year old Attila Tokoli and Jozsef Varga.

Egervari’s squads have been bizarre from the start, but from his recent blog entries he has finally started to watch some players playing abroad such as; Imre Szabics, Zsolt Korcsmar, Daniel Tozser and Zoltan Stieber. However only one of these players were called up, Szabics, and the only reason he was called up was due to the ongoing injury crisis Hungary have up front (Szalai, Rudolf and Priskin are all injured). Quite why it has taken so long for Egervari to wake up, smell the coffee and look abroad is quite bizarre. Just as a part-time blogger I hear and see how fantastic some of the boys are playing, and that’s not even my job!

But from taking a look at this squad, it makes you wonder if Egervari has actually watched any football this year (outside of Hungary). Varga, Czvitkovics, Koltai and Tokoli should not be in the squad – period. Varga showed in his last international outing that he is not yet up to the top level just yet, but at the age of 22 I’m sure he’s got a bright future ahead of him, and will hopefully get a move abroad soon.

Peter Czvitkovics is now 28, and should have moved away from Hungary by now. He’s a very good player, but the lad has no ambition to further himself in the game, and by playing in NB1 you can see it affects his performances for the National Team.

Tamas Koltai of Gyor is probably the most ridiculous of call ups. At 24 Koltai has only ever had three minutes of international football and two caps. He hasn’t even had a particularly strong year, scoring just 3 goals in 28 appearances in the league, from midfield.

Finally, Attila Tokoli. Tokoli has had a good year in NB1 for KTE, netting 13 times in 27 games, but at the age of 34, Tokoli is way over the hill and should not be getting a call up, especially as Egervari said “We are looking towards the future”.

Now who should replace these four I hear you say? Well it’s simple, and I think everyone in Hungary would agree with me on this - Adam Vass, Daniel Tozser, Zoltan Stieber and Akos Buzsaky (Buzsaky maybe excluded). Adam Vass has been a regular starter for relegated Serie A side Brescia, and has put in some very good performances against top teams. However there seems to be a problem with Vass and the MLSZ (Hungarian Football Federation) over some sort of match fixing scandal from a few years ago (no specific details have been released), which is stopping him getting a call up. The sooner the situation is sorted out the better – for both parties.

Daniel Tozser in an incredible omission. Tozser has probably had the best season of his career and was instrumental as vice-captain of Genk in them securing the title ahead of rivals Anderlecht, and is now touted with a €7million move to Fiorentina. Now please tell me how a 28 year old playing for Debrecen is better than Daniel Tozser.

Zoltan Stieber could be the most ridiculous exclusion in International Football since Javier Zanetti was left out of the Argentinian World Cup squad. Stieber has been far and away the best player in the 2. Bundesliga this year for an average Aachen side, and has since secured himself a move to Europa League outfit, Mainz. His pace, crossing, passing and shooting is up there with Balazs Dzsudzsak and some say he’s even better than the PSV winger. The advantage that Stieber has as well is that he is not as greedy as Dzsudzsak and can also play up front where he has featured a lot for Aachen. 11 goals and 14 assists and you choose Koltai over him, okay.

Now I know a lot of people might disagree with me on this one, but I think Akos Buzsaky should be one of the first names in the squad list if it was to come to me. Buzsaky has superb technique and can do things not many other players can do. He has a great shot, superb passing range and even though he’s had an on and off season with QPR, he’s since regained full fitness and featured heavily in their title success nearing the end of the season. Again, playing in a better league than Tokoli, he can play behind the front man or on either wing and can be dangerous from anywhere. Inexcusable not have this man in the squad.

There were a few other surprises in the squad including the recall of ex-Liverpool man Krisztian Nemeth who has had a very poor season with Olympiakos Volos in Greece, scoring 1 goal in 13 games. However the lad does have a lot of talent, he’s 22 and with a call up for the National Team he could regain his confidence and starting banging in the goals once more.

The final exclusion which was surprising is Brann’s Zsolt Korcsmar who has had a terrific season by all accounts (thanks @BrendanHusebo). He was talked up a lot in recent weeks by Egervari, and he’s since gone to see him play in Norway, but with the defenders all doing fairly well in the squad, it would be harsh to drop any of them.

Squad in Full

Goalkeepers: Király Gábor (1860 München), Bogdán Ádám (Bolton Wanderers), Fülöp Márton (Ipswich Town)

Defenders: Lázár Pál (Videoton), Lipták Zoltán (Videoton), Juhász Roland (Anderlecht), Vanczák Vilmos (Sion), Laczkó Zsolt (Sampdoria), Pintér Ádám (Real Zaragoza)

Midfielders: Gera Zoltán (Fulham), Koman Vladimir (Sampdoria), Elek Ákos (Videoton), Varga József (DVSC-TEVA), Vadócz Krisztián (Osasuna), Dzsudzsák Balázs (PSV Eindhoven), Koltai Tamás (Győri ETO), Hajnal Tamás (VfB Stuttgart), Czvitkovics Péter (DVSC-TEVA)

Strikers: Tököli Attila (KTE-Ereco), Szabics Imre (Sturm Graz), Németh Krisztián (Olimpiakosz Volosz)



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Hungarian NB1 Roundup – Week 29

Hungarian NB1
Image by beefy_n1 via Flickr

One of the big talking points going into the weekend was of course Videoton’s first ever league title after their victory over Kaposvár last Wednesday which took them to an unassailable lead at the top of the table. But as the race for the championship was over, all eyes turned to the bottom where MTK had to beat Pápa away from home and hope Siofok didn’t beat KTE in Kecskeméti to maintain a chance of staying in Nb1.

Going into the penultimate game of the season, the Champions of 2008 trailed Siofok by 4 points, and they knew that if they didn’t beat Papa, they would almost certainly be playing Nb2 football next year. Things didn’t start well for Hungary’s 2nd most successive side as new filtered through that Siofok had taken an early lead in Kecskeméti, and if they held on to that lead, MTK would be down whatever the result in Pápa. But just 7 minutes later KTE were level through Gabor Bori and over in Pápa, MTK started the better of the two teams taking the lead after half an hour through 19 year old Patrik Tischler.  A third of the way through - MTK were just 2 points behind Siofok with one game (and 2 thirds) remaining. Again though, disaster struck for MTK as Kazuo Homma netted his 2nd goal for Siofok and they lead 2-1 up to half-time.

With KTE having the Magyar Kupa final on Tuesday, players were rested at half-time as top goalscorer Atilla Tokoli was replaced, spelling more bad news for MTK. But that didn’t stop KTE netting an equaliser through Lajos Bertus. The race for survival was still on, and the few MTK fans that made the trip west to Pápa were starting to believe. But there was to be another twist, the boy from Tokyo had once again netted in Kecskeméti, to secure his hat-trick and to make it 3-2 to Siofok. The dream seemed to be over for MTK, and that’s the way it stayed right up to the final whistle. MTK did get another goal to make it 2-0, but it wasn’t to be enough and MTK were relegated for the first time in 17 years. Many of the fans will be blaming Gabor Varszegi who sold MTK’s biggest assets to rival clubs, and abroad (most notably Krisztian Nemeth and Andras Simon to Liverpool and I will blog about Mr. Varszegi and the plight of MTK in the next couple of days.

In contrast, Friday saw joyous scenes in Paks as they secured their highest ever finish in Hungary’s top flight, finishing 2nd behind runaway leaders Videoton. It was a remarkable achievement for Paks, who were predicted again to struggle in Nb1 and whose side is only filled with Hungarian players. They beat Hungary’s 2nd best team of 2011 - Vasas 3-0 with all 3 goals coming from Daniel Bode.

Meanwhile the race for the final Europa League spot has gone to the last day with all four teams fighting for 3rd place, failing to win.  Kaposvár can no longer achieve 3rd place after a terrible defeat at home to already relegated Szolnok. Cameroonian Herve Tchami getting the only goal mid way through the second half.

Meanwhile ZTE and Debrecen fought out a 1-1 draw in Zalaegerszeg after Luis Ramos’ inadvertently nodded into his own net to equalise for ZTE with just 18 minutes to go. ZTE stay in 5th, 1 point behind Debrecen in 4th.

And the team that currently occupy the final Europa spot is Ferencváros, who got a 1-1 draw with Haladás. Fradi were lucky to leave the game with a point after Hali missed a penalty in the first half – Peter Toth trying to be cheeky and chipping the pen over the bar. Hali did however take the lead from the spot after 50 minutes when Halmosi was fouled stupidly by Zoltan Balog. This time Bence Iszlai took the spotkick and converted it emphatically. Denes Rosa equalised 10 minutes later for Fradi, before there was a sending off for either side later on in the game. Ferencváros now sit just one point ahead of Debrecen, and two points ahead of ZTE going into next week’s final round of games.

Finally in the only unimportant game of the weekend, Honvéd lost 4-1 at home to Újpest, who now move up to 7th place. A great achievement considering how bad a season it has been for them considering the squad they have.

Results: Paks 3-0 Vasas, ZTE 1-1 Debrecen, Honved 1-4 Ujpest, Videoton 2-1 Gyor, Papa 0-2 MTK, KTE 2-3 Siofok, Kaposvar 0-1 Szolnok and Haladas 1-1 Ferencvaros

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