Hungary win over Poland in final World Cup Qualifying match 2-1

I would like to take credit for the success enjoyed by the Hungarian National Team this November. My presence in Budapest brought out the best football in the team having witnessed them in a 4-0 win at Ferenc Puskas Stadium. Now, they took that success and did the improbable by winning away against Poland 2-1. 

Though I had to watch the game on a screen like I do at home, I got to watch it among Hungarian fans at the Ziccor Trollfoci Sports Pub on Ersebet Korut.

I arrived about 30 minutes before the match to find a seat and get a good screen to see the game. The pub had a sparse crowd at this point. Every seat had a reserved sign which told me a bigger crowd was expected. I grabbed a beer and found a table for myself next to a large gathering of friends. I was one of only a couple of people that actually wore a Hungarian national team jersey. I think I was the oldest guy there too, as the crowd was pretty young.


During the pre-game, I discovered there wold be no Szoboslai in the game because a warm up injury. That sucks….I love watching that guy. 

So, the team had a different lineup from Friday night’s victory.

image of lineups

Returning to start would be Szalai, Schon, Nagy, Nego, Szalai, Lang, and Dibusz in goal. New starts for this game include Fiola , Zsolt Nagy, Varga, and Schafer. All would play important roles in the game.

About a minute before the game, all the people with table reservations show up to be in everyone’s way as we start to watch the game. “You sit here, no you sit there. Can you sit over there?” SIT DOWN!  I can say that…I am the senior in the room.

Then, we all stood up as the himnusz was being played. I followed everyone’s lead and joined in. Some recited the lyrics, most did not.

Game On!

It was a nervy first 15 minutes as Hungary were trying to settle into the game. The tactics appeared to be similar to how they played in the summer Euro matches, but there was too much space being given to the Poles. It was making me nervous and found myself the only one grumbling, “Mothers a call girl” while everyone is sipping their beers and laughing at the schnauzer a young woman brought to the bar. I started wondering, if I had come to the right bar? They all seem to be here for the game, yet no one is really watching it. 

After absorbing the pressure from Poland, Hungary creates a good chance in front of goal. A few of us jump up in anticipation of a potential goal while the rest are sipping their beers.

It was at this point in the game that Hungary started to settle into it. The nerves were out and they started to show some possession with the ball. From this point forward, it was a pretty even game between the two sides. 

The breakthrough for Hungary would come in the 37th minute. Off a free kick from the right side of the field, the ball is put into the box where it deflects off a Polish defender and Schafer sneaks in between two Polish defenders and incredibly heads it down to squirt through Szczesny legs. The front of the house is going nuts and I decide I am in the wrong section of fans. The real fans are up front because they are loud and celebrating.

The schnauzer? He does not know what to think of all the excitement.

Poland were stunned because this was not supposed to happen to them. After all, they are in the playoff position because they won more games than us. So, they had something to prove and worked hard towards the equalizer. Hungary did well to hold their own through the rest of the half. It never felt like we were going to give up the lead. We head to the locker room for half-time. I head to the bar to get my 2nd half beer.

The 2nd half starts, Poland make a couple of subs. Hungary return with the same line-up that started.

My hipster neighbors refilled their drinks, as their table came and went. I had an open seat at my table and offered it to another single patron as myself. 

2nd Half Starts

The 2nd half starts off, as both teams are battling. Poland appear to be finding their rhythm. While we are not at threat to give up a goal, there is a sense that one is coming for Poland. Hungary make a sub as Daniel Gazdag comes onto the field for Kevin Varga. Soon after, a bad clearance from the Hungarian defense has the ball bouncing off heads in the box and Swiderski for Poland is able to head the ball into the left corner of the gaol over Dibusz. Oh crap! The bar goes silent, as everyone gets back to their beers. Only a few of us continue to pay attention to what is going on in the game.

After their goal, Poland seemed to be on the front foot. They were putting more pressure on our defense. They were winning the possession battle by a large margin. It was uncomfortable to watch at this point. Can we hold on? 

Eventually the pressure on Hungary was not sustained and we started getting chances on the counter. It’s the 72nd minute and we are still at 1-1. Hungary make a substitution as Schon is replaced by young Kiss. Hats off to Schon, he did a good job and worked hard on the field. It would end up being a good substitution because Kiss will make an impact in the game.

It’s a goal!!

The sub would pay off, Hungary got the ball on a turnover in midfield and started a counter. Kiss takes on his guy wide and passes the ball back to an oncoming Daniel Gazdag. He takes one touch and places the ball in the upper right corner to beat Szczesny who did not have a chance. OMG!! What a goal!

Now the bar has come to life. There are chants of RIA RIA Hungaria. (Not by everyone, but from the guys at the front of the bar). But hey, that’s the most excitement I heard all game. This is fantastic! A great goal and in the 80th minute. This game could be over….maybe. 

To shore up some tiring legs, Hungary make a couple of late game subs to put on some fresh legs. Vecsei comes on for Adam Nagy and Janos Hahn comes on for Adam Szalai who proved again why he is the captain. The time he took to get off the field was a masterclass in time wasting. (I don’t know..I just always loved that guy from the beginning of his National Team career). 

The goal against Poland took some air out of them. Hungary were able to slow the game down with their subs. They controlled most of the game into stoppage time to win away at 2-1. What a game.

So, I guess for the Euro qualifiers, I will need to make sure I am here to follow the team. They need me. I am their good luck charm having watched them go 2-0 in my time here.

Hajra Magyarok!