Hungary relish Euro feast after decades of famine
BUDAPEST – As Hungary counts lower to the first participation inside a major tournament for 3 decades, lengthy-forgotten football fever has returned.
Hungary’s players run throughout a work out in Bordeaux on June 13, 2016, around the eve of the Euro 2016 football match against Austria
The “Magical Magyars” were the very best side on the planet within the 1950s when Ferenc Puskas and the fabled teammates were within their prime, famously thrashing England 7-one in 1954.
However when Hungary undertake Austria in Bordeaux on Tuesday, it will likely be the very first time they’ve played in European or World Cup finals since 1986.
In a metro station in downtown Budapest traders selling team jerseys and tournament album stickers report clients are brisk.
A close sports tour operator that advertises package journeys towards the match venues in France — “3 seats left!” — states interest continues to be huge.
“A minimum of 10,000 fans come in France,” the firm’s mind Balazs Kamuti told AFP.
In 1986, Hungary showed up in the World Cup in Mexico because the top-rated side in Europe, but collapsed 6- towards the Ussr within their opening game, and crashed in the very first round.
“We collected them and stickers, and believed we may even win the entire factor,” recalls Gyorgy Szollosi, editor from the Hungarian form of football magazine FourFourTwo, who had been nine years of age in 1986.
“Following the 6-, Televisions were tossed from home windows, it had been devastating,” he told AFP.
Incredibly, the following 14 qualification campaigns for European Titles and World Cups all led to failure.
“As time passed, we started wishing we’re able to get beaten 6- inside a tournament again, simply to be engaged whatsoever,Inch Szollosi stated.
– Race towards the bottom –
Hungary’s race towards the bottom in the heyday from the Magical Magyars is unparalleled in football.
UEFA statistics created for that organisation’s 50-year-anniversary in 2004 demonstrated Hungary was the only real European country whose vital indications of football existence — quantity of players, pitches, clubs, and coaches — fell since 1954.
That year Puskas’s “Golden Team” lost to West Germany on the planet Cup final, a surprise defeat considered the start of the lengthy malaise.
Since that time, particularly because the finish of communism in 1989, factors including little investment or TV money, decrepit infrastructure, corruption and hooliganism have led to the rot.
“Football has not been fashionable for any lengthy time,” stated Szollosi.
Attendance figures have dwindled to some trickle, despite reforms brought by football-mad Pm Viktor Orban, together with a nationwide stadium construction programme, controversially funded mostly from condition coffers instead of private funds.
– Miracle –
Hungary’s German coach Bernd Storck, hired this past year to supervise youth development after which handed the nation’s team job, has predicted it will require a minimum of another ten years to repair the game.
Not just one to mince words, the 53-year-old has criticised coaching standards and stated Hungarians come with an in-built “negative” mentality.
“It is a miracle that people qualified,” he told AFP.
Saddled having a squad that contains no regular first-teamer within the top European leagues, Storck has blended in youthful talents like Adam Nagy and Laszlo Kleinheisler.
Kleinheisler, a pugnacious redhead, scored the champion on his debut against Norwegian within the playoffs to generate the lengthy-anticipated ticket to France.
“We performed good football within the playoffs, we deserve to stay in France, we’ll try good there,” stated Storck.
Solid performances in warm-up games against Croatia and Ivory Coast suggest Hungary won’t be any pushovers, but, unlike 1986, expectations are now being stored under control.
Facing Portugal, Austria and Iceland in Group F, Storck acknowledges Hungary are “outsiders”, but states that “things are feasible for third place” — and 4 third-placed teams entitled to the last 16 this season.
– ‘Phenomenal experience’ –
The way the team will get on in France might be less important than being there whatsoever however, stated Jeno Sipos from the Hungarian Football Federation.
“Hopefully kids is going to be motivated to run about not only to Ronaldo or Messi jerseys, however in Hungarian ones too,” he told AFP.
Most of the fans in the Ivory Coast warm-on May 20 were not even born in 1986.
“I have never experienced this before, it’s phenomenal,” Gyozo Szabo, 27, told AFP.
“As lengthy as there’s no huge failure in France, more kids will nag their parents to allow them play football, and fogeys will allow them to go, football may become awesome again,” Szollosi, of FourFourTwo, stated.