I felt fresh as a daisy following a seven hour bus ride following an evening of enjoying Prague’s finest as I turned up at the Ferencvaros stadium for Hungary against Greece to conclude my weekend of football (https://timmybacsi.wordpress.com/2015/03/30/sht-football-weekend-review/). A victory for Hungary would see them comfortably into third following victories for Romania (boo) and Northern Ireland earlier in the evening. Defeat for Hungary would see them six points behind second placed Northern Ireland with Finland and Greece within three points and Hungary still having to go to both countries.
In no way facist looking Eagle, marking the territory of Ferencvaros
The atmosphere outside the stadium was pretty fervent; understandably so, given the quantum of discarded alcohol vessels around the periphery of the stadium. Ridiculously long queues outside the stadium suggested that once Hungarian football authorities cannot organize a piss-up in brewery.
I do love a queue, but…
The Head of the Hungarian FA, Csanyi Sandor (just elected to UEFA Executive Committee, god help us all) stated in the programme that the fact that tonight’s game would be a full house was testament that the supporter card work despite the ‘emotional response’ of some. I take this a) as an indirect attack at TimmyBacsi and b) ridiculous. The reason it is a full house is because this is Hungary’s biggest game for a few years and has nothing to do with the supporter card. Indeed there was no check of the card, no requirement to show the card: my date for night was certainly not called Gyongyi despite what it said on the ticket. Looking at the plunging NB1 attendances Sanyi will give you a better idea of what you are doing to Hungarian football. Back to the game…
We were sat right next to our friends from the Mediterranean who were primarily made up of relatively attractive young Greek women. I was not expecting that from a nation that has brought us the Orthodox Brotherhood and Golden Dawn. But it was a pleasant surprise (more that we were not going to get into some hooligan charge rather than there being women (just to clarify Gyongyi)). I also had a nice wave with of the guys who looked like a Greek version of me, there is (however) no blog called Theios (θείος) Timmy.
Dardai made a couple of changes to the line-up from the last competitive game against Finland in the Autumn of last year. Leandro (you old Finno-Ugric, you) replacing Lang at left back and Stieber coming in for Simon Krisztian on one of the flanks. Kiraly Gabor continued to be the laughing stock of casual football fans around Europe courtesy of his grey pajamas.
The game was terrible. As suspected both teams trying to pick the other off on the counter, but neither have anywhere near enough skill to be able to do so. Dzsudzsak has a low drive fairly comfortably saved midway through the first half while Gera skied one on the turn when he should have done better. Leandro gave away a silly yellow on 10 minutes. Apart from that, not much happened on the pitch.
About as many goal mouth chances before the players arrived as during the game.
Off the pitch, the support was pretty good. A rousing rendition of ‘Szomeru vagyok’ (the Hungarian national anthem) was followed up by some fairly vocal Ria, Ria, Ungarias. The Greeks were in reasonably good voice as well including a man dressed in traditional folk costume (or they may be the only clothes he has left after hocking them to make end’s meat). A small gaggle of Hungarians decided that offering money to the Greeks across the divide was a good idea. The first time it was amusing, the hundredth time less so especially went interspersed with fairly obscene hand gestures and some far right actions at a group of Greek fans who did well not to react. The offenders were ejected at half time and thanks to the fan card system, I doubt we will see them back again (HAHAHAHA). There was also numerous heated discussions breaking out as some people refused to sit down. I understand none of us really want to sit down and the standing option is preferable. However, being a d’ck about it and then engaging in colourful language is hardly the way to behave especially with plenty of kids knocking around. Always a problem when everyone is buzzed after necking a few beers in a short space of time on the stadium perimeter.
The Greeks came out strongly in the second half and stretched Hungary especially against Leandro who was treading a tight line on a yellow and not getting a huge amount of useful help from his captain Dzsudzsak. Despite this, I do not recall Kiraly having to get his pajamas dirty in anger at any point during the game.
Szalai was terrible. For someone who comes with a fairly big reputation, it is hard to see what he brings to the team at the minute. The ball was bouncing off him and he was providing no effective out ball. Gera is 35. His legs are on the brink of going and he is only fit for NB1 now. Elek played pretty well; Tozser not so, but did have a fizzcracker of a shot saved on about 75 minutes. I like Fiola ‘not Italian’ Attila. For a player at Puskas Akademia at the bottom of NB1, he looks competent at worst (honestly that is a compliment). Juhasz is a solid defender as well and was probably my MoM for Hungary. Dzsudzsak tried hard, but did little to threaten the Greeks. He always seems to be playing one gear where he should be, but I am starting to think that maybe he is just a yard to slow to be the player that Hungary want and need him to be.
Nikolic came on for Szalai on 70 minutes and offered more endeavor upfront, but by this time Hungary had dropped so deep that they were resorting to hit and hopes in the vague direction of the man up top. Frustrations grew in the crowd as it looked increasingly more likely that if (a big if) a goal was going to come then it would be the Greeks who got it. The initial excitement in the crowd grew ever more sterile and the atmosphere fizzled out as the game wore on: Szalai was booed off the park (a bit harsh). Nikolic missed a great chance at the end, but neither team had done enough to win the game (although Hungary clearly won the who can kick the ball highest in the air for no apparent reason competition).
Welcome Greek people.
This was not a great advert for (Hungarian) football. Success in this game in what is undeniably a nice stadium could have encouraged more people back to NB1. The Russian referee did a good job though, which was frustrating given that Hungary is currently bending over backwards to give Putin what he wants.
I don’t have much to say about the Greeks except that Fetfatzidis looked reasonably handy on the right wing and the keeper looked fairly solid. Other than that it was very much bluh.
Hungary now sit on their own in third position in the table and would still expect to consolidate that position before the group concludes. However, this is not a good Hungarian side. Depsite only conceding one goal in Dardai’s four competitive games as coach, they have only scored three. If they do manage to qualify, it is going to be tough watching. Hungary still have to visit Helsinki and Athens, the two teams (sorry Faroe Islands) who represent the competition of third spot. I think the next match in June in Helsinki will be decisive: win there and Hungary can look upwards at chasing down Northern Ireland and/or Romania defeat and the nation will probably be waiting another four years to qualify for a championship. I do not think that they will qualify and probably do not deserve too on the games I have seen so far.
Did you note it was a binary score? Who said that?
Apologies for the low photo quality.