Football

Hungarian National Football Team at a 10-Year Low-Point, Says Pro-Government Sports Daily

Yesterday, Fidesz-aligned sports daily Nemzeti Sport published an article arguing that Hungary’s National Football Team, as led by coach Bernd Storck, is at its lowest point in nearly a decade, after the team’s 5-2 loss against Switzerland on Saturday.

Hungarian player Gergő Lovrencsics (left) and Swiss footballer Stephan Lichtsteiner struggling for possession of the ball during a World Cup qualifying match held in Basel on October 7th. Switzerland eventually prevailed 5-2 over Hungary (Photo: MTI – Tibor Illyés) 

Due to this loss, Nezmeti Sport reports that the National Team will, at most, score a total of 13 points by the end of this round of World Cup and Euro Cup qualifiers. This would be the lowest number of points scored by the team in qualifying rounds since 2008, when the team ended up with just 12 points.

The daily also noted that this is also the first time since 2008 that the National Team failed to win a single point against teams in the first two slots within its group.

If the team beats the Faroe Islands next weekend, as it is expected to, then it will end this qualifying round with 13 points, in third place within Group B. As there are 7 groups of six nations and two groups of five competing for 13 World Cup slots within the European qualifiers, this means that it is essentially impossible for Hungary to qualify for the 2018 Russia World Cup.

The last time the time the team saw such a poor finish in the qualifiers was in 2008, when its 12 points saw it finish 6th in a 7-team qualifying group.

Hungarian National Team coach Bernd Storck at a press conference held before his team’s 5-2 loss against Switzerland in a World Cup qualifier on October 7th (Photo: MTI – Tibor Illyés) 

Nemzeti Sport, which is rumored to be Prime Minister Viktor Orbán’s favorite newspaper, has close ties to the government; late last month, its editor-in-chief, György Szöllősi (who was earlier the press chief of the football academy located in Orbán’s hometown, and who has been named the country’s Football ‘Ambassador’) praised the Prime Minister as being greatly responsible for Hungary’s sporting successes over the past several years. As such, Nemzeti Sport’s harsh critique comes as somewhat of a surprise, considering that its editor-in-chief has, in the past, blamed Socialist Prime Minister Ferenc Gyurcsány for the national team’s earlier World Cup woes.

 

Via nemzetisport.hu, 444.hu, and fifa.com

Images via MTI