Portugal is the only country that managed to overtake Hungary in the EURO’s “Group of Death,” and the National team was in for the qualification to the round of 16 until the very last minute. The squad definitely left its mark, and many professional, including several (former) stars have praised them during the European Championships.
“Hungary is a great football nation with good players,” said French defender Lucas Hernández at the press conference before Hungary-France (1-1).
“I was very surprised about the developments (…) The performance shown by the Hungarian national team was very good. If only football knowledge had decided, France would probably win, but the Hungarian team showed that football should be played with heart and soul and passion. I really liked what I saw from the Hungarians, former French WC silver medalist star, William Gallas, commented after that game.
Former French World and European champion, Cristian Karembeu, was of the same opinion. “I was surprised by the intensity and aggressiveness of the Hungarian squad. They played with heart and passion, in addition to the impressive fans who were cheering on the team (…) It has been proven that the Hungarians can match all the three higher-rated teams in this group,” the former Real Madrid star commented.
“Before the match, everyone was expecting a smooth French victory, but Marco Rossi’s team believed in themselves. Hungarians decided to give their all, and this turned out to be quite amazing. I think they have one of the best performances of the tournament so far. They absolutely impressed me,” former Welsh player and national team coach, Chris Coleman, commented in ESPN’s studio after the game.
“Hungary is determined, and has decent quality, but their draw with France was above all thanks to determination,” Italian star coach, Fabio Capello, commented.
Romanian football doyen, Mircea Lucescu, meanwhile praised Hungarian coach Marco Rossi, and said hopefully one day the Italian would become the Romanian national team’s coach, as he is a “very well-prepared,” “serious professional” who analyzed Hungary’s opponents very well and who deserves to lead other national teams besides Hungary.
Hungary stunned many during the game
Interestingly, FSV Mainz announced to extend Ádám Szalai’s contract virtually just hours before the Wednesday game’s kick-off. Well, after the striker’s header and assist, the Bundesliga side appeared to be pleased with their decision and tweeted:
“For all those who asked why we have extended with Ádám!”
English football legend and pundit, Gary Lineker, was shocked seeing the thrill and perhaps seeing Hungary’s performance too.
Aforementioned ESPN was also amazed and dedicated a post to Hungary. Other comments similary praised the team, with some thinking them the best underdog, others expressed that the defense worked on a world-class level.
German coach: one of the hardest matches of all
In addition, after the final whistle, Germany’s coach, Joachim Löw, spoke of how difficult the game was, mentioning that although they planned, they placed it all on one card in the last ten minutes. “It was one of the hardest games of all. But we knew that in advance. We expected them to fight hard. We also knew we wouldn’t have many chances. We were at a loss, equalized, it was very difficult to dominate the match (…) The Hungarians parked the bus, they threw themselves in the way of every ball, of every game situation.”
Unlike Löw’s expectations, Portuguese coach, Fernando Santos, perhaps did not expect that after the 0-3 loss against his team, Hungary could make something of a comeback in the group. In his sum-up about Portugal’s performance against France and in the group stage, the EURO winner trainer said, “I think the Hungarian team surprised everybody.”
Featured photo illustration by Tamás Kovács/MTI