Not everything went according to plan for the Hungarian national football team in the Puskás Arena on Tuesday evening. Despite giving it their all and putting up a great fight in their first group stage match of the European Championship, their opponent Portugal was able to score three goals in the last 10 minutes. Now the team reflects on what they could have done differently and prepares for their Saturday match against France with determination.
Hungary’s excellent goalkeeper, Péter Gulácsi was the first to voice that the score does not reflect the match. According to him, Hungary had closed very well, and had even expected a goal of its own, until Portugal scored. Nobody had thought that the game would end with a 3-0 loss.
We thank everyone for the opportunity of a lifetime. We knew that they would put pressure on us, we handled it well, more or less, we had openings too. (…) If we play like this against France, anything can happen.”
Hungary Is Moving on, Saturday Is a New Day
Defender Attila Szalai said that the goals scored depended on frustratingly slight details, because of which he is disappointed. He felt that it was great to play in front of a full house, and stated that “we are moving on, on Saturday there will once again be a match, we can try again.”
Forward Roland Sallai confirmed that Hungary was defending a lot in the first half and attacking more in the second. Sallai believes this performance shows that Hungary can perform well even without its key players, such as Dominik Szoboszlai, who cannot take part in the championship due to an injury.
Today as well we showed that we can succeed well even without our key players. There is strength in the team, this needs to be taken forward. (…) The audience has returned, proving today that behind us stands one of the world’s best fanbases.”
Rossi: Now Is Not the Time to Give Up
Following the match, Marco Rossi, head coach of the national team, said that he was let down by the score, since the performance did not emulate a 3-0 victory for Portugal.
He considers it extremely unlucky that the first goal at the 83rd minute popped off of Hungarian defender Willi Orbán (who played exceptionally well), but said that these things can happen when there are four players defending the rear.
The offensive seen in the second half was thanks to Rossi’s encouragement to the team to play with more bravery and offense. He believes it to have been successfully executed by the players, although certain attempts could have been more precise.
The head coach emphasized that now is the time for them to show that they are men, able to give an answer to this difficult situation. Now is not the time for Hungary to give up, Rossi said, the team needs to look forward and move on.
Featured photo illustration by Zsolt Szigetváry/MTI