The Hungarian national football team began their European Championship qualifying campaign with a convincing 3-0 win over the visiting Bulgarian team on Monday. The Hungarians started their European Championship qualifying campaign with a win after 40 years to the day, and beat Bulgaria on home soil after 48 years.
Marco Rossi’s Hungarian team took the lead in the seventh minute with a goal from Bálint Vécsei, then team captain Dominik Szoboszlai doubled the advantage from a free-kick, while Martin Ádám sealed the win with the third goal before the break.
As the teams exited, the home fans gave their support to the Hungarian national team, choreographing a welcome to their favorites that included the number 12 on a stand behind one of the gates with the words “Together for another European adventure!” The number 12 was meant to represent the 12th player, the fans.
In a meeting in freezing weather, the Hungarians took an early lead thanks to a superb corner. After the goal, the game was mostly played between the two sixteens, but it was the home team’s moves that were more dangerous. Hungary’s slight field advantage was then converted again to a goal thanks to another point-blank kick, this time from a free-kick by team captain Szoboszlai. Rossi’s team continued to threaten in the time remaining until the break. The Hungarians, with a secure lead, played with increasing confidence, and Szoboszlai in particular was in his element, managing to lead several quick actions, which were dangerous. Eventually, the team scored their third goal thanks to Martin Ádám at the end of a counterattack before the break.
Photo: MTI/Kovács Tamás
After the break, the game started with more Hungarian chances, but the first of Roland Sallai’s attempts was saved by the visiting goalkeeper and the second went over the top. From the 60th minute onwards, the Hungarian team did not push their attacks as much, conceding the territory to the Bulgarians, who could have created some chances, but even then, the Hungarian counterattacks were more likely to score. There were no more goals, however, and the Hungarian team still started with great confidence.
Hungarian team manager Marco Rossi said after the game that he had confidence in the players, because he saw the work they had done in the days, trying to correct their mistakes after the Estonian game, but even he did not dream of such a start. He added that
Dominik Szoboszlai, since he has been playing for the national team, has probably given his best performance and in the future we can expect more and more that he will be the tongue of the scales.”
Bulgarian team’s manager Mladen Krstajic has said that he does not have the level of players needed at this level. He added that Hungarian players play for strong European clubs. “This is no longer the Hungarian national team of ten or fifteen years ago, this team was a worthy opponent of the Italians and the English, it is at a higher level. The Hungarian model could be a model for us to follow in the future,” he said.
Hungarian players thanking the fans for their support at the end of the game. Photo: MTI/Kovács Tamás
Bulgarian journalists also came to the match, and the staff of Sportal.bg visited Puskás Aréna before the game, which they could only speak about in superlatives, they were so impressed. In their article, they wrote that Puskás Aréna is an impressive sight and that it is clear that the Hungarian sanctuary is the result of meticulous work, adding that the Bulgarians can only envy the Hungarian jewel. Puskás Aréna’s lawn was described as a velvet carpet laid out in front of the footballers. “The turf in Budapest is top quality. It is as if we found ourselves in a computer game. Unfortunately, there is no similar football pitch in Bulgaria,” they wrote.
Photo: Facebook/Puskás Aréna
Hungary is in Group G of the European Championship Qualifiers along with Bulgaria, Serbia, Montenegro, and Lithuania. With Monday’s win, Hungarians are second in their group, with Serbia in first place with two wins, while the Hungarians have only played one game. Hungary is widely seen as the favorite in the group, but it will be somewhat difficult to beat Serbia and Montenegro.
The Hungarian national team will play against Montenegro on June 17 in Podgorica.
Featured photo via MTI/Kovács Tamás