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Head Coach Rossi: “We Won’t Be There in Qatar, but This Night in Poland Will Be Unforgettable”

Zsófia Nagy-Vargha 2021.11.16.

Although Hungary managed to defeat Poland 2-1 in Warsaw in the final match of the World Cup qualifiers, they said their final goodbyes to Qatar in 2022. Goals from András Schäfer and Dániel Gazdag clinched the victory, which left the Hungarian team in only fourth place in Group I. Head coach Rossi was satisfied with the performance on Monday night; however, he criticized his team for not being able to fight for the play-offs at the World Cup qualifiers.

This article was originally published on our sister-site, Ungarn Heute. Translation by Júlia Tar

The first opportunity to score for Poland came after ten minutes on Monday night, and the home side continued to dictate the tempo. Hungarian goalkeeper, Dénes Dibusz, was forced into action for the first time in the 19th minute. Then Hungary took the lead thanks to another Polish defensive error. It was not until the 61st minute that Poland was able to equalize. Hungary failed to defend a corner, and in the end, Swiderski took a header from six meters and sank the ball into the left corner.

The expected Polish attack failed to materialize and ten minutes before the end the Hungarians took the lead again, with the cooperation of substitutes Tamás Kiss and Dániel Gazdag delivering a beautiful goal: the former brought the ball into the middle from the right, and the latter shot into the upper left corner from 12 meters (2:1).

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Even the Polish reports pointed out that the sporting, fraternal atmosphere on Monday evening was perhaps even more important than the otherwise impressive Hungarian 2-1 victory. However, this success should not be neglected, as after seven years Hungary is the first foreign team that managed to “conquer” the National Stadium in Warsaw. Hungarian head coach Rossi was also completely satisfied with the team’s performance.

“I don’t know if you noticed that I was wearing a scarf with Hungarian and Polish inscriptions,” said Marco Rossi, the Italian head coach of the Hungarian national team, after the 2-1 victory against Poland in Warsaw. Rossi emphasized above all the atmosphere of the match, and said: “This match was precisely about the Hungarian-Polish friendship.”

It would be fantastic if every football match had this atmosphere. Although there shouldn’t be any Hungarian fans here, they were there and they behaved in an exemplary manner. I repeat: they gave me this scarf. I, an Italian, also got goose bumps on my arms when I heard the stadium applauding during the Hungarian anthem! I would also like to thank the Polish fans for this wonderful feeling.”

Despite winning 2-1 this time, the Hungarian national team will not make it to the World Championships in Qatar in November 2022.

We played smart, precise, tactical, and (were) very motivated. These guys are proud to wear the jersey of the Hungarian national team. We achieved a great result that night. But without great effort, we wouldn’t have managed to get a point at Wembley and now a win in Warsaw. Poland needed the three points to qualify for the play-offs. I admit that if Lewandowski had played we might have had a different result. I’m satisfied, we’re playing better soccer from game to game, we’re on the right track.”

Rossi was also asked by Polish journalists about how much money is invested in football in Hungary.

“A lot,” the coach replied. “We are setting up academies, but the fruits of this work will not be seen for years. But we are on the right track. Our league is not yet at a very high level, but the federation and the clubs are trying to raise the level. Unfortunately, there is a big gap behind [last year’s champion] Ferencváros, and the others are lagging behind.”

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However, Rossi is not satisfied with the result of the World Cup qualification. He had expected the team to take three or four points from Albania. “I knew they were a strong team, but I honestly didn’t think we would lose twice to them. So I’m not completely satisfied, even though we managed to win today.”

Rossi characterized the situation and performance of the national team in the following way:

We really can’t be satisfied because we didn’t qualify for the play-offs. Remember,  at the beginning of the qualifying series I said that England would finish first and ninety percent that Poland would finish second.”

The national team played 10 World Cup qualifying matches in Group I, where they finished fourth and did not qualify for the World Cup. The balance is six wins, five draws, and four defeats.

Table of Group I:

I. England: 26 points (World Cup qualification)
II. Poland: 20 points (qualification)
III. Albania: 18 points
IV. Hungary: 17 points
V. Andorra: 6 points
VI. San Marino: 0 points.

Featured image via Zsolt Szigetváry/MTI