jeudi 7 juillet 2016

Hungary National Team XI at World Cups and Euros

Hungarian line-ups through history.

1934 World Cup : beaten by Austria in the Quarter-finals of this Italian World Cup. Had previously eliminated Egypt in the round of 16 and first Bulgaria in the preliminary round. Which consisted of a group with Hungary, Bulgaria and Austria. Hungary and Austria qualified from this group without facing each other. All the matches have not been disputed since Bulgaria was beaten twice by Hungary and once by Austria. No group stage in the finals obviously but directly the round of 16.

One of the two main player of this 1934 team was Géza Toldi (generally positionned  inside left) and the other was the centre-forward György Sarosi that we find again four years later for the World Cup in France.

1938 World Cup : runner-up (beaten by Italy).

Qualified for the finals by beating Greece 11-1 in Budapest; beats the Dutch East Indies in the round of 16 (6-0); beats Switzerland in the quarter-finals (2-0) then Sweden in the semi-finals (5-1) before to be beaten in the Final by Italy (2-4).

The XI, as they lined in the Final :
Magyarország - XI 1938
In attack, Titkos took Vilmos Kohut's position on the left wing since the semi-finals. Vincze imposed himself as the inside-left instead of Toldi. For the Final,  Zsengeller and Vincze exchanged positions.
In defence, Polgar became the Right back instead of Koranyi only for the Final. Szucs (23 years old) only played the Final. Turai (33 years old) was the starter at the centre-half position until then.

"Aranycsapat", "The Golden Team" (1950-1954) :

From the after 1950 World Cup that the Hungarian team has not participated in until the 1954 World Cup Final, the Magyars have been unbeaten during 29 matches.

And here we are, at the 1954 World Cup with the XI, as proposed by the coach Sebes in the Final. There would be a good number of different possibilities to present this formation and manys would be good. We'll go for this one :

Magyarország - XI 1954 (Final)
Often descibe as a 4-2-4 since Zakarias operated like a stopper within this team, that Bozsik was a very peculiar half-back as he was the true conductor of the team and that the centre-forward was withdrawn behind the two insides who were Kocsis and Puskas. Indeed, the veteran player Hidegkuti (by the way rated behind Palotas prior to the tournament by the public opinion) generally started his actions from a deep position. He was however a real striking force able to score goals (a bit like a Platini later if we want to, on the contrary of a Kopa, at the same epoch, who was more a dribbler and a passer than a finisher, Hidegkuti was a good passer too...Di Stéfano, he was everywhere at everything).
With that long parenthesis now ended, we obviously take note of the unusual positioning of Czibor on the right wing for this match, instead of Budai II, the starter in the semis but who was in balance with Mihaly and Jozsef Toth during the competition. And it is finally M. Toth who found a spot in the XI that lined in the Final, so on the left.
The left-footed Czibor surprised the West German defense in the very beginning of the match when he intercepted a back-pass from a defender to its goalkeeper to score the opener, before to quickly fade away and disappear of the game.

Another important point, Puskas was in a poor form during this tournament at which he arrived injured (probably that he delivered his best perfomance in the Final, where he tried everything).
So here are the different lines of attack from match to match :

Hungary - South Korea : Budai, Kocsis, Palotas, Puskas, Czibor.  Score : 9-0
Palotas started the competition. Not Hidegkuti who is the starter in the next game. In order to test Palotas? In order to preserve the quite ageing Hidegkuti? In order to have both players, Hidegkuti and Palotas on alert in the case of a forfeit of Puskas? Possibly for all of these reasons, but how to know what it was in the Sebes' head. There was also that debate in the opinion around Hidegkuti judged "finished". Probably that Sebes played with that. But Hidegkuti was well the starter against the biggest rival in the group stage, West Germany, in the second match anyway.

Hungary - West Germany : J.Toth, Kocsis, Hidegkuti, Puskas, Czibor. Score 8-3

Quarter-finals :  Hungary -  Brazil : J.Toth, Kocsis, Hidegkuti, Czibor, M. Toth. Score 4-2.
Semi-finals : Hungary - Uruguay : Budai, Kocsis, Palotas, Hidegkuti, Czibor. Score 4-2 a.e.t. Palotas and Hidegkuti play together this time, still in the absence of Puskas. Hidegkuti fill a position of inside left that he knew well in club.

Puskas is back for the Final Hungary - West Germany : Czibor, Kocsis, Hidegkuti, Puskas, M. Toth. 2-3.

At last, back to this story of the formation used, a 4-2-4, a 1-3-3-3 with Lorant as a sort of "libero", Bozsik, Hidegkuti and Puskas in support of the front-three including the wingers, why not a 3-2-5... all of that was true.
We'll simply exclude the idea of a 4-4-2 (that often goes with the 4-2-4) as Czibor did not defend much and the idea of a WM with a withdrawn centre-forward as the WM system goes by definition with the idea of individual marking and that it was not the case of this team which, whitout talking about an eventual zonal marking approach, was first of all a team which was strong when attacking (on built attacks or counter-attacks).
And maybe feeble when not in a situation where they dominated.

Hungary reappears on the world football chessboard in the early sixties with a new phenomenon player as its play-maker, Albert Florian.

Hungary at the 1962 World Cup : quarter-finalist.

Winner of England  and Bulgaria 2-1 and 6-1 in the first round (0-0 draw-game with Argentina in the third match), the Hungarians easily qualifies for the quarter-finals. But here they hit a snag. Czechoslovakia it is (0-1).


The XI :
Magyarország - XI 1962

Albert has been officialy elected best young player of this tournament by the FIFA.

2 years after this Chilean World Cup, Hungary is still present and well as semi-finalist of the European Nations Cup, second edition.

Hungary at the Euro 1964 : semi-finalist, 3rd.

The semi-finalist XI in Spain :
Magyarország - XI 1964
Successively winner of Wales in the preliminary round, of East Germany in the round of 16 and of France in the quarter-finals, Hungary was beaten by the eventual champion Spain in the semi-finals. Hungary beats Denmark in the 3rd place match.

Hungary at the 1966 World Cup : quarter-finalist.

Winner of a group with East Germany and Austria in the qualifying stage (3/1/0); second of the group 3 in the first round of the finals in England, behind Portugal (1-3 loss to Portugal, 3-1 wins over Brazil and Bulgaria); hit a snag again in the World Cup quarter-finals this time with the Soviet Union (1-2).

The XI :
Magyarország - XI 1966
A 4-2-4 probably (but also why not a 4-3-3 or a 4-2-2-2...everyone will interpret it in its own way, to the condition of watching the games though of course). Meszoly was the ball player from the back who could progress with the ball at the feet on some meters. Sipos a stopper at midfield who almost never moved from his spot.
The interaction Meszoly-Sipos was not necessarily exemplary. This kind of things has been finalized after.

Hungary at the Euro 1972 : semi-finalist, 4th.

Hungary get rid of Bulgaria, France and Norway in the qualifiers before to eliminate Romania (winner of a group with Czechoslovakia, Wales and Finland) in the quarter-finals.
This new generation of players reaches the last 4 stage of an Euro tournament for the second time 8 years after. In Belgium, they're beaten 1-0 by Soviet Union then 2-1 by Belgium.

The XI :

Magyarország - XI 1972
But the beautiful years are now definitively well behind (in spite of some remaining all Hungarain qualities amongst the players).

Hungary 1978-1986 :

More talentuous than the 1972 team maybe, the 1978 team that qualified to the World Cup held in Argentina (by eliminating the USSR and Greece in the European qualifiers then Bolivia in barrages) with the young Andras Torocsik and Tibor Nyilasi (Olympic silver medalist Varadi will not play in the finals and the veteran Laszlo Fazekas barely, one half only).

But in Argentina, it will be a particularly difficult group stage for the Hungarians with the hosting country national team and Italy with them in the group 1 (two losses 1-2 and 1-3). And France, with also a new generation of players, that did nothing great since 1958 and in search of a first victory as well which wins the last group match by 3 to 1, in a very pleasant game - what was far to be the case of all the groups matches.

It will be the first round too in the next two World Cups. With a 10-1 by passing against El Salvador at the 1982 Spanish World Cup. In 1986, Hungary could only win against Canada thanks to his greatest talent of the time, Lajos Detari. Him and his partners, amongst which the famous goalkeeper Peter Disztl, were beaten 6-0 by Soviet Union from the outset and by France in the last group match (1-3). Hungary had however topped his group in the qualifying stage before Holland (one away win each in their direct confrontations).

Then no traces of the Hungarian football anymore at the international level.

Then the resurrection :

Hungary at the Euro 2016 : round of 16.

30 years after its last participation in a major tournament, Hungary qualifies for its third Euro championship ever (after 1964 and 1972).

Third of the qualifying stage group B behind Northern Ireland and Romania, Hungary (4 W, 4 D, 2 L, 11, 9) plays and wins barrages against Norway. The two matches were won.

In France, Hungary wins its group ahead of Iceland and Portugal and qualifies for the round of 16 of this 24-team Euro (a novelty). At this stage, they're severely beaten by Belgium.

The XI :
Magyarország - XI 2016
Often seductive during this Euro with its national team, let's hope that the Hungarian football will be able to lead its project, which is about coming back to an offensive game, to fruition.

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