Hungary’s national football team, under the guidance of head coach Marco Rossi, has once again qualified for the UEFA European Championship, following their participation in the 2021 edition. In an away match full of drama against Bulgaria, the Hungarian squad played to a 2–2 draw, securing their third consecutive appearance in the Euros.
The current direct qualification for the Euros was built on an exceptional performance in the Nations League, exceeding expectations. Dominik Szoboszlai, a genuine European football talent at just 22 years old, became the captain of the national team during this qualifying series. In a thrilling match against Bulgaria on Thursday night, Hungary secured a 2–2 draw,
with the equalizing (self-)goal coming in the 97th minute,
which meant qualification for the UEFA European Championship regardless of the result of the last, home match against Montenegro.
To recall a pivotal moment in Hungarian football history, before the 1985 World Cup qualifier between Austria and Hungary in Vienna, Hungary had eight points, one more than Austria, who had played one fewer match. A victory would secure the team’s group leadership and direct qualification for the World Cup in Mexico. Surpassing all expectations, the Hungarian team, led by Lajos Détári, achieved a remarkable 3–0 victory in the Austrian home ground, with fans traveling in masses and creating an atmosphere with a cheering louder than that of the home supporters at the since-demolished Gerhard Hanappi Stadium.
After a wait of 38 years, Hungary’s national team has finally secured direct qualification for a major football tournament without the need for playoffs, this time for the 2024 UEFA European Championship.
‘We could have made the game easier, but at least everyone was on the edge of their seats,’ said Dominik Szoboszlai in his statement to M4 after the match against Bulgaria. The team captain expressed that if he spoke honestly about the match against Bulgaria, it might not reflect well, but perhaps the same goes for everyone else. ‘So, I’ll just say that I’m glad we made it through.’ He expressed that he had wanted to achieve more than just one point.
‘We made it difficult for ourselves,’ he said,
adding that he prefers to rejoice in the fact that they do not have to play in the playoffs. Szoboszlai mentioned that he usually trusts the team 120 per cent, but this time he only had 119 per cent confidence that they could do it. Nevertheless, the essential fact is that the team is in the Euros, he concluded.
‘It was a crazy encounter,’ said Dénes Dibusz, the national team’s goalkeeper, who celebrated his 35th birthday on the day of the match. He felt that on this day, the qualification for the Euros had to happen, although until the 96th minute, it did not seem likely. The team may not have played excellently, but it would not have been fair if they had lost, he expressed.