Playoff Path

Hungary booked their spot at Euro 2016 via a playoff win over Norway.

Manager Bernd Storck was a relative latecomer to the party, taking over last summer after Pal Dardai had departed the camp midway through the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign.

Draws against Romania and Northern Ireland – the teams that would finish in the automatic qualifying spots above them – meant that Storck could only hope for a playoff place at best after his first two games in charge.

A 2-1 home success over the Faroe Islands secured third spot, eliminating Finland from that particular race, and sent Hungary into the playoffs where they were one of the four seeded teams.

Their one-goal success in Oslo came via a debut goal from 21-year-old midfielder Laszlo Kleinheisler.

The Norwegians may still be wondering how they lost a game in which they were utterly dominant but it was a priceless success for Storck and his team, setting them up nicely for the return game in Budapest.

With the prize of a first major tournament appearance since the 1986 World Cup tantalisingly close, Hungary did not blink amid a cauldron of noise in the second leg.

Tamas Priskin increased their advantage early in the game and an own goal seven minutes from time ended Norway’s chances as Hungary completed a 3-1 aggregate success.

Form Lines

A major worry for Hungary as they plot their summer campaign in France must be the mediocre nature of their qualifying form.

Aside from the playoff success against Norway, it is tough to find a standout performance in their 10 qualifying games.

Their four victories came against the Faroe Islands and Finland, each by a one-goal winning margin. Hungary were the only team in the section that did not defeat a Greece side that propped up the group.

The Greeks scored four of their tally of seven goals in their final game against Hungary. Storck’s team led that contest twice but could not hold out – of course the Hungarian boss may have already had his mind on the playoffs by that stage.

Bursaspor midfielder Balazs Dzsudzsak is the captain and lynchpin of the team. Many options were tried alongside the skipper during qualifying but Akos Elek and Queens Park Rangers’ Daniel Tozser are the most likely starters.

Chopping and changing was also prevalent at the back, with Roland Juhasz and Tamas Kadar among the most trusted deputies there.

Familiar Foes

Euro 2016 begins in Bordeaux on June 14 for Hungary against their neighbours Austria.

The countries have met 136 times down the years but not since a friendly in Graz 10 years ago, which Hungary won 2-1.

Austria were strong in qualifying but there is sure to be a real edge to this clash and Hungary showed against Norway in the playoffs that they can thrive in such circumstances.

Next up it will be Iceland in Marseille four days later. Hungary have a strong record against the Icelanders, winning their last five meetings.

The Group F campaign concludes on June 22 in Lyon against Portugal.

No Hungarian player managed more than two goals during qualifying. As befits a team with an unsettled line-up, 10 different scorers featured among their haul of 14 goals, including Norway’s self-harm in the playoff.

On the evidence of their qualifying run, Hungary will be hard pressed to make progress in France and the opening clash with Austria looks pivotal if they are to stand any chance.


Goalkeepers: Gabor Kiraly (Haladas), Denes Dibusz (Ferencvaros), Peter Gulacsi (Leipzig)

Defenders: Attila Fiola (Puskas Akademia), Barnabas Bese (MTK), Richard Guzmics (Wisla Krakow), Roland Juhasz (Videoton), Adam Lang (Videoton), Tamas Kadar (Lech Poznan), Mihaly Korhut (Debrecen)

Midfielders: Akos Elek (Diosgyori), Adam Pinter (Ferencvaros), Zoltan Gera (Ferencvaros), Adam Nagy (Ferencvaros), Laszlo Kleinheisler (Werder Bremen), Gergo Lovrencsics (Lech Poznan), Zoltan Stieber (Nurnberg)

Forwards: Balazs Dzsudzsak (Bursaspor), Adám Szalai (Hannover), Krisztian Nemeth (al-Gharafa), Nemanja Nikolic (Legia Warsaw), Tamas Priskin (Slovan Bratislava), Daniel Bode (Ferencvaros)

Team Profile

Number of European Championship Appearances 1
Best European Championship Performance Semi-finals (1964)
Number of European Championship Titles 0
Qualifying Form Played: 10 Won: 4 Drawn: 4 Lost: 2
Coach Bernd Storck – July 2015
Trophies 0
Most Capped Player Gabor Kiraly (current), Jozsef Bozsik (all-time)
Key Player at Euro 2016 Balazs Dzsudzsak