Hungary – Switzerland
Hungary’s new manager Bicskei had drawn at home to the Republic of Ireland in his first game in charge, and the Hungarians were already somewhat on the back foot having also surrendered a point away to the lowly Maltese. Four points from their opening three matches will have been less than what they had wanted, but there had been some problems during the winter on the domestic scene, where a huge bribery scandal had seen to that a good few players had been ineligible for national team selection. This had deprived previous manager Mezey of a lot of key players for the visit to Malta, and in injury time they had lost a precious point as Busuttil had equalized to 2-2 for the home side. Now with Bicskei in charge, they were seeking to re-establish themselves as a candidate for the second spot in Group 6, where the Spanish had already won all five of their matches. Hungary were seeking to build for the home match against Malta only eight days away. Ten of the players that had started in the 0-0 draw against Eire were also picked for the starting XI here, with only Mészáros missing out. In his place came left-sided defender Keller. This pushed Sass into a left-sided midfield role, with Hajszán taking up a striker’s role alongside captain for the day Kiprich. Just behind them was Détári in his roaming midfield role.
The visitors had opened their Group 7 campaign with an expected win in Luxembourg (4-1) and a likewise anticipated defeat in Brussels (1-0). This was their final preparation ahead of the trip to Lisbon to play Portugal. It was slightly unclear what manager Jeandupeux saw as his most useful formation, but after their 4-3-3 exertions in Brussels, they were back in 4-4-2 here. Experienced sweeper Geiger was absent (injured left foot), and so Luzern’s similarly experienced defender Wehrli continued in the same role which he had occupied during the Swiss’ only match since the defeat in Belgium: an impressive 3-1 win against Egypt in Cairo. Mottiez had featured as right back in that December friendly, and he too was missing from the line-up in Budapest, with Marini taking over. Two further absentees from their last outing were left-back Schällibaum and midfielder Andermatt, who were replaced by the inexperienced Birrer and debutant Colombo respectively. Koller, usually a central defender, was seen as the wide right midfielder. These changes did make it seem like Mr Jeandupeux indeed was treating this as a good occasion for experimenting. Thomas Bickel was another absentee with injury, and might otherwise have figured.
Referee was 41 year old Yugoslav Bujić, who was in charge of his first ever international.
From 36 previous encounters, Hungary had won a staggering 28 matches, with only five matches yielding Swiss victory. History was indeed on the home team’s side. Conditions appeared good around the time of kick-off, perhaps with a slight breeze giving Switzerland a mild advantage during the first half.
|1 Péter Disztl||Honvéd|
|2 István Kozma||Újpest Dózsa|
|3 József Keller||Ferencváros|
|4 László Disztl||Honvéd|
|5 Ervin Kovács||sub h-t||Újpest Dózsa|
|6 Zoltán Bognár||Szombathely|
|7 József Kiprich (c)||sub 53′||Tatabánya|
|8 József Gregor||Honvéd|
|9 János Sass||sub 77′||Honvéd|
|10 Lajos Détári||sub 81′||Olympiakos|
|11 Gyula Hajszán||Győri ETO|
|12 Tibor Balog||on h-t||Vasas|
|13 Zoltán Csucsánszky||on 81′||Videoton|
|14 Tibor Csehi||on 77′||Honvéd|
|15 Pál Fischer||on 53′||Ferencváros
|1 Martin Brunner||Grasshoppers|
|2 Stefan Marini||Luzern|
|3 Urs Birrer||Luzern|
|4 Martin Weber||Young Boys|
|5 Roger Wehrli||Luzern|
|6 Lucien Favre||sub 66′||Servette|
|7 Marcel Koller||sub 59′||Grasshoppers|
|8 Heinz Hermann (c)||Neuchâtel Xamax|
|9 Kubilay Türkyılmaz||Bellinzona|
|10 Christian Colombo||Lugano|
|11 Dario Zuffi||Young Boys|
|12 Peter Schepull||Wettingen|
|13 Stefan Lehmann||Sion|
|14 Blaise Piffaretti||Sion|
|15 Alain Sutter||on 66′||Grasshoppers|
|16 Beat Sutter||on 59′||Neuchâtel Xamax|
Both sides appeared in 4-4-2, but they utilized the formation differently, and the Hungarian version seemed to fit them far better than the Swiss one suited the visitors:
The two home strikers were both appearing wide: Kiprich to the right, Hajszán to the left, almost as wide as proper wingers, and this was in order to allow Détári space into which he could come surging when moving forward. The width with which the two strikers were playing, did seem to keep the two midfield widemen Gregor and Sass somewhat surplus to requirements, and perhaps it was no surprise that the visitors saw a lot of the ball in the early exchanges as they were numerical superior in midfield. E Kovács had a lot of ground to cover as the holding midfielder for the home side. L Disztl featured as sweeper, allowing his central defensive partner Z Bognár to roam forward, almost lending E Kovács support in central midfield. Of the full-backs, in particular Kozma on the right seemed keen on venturing forward. After a difficult opening spell, Mr Bicskei would pull Détári somewhat deeper to help the home side regain control in midfield. This worked very well.
For the visitors, Wehrli took the deep central defensive role, and a ‘libero’ tag could possibly be justified, although the distance to the other central defender Weber was rarely great. Left-back Birrer seemed more adventurous and willing to cross the halfway line than right-back Marini. In midfield, Favre was originally placed on the left hand side, but he did more appear as a third central midfielder, and thus giving Birrer the cause for giving support going forward more than Marini. Colombo, a tall figure, was featuring in the centre alongside Hermann, with dynamics looking fine between the two. Early on the debutant would be the most attacking of the two, but this seemed to change as the game wore on. Koller, more a natural central defender, had been placed on the right hand side of midfield, and he was hardly a great threat for Keller. Of the two forwards, Türkyılmaz seemed to drift towards the left of centre, with Zuffi slightly withdrawn, and not particularly orientated towards the right of centre areas.
The early exchanges would see the visitors move the ball between themselves a lot. Switzerland appeared to be well in control of midfield, and this will partly have been a result of a numerical advantage. Strangely, Mr Jeandupeux had picked Koller for the wide right role in midfield. Koller was by no means a midfielder by trade, and certainly not a midfielder who could take on his man and challenge the Hungarian left-back, who in this case was Keller, someone not always too reliable in the defensive aspects of the game. Indeed, the entire composition of the Swiss midfield seemed somewhat strange, but clearly it is better to experiment during a friendly rather than a qualification match, and so the away team manager felt this was the right time. He had drafted in debutant Colombo, a tall central midfielder from bottom club Lugano, in order to add some physique to the central midfield area, where players such as captain Hermann and the delicate Favre were hardly famous for their strength in battle. Hermann could probably give as much as he got, but physical contests were not first and foremost what he was renowned for. With a combative player like Colombo by his side, he could focus more on spraying passes towards the two strikers, who in the first parts of the opening half seemed to operate in territories: Zuffi towards the right, Türkyılmaz towards the left. One thing which was missing, was Swiss width. Koller was clearly uncomfortable when advancing into enemy space, and he would rather assist his right-back than try to be a creative force himself, or he would seek inwards to be some kind of a midfield holding man when Colombo and Hermann were looking to stray forward themselves. And Favre was not your typical wide man on the left either. He too would be more interested in seeking out slightly more central grass, and so the inexperienced Birrer at left-back was dealt a good deal of responsibility in trying to maintain a certain level of width to the left. Birrer was a more keen participant when the visitors were venturing forward than right-back Marini was opposite.
The home side were very cautious in the early parts of the game. They conceded possession to the visitors, and seemed content with such a match picture. At the back, they were not put to the test a lot, as Switzerland’s often low paced attacking game did not require particular defensive attributes, and L Disztl, goalkeeper P Disztl’s brother, did seem comfortable as libero. In front of him he had the relatively tall figure of Z Bognár, the Szombathelyi defender who had made his debut in the match against the Irish. Bognár was comfortable on the ball, and at times sought to aid defensive midfield man E Kovács in his area. This was when the home side were in possession, and when Bognár decided it was time to venture forward, which he certainly was not afraid to do, it would be left to Kovács to keep himself back. The Hungarian midfield more or less had a diamond shape, with the great Détári featuring as the most forward player, supposed to lend his support for the two forwards. So what about the two wide players? There was Gregor on the right and Sass on the left. The former was less intent on keeping width, as he could at times be seen coming inside to make up the numbers in central regions. Sass, though, would often try and attack down the left hand side, a space which also could include both left-back Keller and striker Hajszán, who was more or less operating as a left-sided forward. The other striker, Kiprich, who had been appointed captain for the occasion, was similarly seen towards the right of centre, and thus they were looking for central space to open up for Détári from his attacking midfield position. On paper it seemed a good idea; in the first half of the opening period it didn’t work in practice. Inside the first ten minutes, Hermann, Zuffi (header) and Colombo had all wanted to test the scruffy looking creature between the home team’s posts, though the threat was never great, and P Disztl and his untidy beard were equal to either effort.
After an opening 20 minutes in which Switzerland had seemed very comfortable, and where the omnipresence of debutant Colombo had been impressive, the home side were showing signs of coming more into the game, and Hajszán has a moment when he is over on the right hand side: He comes in field and takes the ball past Hermann, upon which he decides to have a shot from 25 yards. It is struck with venom, but the projectile flies just over Brunner’s crossbar. And moments after, down the other end, Hermann is given time in the centre circle to search out Zuffi with a pass over the top of the Hungarian defence, where Zuffi again has orientated himself towards the left of centre. He gets away from Z Bognár and is able to fire a low shot towards goal, but his angle is so tight it is very difficult to trouble P Disztl. The effort goes wide. However, the game seems to be coming to life.
Détári strikes for 1-0 at the halfway point in the first half. Hajszán had received the ball in the wide left area, and somehow he managed to trick both Koller and Marini with his dribblery, and when Werhli was next to commit himself, the path was clear for a low cross. Hajszán angled it slightly backwards and into the path of Kiprich, who however decided only to touch it on for Détári, who was behind him and in a better position to strike. With a calculated left-foot finish, the Olympiakos playmaker hit the top left corner of Brunner’s goal. After being on the back foot for the majority of the game so far, Hungary were ahead. And it is only a minute later when they come close to adding a second, with Détári playing Kovács through with a pass which splits the Swiss defence. However, the defensive midfielder’s touch is too heavy, and he gets too close to the goalkeeper when trying to finish. Brunner saves down at E Kovács’ feet. Hermann had not been aware enough or worked hard enough to close down Détári, and Wehrli had been out of position to allow Kovács through. It must have been worrying for Mr Jeandupeux the level of ease with which the Hungarians now seemed to be able to operate their way through the Swiss defence.
The confidence seems to evaporate among the visitors following the opening goal, and the deeper-lying Détári has begun to gain control in midfield. It benefits both him and the team that he comes back in order to distribute his excellent long-range passes, and in right-back Kozma the Hungarians have another effective weapon. He does like to come forward, and is seen in crossing positions more often than Gregor. As we’ve already learnt, Kiprich also likes to locate the right-sided channels, and left-back Birrer has a lot of work on his hands. 2-0 comes after Wehrli has been too hard in his handling of Gregor some 30 yards from goal, again to the right as the home side look at it. Détári finds E Kovács completely unmarked in the area, and from 12 yards he stoops low to direct a header beyond Brunner for his first goal at international level. Again, the visitors’ defending had left a lot to be desired. Weber as the nearest defender had been a good few yards away from Kovács.
Time is a limited entity in international football. However, a player who is able to use his intelligence on the pitch to buy himself some of this precious material can soon stand out from the crowd. In Détári, the Hungarians have a player of such capacity. For the visitors, Hermann has also demonstrated his ability to pick a pass when given the necessary amount of time. These two are players that their respective managers want to see on the ball, but whereas the visiting captain starts brightly enough, he will fade along with the emergence on the scene by the home #10. In a more withdrawn role, Détári is able to control proceedings, and the Colombo that had been so visible in the first half of the opening 45 minutes, went AWOL after 1-0. At the sound of the half-time whistle, the teams enter the dressing rooms with Hungary 2-0 to the good.
The total number of substitutions available to each team was four. During the half-time break, the home side had replaced their second goalscorer Kovács with Tibor Balog. This player must not be confused with the other Tibor Balog, who had featured for the national team during the 2-2 draw in Malta. The Balog who came on to replace E Kovács was the Vasas defender, whereas the player featuring in the ‘Hajszán role’ in Valletta had been the MTK forward. As it were, Balog’s entrance meant Z Bognár was switched from central defence and into Kovács’ defensive midfield position, with the substitute lining up alongside L Disztl at the heart of the defence. Gregor and Kiprich kicked off the second half for the home side.
The start of the second half again saw the Swiss having more of the ball. Hermann at times came deep to pick the ball off his defenders, and though some variety could’ve been interesting to see, he would usually try to find either Favre or Colombo with his passes. Colombo would put himself about, whilst Favre would slow play down due to his preference of running with the ball at his feet. Türkyılmaz had been completely invisible during the opening 45 minutes, and he appeared less mobile than his forward partner Zuffi. Early in the second half Détári again seemed to be higher up in the pitch, whilst Z Bognár now was trying to keep things together at the rear end of the Hungarian midfield. Balog was doing his best Z Bognár impression in central defence, where he was never afraid to carry the ball forward. L Disztl, who once during the first half had been seen inside the Swiss half, was content to sit back and orchestrate defence.
Only a few minutes into the second half, the home side make their second substitution when Fischer comes on to replace Kiprich. The captain for the occasion had not been particularly impressive, and it would be interesting to see what the promising Ferencváros forward could add to the side. As Kiprich was running off the pitch, he was seen giving the captain’s armband for the substitute to pass on to a team mate, but it is unclear who took over. The colour of the armband blended so perfectly into the burgundy shirts of the home team that spotting the armband from a distance was an impossible task. Détári seemed the obvious candidate (some sources indeed have him down for captaincy from kick-off, which is clearly wrong), but there is no verification of him taking over. The only other solid alternative seemed to be P Disztl, but there is no captain’s armband visible over his dark grey goalkeeper’s jersey sleeve later in the half. Fischer would slot straight into the role left vacant by Kiprich.
A quarter of an hour into the second half, Mr Jeandupeux has seen enough of Koller in a midfield capacity. He takes his number 7 off to be replaced by B Sutter, himself originally a forward. This is a direct swap to see B Sutter take the right-handed midfield position, and as we know, Mr Jeandupeux also used this particular Swiss substitute in a wide right forward role when playing his 4-3-3. B Sutter’s introduction comes just as the Hungarians are about to strike a free-kick from 25 yards through Détári, whose effort is blocked away by the defensive wall. The start of the second half has been a rather lax affair, with neither side making much inroad into enemy territory. One player has been given a slightly more central role in the home side, and this seems to suit Gregor, who had been operating more to the right of midfield during the first half. The right hand corridor is now left to right-back Kozma to exploit.
There is no great rhythm to the match in the second half. Switzerland continue their short-passing play. They are neat but not very efficient. Both left-back Birrer, one of three defenders from champions elect Lucerne, and Colombo have wile left-footed attempts from distance. Hungary are more direct in their approach. Détári has again drifted out of the game, but the industry of Hajszán down the left is a feature of the opening 20 minutes of the second half. The next change sees the visitors bring on A Sutter for Favre, again a direct replacement, although it is expected that the substitute will be better at keeping width than the player whom he had replaced.
3-0 arrives 16 minutes from the end: L Disztl finds Kozma on yet another run down the right hand side, and again the full-back angles his pass backwards and into the path of Gregor, who in turn flicks it on for Bognár, who’s made a run forward. As the second half holding midfielder hits a low shot from 20 yards, the ball ricochets off Weber, who’s turned his back to the shooter, and it wrong-foots Brunner, who is unable to recover to keep the ball out. The home side have a commanding lead, but the scoreline does flatter them, as they’ve not been hugely superior. After the third goal, though, the Swiss’ motivation completely disappears, and the remainder of the game mostly sees the Hungarians pass the ball between themselves in order to try and create openings. There is also two further substitutions: a debut for left-sided midfielder Csehi when he comes on for Sass, and ultimately with Csucsánszky replacing Détári.
The match also has time for a sensational missed attempt by Swiss star Hermann, who with only a few minutes remaining had been played in by Zuffi, and he proceeded to round P Disztl. The goal was gaping and he was eight yards away from the goalline, but he loses his concentration and the ball has a slight bubble, which sees the visiting captain lift his left-foot finish over the empty goal. It is a miss which beggars belief from a player of his stature. Or of any player. And it just sums up the Swiss’ afternoon in the Hungarian capital.
3-0 is a harsh result on the visitors, as the home side’s superiority is not that great, but they are efficient, and Switzerland’s laboured play in both halves gets punished. The visitors boss the game for the opening 20 minutes, until Hungary score through Détári’s fine strike, and after the goal the complexion of the game changes, with the initiative now in the hosts’ hands. 2-0 is a result of some inept marking, while the second half sees little pattern due to a lot of changes and a home side content with the scoreline. However, they manage to add to their tally when Z Bognár’s deflected effort outmanoueuvres Brunner. The more direct home side pose the greater threat when going forward. The Swiss have a lot of work ahead of their remaining qualifiers.