Hungary were ranked second in Group 6 but faced stiff competition for one of the two qualifying berths, battling with favourites Spain, plucky N. Ireland and a vastly improved Rep. of Ireland.

After László Balint short stint, György Mezey returned to the national team as manager in the time for the campaign for Italy’90. Mezey had of course been head coach also under Mexico’86, before leaving for Kuwait. Hungary’s 1988 campaign hadn’t been a particularly good one, and Mezey was re-appointed in order to bring back hope for another World Cup. The Hungarians were well used to the world stage tournament at the time, having been qualified for every World Cup since 1978. Would it be a fourth in a row? Read more . . .


Qualifier 1
19.10.88. Hungary 1-0 Northern Ireland
Hungary (4-1-2-1-2): P Disztl – Sallai, Nagy, Mészöly (Dajka h-t), Sass – Garaba (c), Kozma, G Bognár, Détári – Kiprich, Hajszán (Vincze 82)
Despite almost full control throughout, Hungary can only get a narrow win. The visitors are playing very defensively (and disciplined), and Hungary have a hard time finding the openings. Vincze had been vying for a start, but came on to grab a late winner. The match also has some interesting tactical ploys from Mezey, as he switches to a 3-4-3 formation at half time.

Team News
A bribery scandal in the Hungarian league hits the national team hard. Several players are suspended and made unavailable for Mezey.

15.11.1988. Greece 3-0 Hungary
Hungary: P Disztl (c) – Máriási, Pintér, Mészöly (Bordás h-t), Sass (Keller 59) – E Kovács, Kozma, Csucsánszky, Vincze (Fischer h-t) – Kiprich, Hajszán (T Balog 79)
This was Mezey’s attempt to establish a team after being hit by suspension on several key players. It is a crushing defeat, albeit to a good home side. The team is a mix of experience and new features, and debuts are handed to midfielder Csucsánszky and forwards Fischer and Balog, who would all feature during the qualifiers.

Qualifier 2
11.12.88. Malta 2-2 Hungary
Goals: Vincze, Kiprich (pen.)
Line-up (4-4-2): P Disztl (c) – Kozma, Csuhay, L Disztl, Keller – Kékesi, E Kovács, Csucsánsky, Vincze (Fischer 72) – Kiprich (Pintér 88), T Balog
Mezey had been without half his first team due to a domestic bribery scandal, and they had conceded a late, late goal to drop a costly point. Four of the players in the starting eleven would never again feature during the qualifiers

Team News
György Mezey resigns from his position as manager for the national team after the match in Malta. Not primarily because of the poor result, but because of a clause in his contract that permitted him to leave if he felt he couldn’t work freely. The domestic investigation that had banned many of his players made him trigger this clause.

Team News
On the 30th December, Bertalan Bicskei (current Honvéd manager) is appointed new manager for Hungary.

Qualifier 3
08.03.89. Hungary 0-0 Republic of Ireland
Hungary (4-1-3-2): P Disztl – Kozma, Sass, L Disztl, Z Bognár – E Kovács – Détári, Gregor (Boda 78), Hajszán – Kiprich (c), Mészáros (G Bognár h-t)
Despite being the team creating the more opportunities, it is a bit of a lacklustre performance by the Hungarians in their first match under new manager Bicskei. Chances are few and far between. Détári is deployed in an unusually deep midfield role with limited success.

04.04.1989. Hungary 3-0 Switzerland
Hungary (4-1-3-2): P Disztl – Kozma, Keller, L Disztl, Z Bognár – E Kovács (T Balog h-t) – Détári (Csucsánszky 81), Sass (Csehi 79), Gregor – Kiprich (c) (Fischer 53), Hajszán
An impressive first win under their new manager, with goals from Détári, E Kovács and Z Bognár. Debut for left-sided midfielder Csehi.

Qualifier 4
12.04.89. Hungary 1-1 Malta
Goal: Boda
Line-up (4-4-2): P Disztl – Kozma (Kiprich 74), L Disztl, Z Bognár, Keller – G Bognár, E Kovács, Détári (c), Sass (Fischer h-t) – Boda, Hajszán
It was obviously a huge disappointment to drop yet another point against the group minnows, and the Hungarian chances for qualifying now were hanging by the thread. They could even have lost after a second half display that could’ve been seen as too ambitious, disrupting the balance in the team. Despite this, they hit the bar through forward Boda in injury time

26.04.89. Italy 4-0 Hungary
Line-up (4-4-2): P Disztl – Kozma, L Disztl, Balog, Keller – Zsinka (Gregor 60), Z Bognár, Détári (c), Vincze (Hajszán 66) – Fodor (G Bognár 76), K Kovács
Against a more or less full strength Italy, a relatively intact Hungary went on to concede three second half goals. Hungary never stood a chance against an opponent too strong, too slick and too rampant. Only Détári could keep with the level of the home players

May 1989. Half-term report.

Qualifier 5
04.06.89. Republic of Ireland 2-0 Hungary
Line-up (5-4-1): P Disztl – Kozma, Z Bognár, L Disztl, Garaba, Keller – Mészáros (Vincze 72), Fitos, Détári (c), Csehi (G Bognár 67) – Boda
This was Hungary’s first ever defeat against the Irish, and it happened at a crucial time. The visitors were often boys against men, and the road to Italia ’90 now seems a long one. Hungary had no answer to the Irish long-ball tactics, and Cascarino inflicted all sorts of problems on their backline

Qualifier 6
06.09. Northern Ireland 1-2 Hungary
Goals: K Kovács, G Bognár
Hungary (4-4-2): P Disztl – Sallai, Keller, L Disztl, Limperger – E Kovács, G Bognár (Z Bognár 85), Détári (c), Sass – Fischer (Hajszán 90), K Kovács
The away side is generally outfought throughout most of the match, but still somehow manage to get a win. There is little to be excited about in terms of attacking play, and yet two individual performances mean they score two goals. N. Ireland deserved a lot more, and as so often before Hungary do not thrive when needing to get stuck in.

Qualifier 7
11.10.89. Hungary 2-2 Spain
Goals: Pintér 2
Line-up (4-4-2): P Disztl – Sallai, Z Bognár, Pintér, Keller (Boda 72) – G Bognár, Róth (Kozma h-t), Détári (c), Vincze – Kiprich, K Kovács

International friendly
25.10.89. Hungary 1-1 Greece
Goal: Szekeres
Hungary: P Disztl – Sallai, Keller, Limperger, Pintér – Kozma, Détári (c), E Kovács (Szekeres h-t), G Bognár – Fischer, K Kovács (Kiprich h-t (Boda 77))
Winger Szekeres got the Hungarian goal, with Limperger making his only second appearance at international level as centre half. Fischer starts again, and he seems to have an admirer in Bicskei.

Qualifier 8 
15.11.89. Spain 4-0 Hungary
Line-up (4-4-2): P Disztl – Simon, Pintér, Z Bognár, Keller – Kozma, E Kovács, G Bognár (c) (Szalma 90), Szekeres – Fischer (Bácsi 64), K Kovács
The heavy defeat was a miserable way to end the campaign, and they had been tactically inept, and with players underperforming. Indeed, Hungary had been fortunate not to lose by an even heavier margin, even if they could have scored themselves through substitute Bácsi, one of very few light points. Right back Simon was another.


On the merit of their performances, there is good reason too believe that Spain and the Republic of Ireland always were going to be stronger teams than Hungary in this qualification. Hungary can nevertheless feel aggravated that off-field incidents ruined a large part of their work. The domestic authorities’ investigation of several key players in the team resulted in temporary bans that made the job difficult to György Mezey. The disappointing draw in Malta not only damaged their chances severely, but limited the selection of Mezey’s successor for the six remaining fixtures.

Bertalan Bicskei took over the reins for Hungary, with 6 games remaining, but never really got the team going. A decent, if uninspirational, draw against Rep. of Ireland (h) was followed by another abysmal draw aginst Malta, this time at home in Budapest. With Eire growing in stature and beating Hungary 2-0 in Dublin, the Hungarians were in all but theory out of contention after 5 of 8 matches. Hungary were overall unimpressive: they were sluggish and sloppy in a style of play that looked far too ambitious for their calibre of players. They were also very narrow, relying much on Détári’s creative prowess. Both Détári and their other star player, Kiprich, had their moments, but they were too rare. Add to this that Bicskei didn’t appear to know which was his best XI, making the turnover of selected players one of the biggest among the European participants in these qualifiers.

While they looked defeated before the three final games, Hungary somehow managed to come back to save a microscopic element of excitement down to the final day. They won in Belfast due to individual brilliance, despite again being far from convincing, and even managed a draw against Spain at home. The hammering they received on the final day in Seville did however reveal the rotten state of the team.

2Rep. of Ireland852110212
4N. Ireland82156125

Player statistics

Number of players used: 35
Number of players including unused substitutes: 51
Ever-presents (720 mins): 1 (Péter Disztl)
Leading goalscorer: Vincze and Pintér (both 2)
Yellow/red cards: 6/0

– overview

Bácsi, Sándor1126
Balog, Tibor11190
Bánki, József11
Boda, Imre4222101(1)
Bognár, György75251211/0
Bognár, Zoltan651451
Bordás, Csaba1
Brockhauser, István1
Cseh, Andras1
Csehi, Tibor1167
Csucsanszky, Zoltan1190
Csuhay, József1190
Dajka, László1145
Détári, Lájos665401/0
Disztl, László55450
Disztl, Péter88720
Duró, József1
Fischer, Pál422216
Fitos, József11190
Garaba, Imre221801/0
Gaspar, József1
Gelei, Károly2
Gregor, József11178
Gulyás, István3
Gyimesi, László1
Hajszán, Gyula431267
Herédi, Attila1
Jován, Róbert1
Kardos, József1
Katzenbach, Imre1
Kekesi, Reszö1190
Keller, József661522
Kincses, Sándor1
Kiprich, József54113741(1)
Kovács, Ervin55450
Kovács, Kálmán332701
Kozma, István7615691/0
Limpeger, Zsolt11901/0
Mészáros, Ferenc22117
Mészöly, Geza1145
Nagy, Antal1190
Petry, Zsolt1
Pinter, Attila32118221/0
Róth, Antal1145
Sallai, Sandor33270
Sass, Janos44315
Schróth, Lajos1
Simon, Tibor1190
Szalma, József111
Szekeres, József1190
Vincze, István4221882

– game by game

PlayerNIR (h)Mal (a)Ire (a)Mal (h)Ire (h)NIR (a)Spa (h)Spa (a)AppsMins
Disztl, P90909090909090908720
Bognár, G904590238590895+2512
Disztl, L90909090905450
Kovács, E90909090905450
Balog, T90R190
Bognár, Z909090190905+1451
Kovács, K9090903270

– ratings

PosPlayerAverage ratingsNumber of rated games
2Bognár, G6,806
3Disztl, P6,758
5Disztl, L6,665
6Kovács, E6,645
9Bognár, Z6,465
Explanation to table: Number of rated games: 8. A player must have been given a rating in half or more of the games in order to be considered


20.03.1990 Hungary 2-0 United States
Goals: Petres, Limperger
Line-up: Brockhauser – Mónos, Pintér, Mészöly, Palaczky (Lakatos 69) – G Bognár (c) (T Balog 81), Limperger, Jován (Fischer h-t), Duró – Petres (Horváth 69), Máriási (Csucsánszky 81)

28.03.1990 Hungary 1-3 France
Goal: Pintér (pen.)
Line-up: Brockhauser – Mónos, Pintér, Mészöly, Palaczky – G Bognár (Duró 62), Limperger, Détári (c) (T Balog 79), Máriási – K Kovács (Jován 62), Petres (Fischer 52)

11.04.1990 Austria 3-0 Hungary
Line-up: Brockhauser – Mónos, Pintér, Mészöly, Palaczky (T Balog 64) – Jován, Limperger, G Bognár (c) (Lőrincz 85), Máriási – Duró (Márton 82), Petres (Katona 64)

28.05.1990 Hungary 3-0 United Arab Emirates (in Nîmes, France)
Goals: K Kovács 3
Line-up: Gelei – Mónos, Pintér, L Disztl, Varga – Mészáros (Fischer h-t), Garaba (c), G Bognár, Szalma – Kiprich (T Balog 57), K Kovács

02.06.1990 Hungary 3-1 Colombia
Goals: G Bognár, K Kovács 2
Line-up: Gáspár (Bodnár h-t) – Mónos (Mészöly h-t), Pintér, L Disztl, Szalma – Duró (Varga 69), G Bognár, Garaba (c) (Csik h-t), Máriási (Csucsánszky 77) – Kiprich (Fischer h-t), K Kovács

This Post Has One Comment

  1. simon

    17 May 1988 Hungary – Austria

    Hungary: Andrusch,Kozma,L Disztl,Keller,Esterhazy,Varga

    Austria: Konsel,Schottel,Stoger, Werner, Hasenhuttl

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