Spain had too much pace on the counter for Hungary to deal with

1-0 (8) Manolo
2-0 (24) Butragueño
3-0 (41) Juanito
4-0 (64) Fernando


1990 World Cup Qualification
UEFA Group 6
Video: Full game
Wed. 15 November 1989
Kick-off: 3.00pm
Estadio Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán, Seville
Att.: 20,000
Ref.: Mr Gérard Biguet (FRA)
L 1: Joël Quiniou (FRA)
L 2: Jean-Claude Bourgeois (FRA)


Spain and Hungary both headed into their final qualification match knowing their respective fates: barring an Irish win by a landslide margin in Malta, the Spanish would win the group even with a shock home defeat, whereas Hungary had surrendered the second qualification berth to the Irish, whom they knew would not slip up in Malta, probably making a Hungarian win even less unlikelier than it already had been. 

2Rep. of Ireland74218210
4N. Ireland82156125

So there was perhaps a time to unwind slightly, testing out a couple of new players in the process. This appeared exactly what Luis Suárez had in mind, as he rested some of his more familiar faces in Andrinúa, Roberto and Vázquez. In their place came Real Zaragoza’s centre back Juanito, Roberto’s Barcelona midfield colleague Luis Milla, as well as Valencia’s elegant midfielder Fernando, all of whom were given their debuts. There was again space on the bench for Tomás Reñones, who had not appeared at all during the qualifiers. The Atlético Madrid right back had been a regular during the latter part Miguel Muñoz’ tenure as Spanish national team boss, but he had been looking completely out of favour with Suárez. Despite Quique’s absence, however, the manager kept faith in Real Madrid’s Chendo, who was now making his second consecutive appearance, his third in the qualifiers over all. Zubizarreta, Jiménez and Míchel would all be starting for the eighth successive time in the ’90 qualifiers, all looking to complete the maximum number of minutes for their country.

Bertalan Bicskei and his team had salvaged some pride with their 2-2 draw at home to the Spanish, even if they could not force the winning goal which would take their quest for Italia ’90 right into the last round of qualifiers. Right back Sallai, midfield playmaker Détári and forward Kiprich, who had injured himself during Feyenoord’s 2-0 home defeat by Den Haag two weeks earlier, were the most notable absentees, whereas goalkeeper Péter Disztl would start yet again, making him the only Hungarian player selected for every one of their eight qualifiers. Two players who had yet to appear so far were set to start, with Ferencváros’ right back Simon slotting in for Sallai, whilst Tatabánya’s wide man Szekeres was given the nod on the left hand side of midfield. Neither of the five substitutes had yet made an appearance during the qualification stage, so it seemed quite clear that Bicskei wanted to try out new players, possibly with the next qualification, the one for Sweden ’92, in mind.

It was only five weeks since their last meeting, but Hungary had still had time to play a friendly in the mean time: Three weeks earlier they had been held to a 1-1 draw by a tinkered Greece at home. Eight of the starters tonight had taken to the Népstadion pitch against the Greeks, with Sallai, Limperger and Détári the three players replaced. Centre back Pintér had, with his two goals against Spain in Budapest, all of a sudden established himself as an obvious choice in defence, where he would be joined by Zoltán Bognár, who appeared to be something of a Bicskei favourite. Keller was likewise at left back, making his fifth straight qualifiers start. In the absence of Détári, second playmaker György Bognár would take the captain’s armband, making his fifth start of the campaign. Could this add further inspiration to his performance?

Spain had yet to concede at home, having racked up ten goals in their three previous matches on their own soil. Despite the fact that they had already gone through, they were clear favourites to win and cement their spot at the top of the group 6 table. All their four home ties took place in Seville, with two each in Sevilla’s and Real Betis’ grounds. For this their final match, there had been a rather tepid interest among the locals, with only about 20 000 turning out in a sparsely populated Ramón Sánchez Pizjuán stadium.

In charge of affairs would be 43 year old Frenchman Gérard Biguet, making his third appearance during the ’90 qualifiers. Monsieur Biguet was infamously known for dishing out bookings and even sendings-off at a higher rate than most of his contemporary refereeing colleagues, and at times perhaps demonstrating an inapproachable expression. Joël Quiniou, the brilliant, world leading referee, would interestingly be seen down one of the lines.

Spain (4-4-2)

1 Andoni Zubizarreta28Barcelona
2 Miguel Chendo28Real Madrid
3 Manuel Jiménez25Sevilla
4 Juanito24Real Zaragoza
5 Manuel Sanchís24Real Madrid
6 Luis Milla23Barcelona
7 Manolosub 66′24Atlético Madrid
8 Míchelsub 66′26Real Madrid
9 Emilio Butragueño (c)26Real Madrid
10 Fernando24Valencia
11 Villarroya23Real Zaragoza

12 Genar Andrinúa25Athletic Bilbao
13 José Manuel Ochotorena28Valencia
14 Tomás Reñones29Atlético Madrid
15 Eusebioon 66′25Barcelona
16 Julio Salinason 66′27Barcelona
Manager: Luis Suárez

Hungary (4-4-2)

1 Péter Disztl29Honvéd
2 Tibor Simon24Ferencváros
3 Attila Pintér 39′23Ferencváros
4 József Keller24Ferencváros
5 Ervin Kovács22Újpest Dózsa
6 Zoltán Bognár24Szombathely
7 György Bognár (c)sub 90′28Toulon
8 Kálmán Kovács24Auxerre
9 Pál Fischersub 64′23Ajax
10 József Sekeres25Tatabánya
11 István Kozma24Dunfermline

12 József Szalmaon 90′23Tatabánya
13 Sándor Bácsion 64′19Újpest Dózsa
14 József Bánki27Ferencváros
15 Lajos Schróth29Cádiz
16 István Brockhauser25Újpest Dózsa
Manager: Bertalan Bicskei

Tactical line-ups

Both teams were in 4-4-2. For the home side, they were using both their full-backs in complementing attacking capacities, and at centre half, both Sanchís and Juanito were also both willing to step across the halfway line, albeit not at the same time. Milla had the holding midfield role, with Fernando granted access to join in attack if need be. Míchel on the right hand side was not your typical wide midfielder. He often sought inside, from where he could thread a pass forward to one of the two very willing centre forwards, both of whom were full of running and very difficult for the visiting defence to mark. On the left hand side, Villarroya was in general content with keeping width, although he would rarely try to get to the byline, at times struggling with a decent opponent in full-back Simon. Both Butragueño and Manolo are good at making runs off the ball, and time and again the Spanish midfield, and in particular Míchel, would search either out with precise passes. Hungary were often stood high with their backline, and without enough insurance in midfield pressing, the space their defence left behind would time and again be exploited by quick Spanish counters. They adjusted a bit at half time, did the visitors, and this left the Spaniards with more possession than had been the case before the break, when the hosts would often rely on quick counter attacks.

Hungary’s version of 4-4-2 was with Pintér as the free man at the back, with Z Bognár just ahead of him, not looking after a particular forward. Simon at right back had a conservative approach, and he prefered to remain inside his own half. With Keller it was the opposite, as he is more adapt going forward than he is defending his ground. Spain would often attack down the right hand side, as this is where the visitors left so much space for the home team to exploit. Keller was not totally sound defensively, and Szekeres did not make a great effort in trying to support him either. This exposure left a lot of ground to cover for Ervin Kovács, who was performing as the sitting midfielder for the Hungarians. Just ahead of him there was G Bognár, who set out to be the creative party in the visiting midfield. Such duties should not go to Kozma on the right hand side, who is much more a grafter than someone who can take a man on or thread a pass through to a forward. Szekeres? Kept his position well, and was very much dependent of his left foot. However, there did not appear to be enough quality there for him to be a threat to the Spanish. Up front K Kovács would be the most forward player, with Fischer often seeking more wide right areas, and so possibly at times confusing Kozma, who may have thought this was ground that he was supposed to cover.

The home side brought on the maximum number of two substitutes: Julio Salinas replaced Manolo, thus giving Spain a bit of a different option up front. However, at this point the scoreline was already 4-0, and it would appear that a quick type of forward, which indeed Manolo who went off was, would be a more suitable option against a beleaguered Hungarian defence which kept conceding space into which the home strikers could run into. As it were, Salinas did well, and came close to scoring with a trademark header. Midfielder Eusebio was brought on simultaneously with Salinas, and replaced Míchel in the right hand side role. Whereas the Real Madrid ace is a creative soul, the Barça man is of a more defensive nature. He, too, would however come in field, much like Míchel had been doing during his time on the pitch. Eusebio’s contributions in more central areas were not as spectacular though, and he was content with trying to break up the visitors’ play, which by now was far from the most difficult task.

Hungary brought on both substitutes as well, although the latter of the two only came on right before the referee blew for full time: Szalma only had time to take G Bognár’s captain’s armband but not distribute it onwards for goalkeeper P Disztl before the final whistle. Forward Bácsi, however, was given a 26 minute long cameo, and he had no less than three opportunities which all could so easily have yielded a goal. The improvement from the hapless Fischer had been quite remarkable.

Match Report

First half:
Well aware of the fact that they need to win, and win heavily, in order to qualify for Italia ’90, Bicskei has instructed his players to have a right go at the home side. They line up in a more or less classic 4-4-2, where the midfield formation is carrying a somewhat diamondish shape: Ervin Kovács, with his long, spider-like legs, is again patrolling the rear area of the visitors’ central midfield, while György Bognár, so often an intelligent playmaker with a silky right foot, is in a more advanced capacity. Out wide there’s Kozma to the right, with all his power and strong running, whilst newcomer Szekeres on the opposite side shows some sweet touches with his left foot. However, the formation will soon prove its vulnerability, as the Hungarians often show reluctance in their pressing of opponents. Despite being able to push Spain back in the first few exchanges, the hosts have already shown that there is space to exploit in between Hungary’s midfield and defence, and even behind the full-backs, where in particular Keller on the left is leaving room behind him. More often than not it is Chendo seen exploiting the space that Keller opens up, and not so much Míchel, who mainly sticks to the right hand side, but who also drifts inside when he sees fit. Even the two Spanish forwards try to take advantage of the area of green lung left open by Keller. It must also be said that Szekeres’ defensive contributions leave a lot to be desired, so all blame should not fall solely on József Keller.

The three Spanish debutants have been brought into confident surroundings. Yes, the Spanish had shown that there are weaknesses even in Luis Suárez’ side over their past two qualification ties, both away to Ireland and in Budapest last time around, so a muscular approach, if they had one in their locker, could perhaps have been expected from the Hungarians. However, after the visitors’ early running has worn off, it is the home side which go in front when Kozma tries to redeem an error he had made by losing the ball inside his own half, but in doing so only makes matters worse: His stray pass, meant for sweeper Pintér, is picked up by the alert Manolo, who manages to escape Pintér’s tackle and proceed to lob it over Péter Disztl, who desperately tries to recover back towards his goal. It is a difficult chip from an angle inside the area, but the agile Atlético Madrid forward executes it to perfection. The early Spanish goal is a big blow to the Hungarians, if they ever thought pre-match that they would stand a chance of creating a miracle.

Juanito has replaced Andrinúa as Sanchís’ defensive partner, and he seems assured from kick-off. He has a bit of a swagger about him, and looks very confident, not giving Kálmán Kovács an inch. Less quiet than the man he has replaced at the heart of the Spanish defence, he does not mind carrying the ball forward, albeit he hardly ventures across the halfway line, clearly instructed not to do so by his manager. That task is still left for Sanchís to attend to, but even he prefers to remain defensively focused. Míchel has been shifted out to the right hand side of midfield, the role which he predominantly occupies when he is in action for his Real Madrid club team. Fernando and Milla perform central duties, and after a slightly nervy start, they are both coming increasingly more into the tie. Milla settles into a defensive midfield role, where he protects his defenders, whilst Fernando has greater attacking responsibilities, both in making deep runs into the opposition’s penalty area and also in supporting the two widemen. With Chendo now firmly back in the national team picture, it does appear that both Quique Flores and, in particular, Eusebio Sacristán have a lot of work to do in order to regain the trust of señor Suárez. At left back, Jiménez appears to have little competition, and yet again he performs admirably, keeping quiet the energetic Kozma. Hungary do have a tendency to attack down the flanks, and Fischer seems to be drawn out into the right hand channel time and again. Had his cooperative work with Kozma been better and perhaps more rehearsed, they could have hurt the Spanish from this side. Jiménez, though, is a very capable full-back when it comes to defending his territory. He does not leave space behind and he knows how to execute a tackle. He sure is one of the better Spanish finds during these last 15 months or so.

With no Détári in the side, a lot of the creative work falls to the feet of the often productive György Bognár. This time around he seems a bit out of sorts. Early on he looks alright, but there could be a mental hatch about his play once Hungary fall behind. He tends to carry the ball too much, and is usually outmuscled by tenacious home players. Had he instead searched for space into which to thread passes for K Kovács, his afternoon might have turned out differently. As a result, the Hungary captain and Kálmán Kovács are both inefficient, although the latter does show a brief moment of quality when he hits a half-volley straight into the arms of Zubizarreta from an angle.

Hungary do keep possession, but they are often wasteful. Spain, on the other hand, are deadly effective, something which will more or less secure them the twin points on 24 minutes, when Manolo gets free on the right hand side and crosses for Butragueño, whose header is calmly placed just inside the right hand post, no proper challenge from any of the Hungarian defenders. The away players’ heads drop further, and Fernando looks to have made it 3-0 when he heads home a cross from Jiménez shortly after, only for the referee to award a free-kick to Hungary, possibly for a push on Pintér in the Valencia player’s challenge, or possibly for offside. Two Magyars also reach their hands out for the ball on two different occasions: Fischer is only reprimanded by monsieur Biguet when he does so inside the Spanish half, but when Pintér stops the ball just outside of his own penalty area, the referee has no option but to produce the game’s first yellow. The punishment is double for the Hungarian hero from the home leg against the Spaniards, as Juanito is allowed to take the resulting free-kick, which he slots low into the right hand corner, just to the side of the wall and with Disztl probably expecting Míchel to hit it over the wall, meaning he had shifted his weight onto the other leg, unable to move in the ball’s direction.

Villarroya is making his first home appearance of the qualifiers in the Spanish side, and though he is industrious, his left wing work does not yield a lot of end product. He is capable of hitting the ball well with both feet, but shows in taking left hand corners that he prefers to strike it with his right foot. He is not unsimilar to Begiristain, perhaps a tad less gifted. He is up against Ferencváros full-back Simon, who probably has the least inferior game out of the four who make up the visitors’ backline. When the referee whistles for half time, it is all smiles down at the Spanish bench, where Luis Suárez is often seen cigarette in hand.

Second half:
The match is over as a contest before the second half is introduced, with Manolo and Butragueño kicking it back into life. There was little in the Hungarians’ play after falling behind that suggested they were up for the fight, so should Spain wish, the score could get nasty for the visitors. Whereas Hungary saw a lot of the ball during the first half, though with little punch or penetration, Spain stroke it between themselves early in the second period. With Ireland ahead in Malta, the group is about to conclude in a way which perhaps could have been anticipated beforehand.

Hungary are still not too eager to pressurize the opposing players, again inviting Spain to knock it in behind their backline, which they do time and again, the only problem being that their precision is not very impressive, and there’s a good few offside calls against them. Again it is down the right hand side that Spain cause most of the problems, and although he is not having his best ever performance in a national team shirt, Míchel is still a threat, like when he is close to extending the lead: Only a parry with his feet from Disztl prevents the Spanish wide man’s low shot from going in on the near post.

Keller has not looked out of place earlier in the qualifiers, but he is given a torrid time by the Spaniards, whose eagerness to attack down the right hand side is too much for him to deal with. Oddly, they have not tinkered with their tactics during the half time break, offering support for the overworked full-back. Szekeres continues to remain higher up in the pitch, hardly assisting his colleague on the left hand side of the pitch, and Ervin Kovács might be covering a lot of ground, but it is too much to ask from him that he will constantly help out in this area of the pitch, when his main assignment is to try and sweep behind his increasingly disillusioned captain. Another proof of György Bognár’s lacklustre performance is when he tries to carry the ball from almost by his own goalline, not paying attention to the incoming el Buitre, whose persistence in pecking around Bognár’s feet will pay off as he wins the ball and feeds it to the onrushing Fernando, who eventually slots it home under Disztl for number four. It is a disastrous goal to give away, isolatedly speaking, but in Hungary’s current situation it doesn’t matter too much, even if it should be a wake-up call for their skipper. The Spanish spectators reply by performing the Mexican wave, and they are in proper festival mood by now, even if their participation in the upcoming World Cup seemed a foregone conclusion a while ago.

Hungary had intended to make a substitution just before Spain scored their fourth: Fischer, who again did not have a particularly fruitful game, was to be taken off for Sándor Bácsi, who would be making his debut under the Hungarian tricolor (albeit they were playing in all white in Seville). The switch happened right after the goal, and Bácsi took over Fischer’s duties as Kálmán Kovács’ forward partner. In fact, he would end up being the most dangerous of the visitors’ players, coming close to scoring on no less than three occasions: First he’ll chip the ball goalwards from a decent position inside the penalty area, with the ball ending up a couple of yards wide of Zubizarreta’s right hand post, and next he would fire a low shot which forced the Barça ‘keeper into making a save low down. Bácsi’s final effort was a header from point blank range after a left hand cross from Szekeres, to which Zubizarreta replies with a phenomenal left-handed save. It was a very good effort from the Újpest Dózsa forward, and on another day or against another goalkeeper, the ball could so easily have found its way in.

Súarez, officially still a smoker even after the half-time break, took off Manolo and Míchel for Julio Salinas and Eusebio respectively. It is correct that the latter has been used more as cover for the right hand side midfield position than as a possible right back replacement, and this will again be his role for the final quarter of the game. Salinas, very much a different kind of player to the Atlético Madrid forward whom he had replaced, would also slot into his predecessor’s role. Perhaps it seemed a strange thing to bring him on, as a quicker pair of feet might have caused greater problems to the not so agile or alert Hungarian backline? As it were, the Barcelona front man was the only striker on the bench. And it was not like Spain were in desperate need of more goals. And he was indeed close to scoring the home side’s fifth when another misplaced pass from Bognár inside his own area fell to Villarroya, whose cross found Salinas’ head, but his header went just wide of target.

Right at the death Hungary captain Bognár again cuts a folorn figure as he is replaced by Tatabánya’s József Szalma, coming on for his second cap. There’s not even enough time for Szalma to distribute Bognár’s captain’s armband to the recipient, as the referee blows for full time 20 seconds after the substitution. But who would have taken over those responsibilities if the match had continued for longer? Goalkeeper Disztl would’ve seemed to be the obvious candidate, having already held the armband earlier in the qualifiers. Not that it mattered. The match was over, and so too were Spain and Hungary’s respective qualification campaigns.

Hungary, nor anyone else, never believed that they would reach the World Cup after their penultimate game, where they had dropped a point against Spain in Budapest. However, their real undoing was when they could only draw against Malta. Twice. In Spain, they were a gulf in class behind the hosts, who ran out very comfortable winners, often sitting deep and hitting Hungary on the counter, a tactic which served them very well against an often indisciplined opponent. The three first half goals brought the crowd to their feet, but with the stadium less than half full, the surroundings had tried to do their best in creating a rather slow, mundane atmosphere. At times the game was played at a low pace, but Spain would now and then explode when going forward, and their pace and decisive running was far too much for beleaguered Hungarians to cope with. This was Spain’s third 4-0 home win out of four qualifiers on home soil, and once again Seville had proved to be a very beneficial backdrop for them.


1 Zubizarreta 7.2
does not have a lot to do, but has two really good stops from Hungarian sub Bácsi.
2 Chendo 7.2
a very fine game where he is in control of his opponent and also has a few pleasant moments within the visitors’ half.
3 Jiménez 7.0
deals well with Kozma, but is not as willing to stroll forward as has previously been seen.
4 Juanito 7.3
caps his solid debut with a well-taken set-piece goal. Confident. Wins headers and distributes well. Andrinúa needs to be alert to keep the Zaragoza defender behind him in the pecking order.
5 Sanchís 6.9
a luxury for Spain to have him look the least impressive in their backline. Solid in the air as always.
6 Milla 6.8
it took him a while to settle, but once he had done so he was rather confident. Took a couple of knocks, had a wayward shot, but kept things steady in central midfield.
7 Manolo 7.1
such a livewire, and executed the chip for his goal so well. Drifts out at times, but when he’s focused he is a threat with his direct running.
(16 Salinas –
does get himself into a couple of good positions for his favoured headed attempts, but appears to be a bit too static for a starting berth in such a role.)
8 Míchel 6.9
more quiet than usual, but he was playing out wide, so it could be expected. Did move inside on a few occasions, and showed his capability in spreading passes.
(15 Eusebio –
slots into the wide right position, and is obviously a lot less creative than the man he succeeded. At the time of him coming on, the game has already dropped in pace and intensity.)
9 Butragueño 7.4
good hold-up play, links well with Manolo, and scores with a perfectly placed header. Has a fine assist for Fernando’s goal, when he’s taken the ball off G Bognár.
10 Fernando 7.1
he can be satisfied with his Spain debut, does a lot of running off the ball and interprets this midfield role in his own way. In addition to scoring, he could have had another as well.
11 Villarroya 6.6
the least effective Spaniard out there, not getting into a lot of crossing positions, which will have been expected from him. Does however contribute to defending when necessary.

1 Disztl 6.6
could do little to prevent the goals, but did not appear to be over-confident behind such a transparent backline.
2 Simon 6.9
clearly the better of the defenders, kept Villarroya quiet, showed awareness in confrontations.
3 Pintér 5.9
was supposed to sweep but did not live up to the demands of his task. Gives away a stupid free-kick for 3-0 when he stops the ball with his hand just outside the area.
4 Keller 5.6
oh dear. Had done well in earlier qualification matches, but his positional sense resembled that of a drunken seaman.
5 E Kovács 6.1
has a lot of space to cover as his midfield compatriots seem uninterested in assisting him. Promising start, but his morale drops as goals begin to go in.
6 Z Bognár 6.0
suffered from poor support from the visiting midfield, and was left exposed time and again like several of his defensive colleagues.
7 G Bognár 6.3
seemed quite lively in the opening exchanges, but did not lead by example once Spain had exerted their superiority on proceedings. So sloppy when losing the ball to Butragueño leading up to the fourth goal, and in general displaying negative body language.
(12 Szalma –
barely has time to run onto the pitch before the sound of the final whistle.)
8 K Kovács 6.6
leads an isolated life, but tries to work his way into good positions, and does have a decent attempt at goal during the first half.
9 Fischer 5.8
right winger or forward? Even the player himself seemed confused as to what his role was. Which was centre forward, as Kozma was on the flank. Gave away a couple of needless free-kicks and contributed with little. Understandably taken off.
(13 Bácsi –
gets himself into good positions, probably should have had two goals, but for excellent keeping by Zubizarreta. On this display he is a player to look out for in the future.)
10 Szekeres 6.2
gave no defensive support, but at least he tried to use his mind for creativity. Hit a couple of decent corners, but was in general light weight.
11 Kozma 6.3
a disappointing performance from someone supposed to be an influental member of the team. Inferior to Jiménez throughout, but perhaps suffered a little from lack of support from his full-back, who was solely focused on defensive duties.