giovedì 24 marzo 2011

Euro 2012 Qualifying: Hungary v Holland Match Preview

What: Euro 2012 qualifying – Group E
Who: Hungary vs Holland
When: Friday 25th March, 2011, at 19:30 UK Time
Where: Stadium Ferenc Puskás, Budapest, Hungary

Working on a dream

With the appointment of the 2009 FIFA Under-20 World Cup bronze medal winner Sándor Egervári, the Hungarians have high hopes for the 2012 Euro qualifiers. Despite a poor start to their qualifying group – a 2-0 loss against Sweden – Hungary quickly rose to take second spot after three consecutive wins. Balázs Dzsudzsák’s late winner against Finland in Helsinki last October showed Hungary are a team solid enough to become serious contenders in Group E, with second, at the very least, within their grasp.

In 2010 there was a breath of fresh air within Hungarian football: A new FA chairman (Sándor Csányi), a new coach (Egervári) and new players brought from the country’s Under-21 team. “Egervári knows the Hungarian talents like nobody else”, said Dzsudzsák, “and he is the right man to develop a team that can take Hungary back to a major tournament’s final”. The coach has already written his name in the history of the Hungarian game, leading the country’s Under-20s to an impressive third place in the 2009 FIFA World Cup – the country’s best achievement since the 1954 FIFA World Cup final in Switzerland. This success has fed expectation within Hungary and sparked hopes of a revival or sorts.

PSV Eindhoven star Dzsudzsák has proven to be the talent many in Hungary were waiting for, yet there are others who can make their mark at international level. Captain Zoltan Gera’s experience will be vital in midfield, while up front striker Gergely Rudolf has found the back of the net in three of the last five games. Youngsters such as Adam Pinter and Vladimir Koman can play a part too. The only bad news for Egervari’s men is that top scorer Adam Szalai (four goals in the four qualifiers) is sidelined until the end of the season due to a ligament injury.

Clockwork Orange still marching on

Since Bert van Marwijk slipped into the Oranje dugout after Euro 2008, he has lost just two games as national team boss; one a meaningless friendly against Australia and the other the 2010 World Cup final against Spain – and that only in extra time. Holland’s Euro 2012 campaign has been perfect so far, with four wins out of four, 12 goals scored and just two conceded. And psychologically too Holland could have an advantage over their opponents with it being less than one year since Van Marwijk’s men thrashed Hungary 6-1 in a friendly. "We must forget that match", said Van Marwijk though. "For Hungary it was a simple end of season game, while for us it was the last test before the World Cup." The Holland boss might also have pointed out that Hungary had a different boss (Erwin Koeman) and a less than enthusiastic attitude.

Apart from established performers like Arjen Robben, Wesley Sneijder and Robin van Persie, who individually are once again on top of their games, Holland seem to be the right place for players who are keen to put on a show they are not given the chance to at their respective club sides. Regular bench-warmers Ibrahim Afellay (Barcelona), Urby Emanuelson (AC Milan) and those who have slipped from grace, Klaas-Jan Huntelaar (Schalke) and Eljero Elia (Hamburg) can once again become key players in an Oranje jersey. Indeed, Afellay was man of the match in the 4-1 wins against Sweden last October, while Huntelaar has scored eight goals in the four qualifiers Holland have played so far.

A big blow for Van Marwijk however has come in the form of an injury to goalkeeper Maarten Stekelenburg, who broke his thumb during a training session for club side Ajax. The coach moved swiftly to replace him with veteran stoppers Sander Boschker and Jelle Ten Rouwlaar, commenting that he preferred "to have experienced players within the group". However, in all probability Van Marwijk’s starting keeper will be Utrecht’s Michel Vorm, Stekelenburg’s understudy at the World Cup.

Recent form

Finland 1–2 Hungary (12/10; Euro 2012 Qualifying)
Hungary 2–0 Lithuania (17/11; Friendly)
Hungary 2–0 Azerbaijan (09/02; Friendly)

Holland 4–1 Sweden (12/10; Euro 2012 Qualifying)
Holland 1-0 Turkey (17/11; friendly)
Holland 3-1 Austria (09/02; Friendly)

Players to watch

Hungary – Balázs Dzsudzsák: Despite beginning his trek towards stardom with Debrecen, it is in Holland where Dzsudzsák has found fame and fortune. With PSV, the Hungarian has developed into one of the best wingers in the world, but now he must prove himself on the international stage against the country that has done so much to forge him. Dzsudzsák has already scored against Holland however, managing the consolation in Hungary’s 6-1 friendly drubbing. With three goals in his last four games, Dzsudzsák is surely Hungary’s most lethal weapon.

Holland – Wesley Sneijder: A week ago Sneijer was vital once again for Inter, starring in the victory against Bayern Munich in the Champions League, winning a personal contest against countryman Arjen Robben in the process. After an unimpressive start to the Serie A season, Sneijder is quickly rediscovering the top notch form he showed throughout an outstanding 2009/10 season. The Inter man has not scored yet in Holland’s Euro 2012 qualifying campaign – a bad sign for Hungary.

Match prediction

"Losing against Holland would not be a shame", said Dzsudzsák when questioned about the game. However, at home, in Budapest, it looks now or never for the Hungarians. This duel should show whether Hungary’s new-found maturity is enough to make their ambitions realistic. This should be a tough but hugely entertaining game, where the hosts will need to make few mistakes, otherwise Holland will grab another impressive win.

Fonte: Inside Futbol

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