'Hungry' Magyars make Euro 2016 reservation

Tamas Priskin scoring the opener against Norway in the Groupama Arena. Hungary won the match 2-1 for a 3-1 aggregate result, which confirmed their place in the Euro 2016 Finals.
Tamas Priskin scoring the opener against Norway in the Groupama Arena. Hungary won the match 2-1 for a 3-1 aggregate result, which confirmed their place in the Euro 2016 Finals.PHOTO: REUTERS

Victory over Norway seals place in Finals and ends 30-year major championships drought

BUDAPEST • Hungary's 30-year wait to play on a major championship stage will end in France next year after their 2-1 victory over Norway ensured their qualification for the Euro 2016 Finals.

The triumph, which sealed their 3-1 aggregate play-off victory in front of an ecstatic crowd in the Groupama Arena, guaranteed the Magyars' first appearance in any championship Finals since the 1986 World Cup in Mexico.

"I'd like to congratulate my team. They played very well - not just tonight, but over the past few weeks, and the foundations for tonight were laid last Thursday," Hungary manager Bernd Storck said.

His side triumphed in three of their last four games, including Thursday's 1-0 victory at Norway.

The Hungarians built on their first-leg win in Oslo when Tamas Priskin curled in a delightful 14th-minute opener and Markus Henriksen's own goal on 83 minutes made the tie safe.

Henriksen atoned with a late goal but it was scant consolation for the Norwegians as the home side celebrated qualifying for the European Championship Finals for the first time since 1972.

WELL PLAYED

I'd like to congratulate my team. They played very well - not just tonight, but over the past few weeks, and the foundations for tonight were laid last Thursday.''

HUNGARY MANAGER BERND STORCK, on his side's good performances in recent weeks

FAIR AND SQUARE

Congratulations to Hungary, they were better than us over the two legs. I am deeply disappointed with our performance. We could not score in Oslo, that was a big setback. All in all, we came up short.''

NORWAY COACH PER-MATHIAS HOGMO, on the loss to Hungary

The toast of Budapest was Hungary's 39-year-old Gabor Kiraly, who made a series of superb saves over the two legs.

Ferencvaros' home ground erupted almost like never before when Priskin curled in a fabulous strike from 16 metres after a quick counter-attack to put Hungary ahead.

"I think it was the goal of my life," the scorer of 17 international goals in 54 appearances told Uefa.com.

"It was a very important goal for me. (Qualifying) is a big thing for me and my team-mates, it is very important for my country," he added.

Kiraly had to make a fine save from Haitam Aleesami's low shot in the 27th minute after a flowing passing move from the visitors.

Norway came even closer when Even Hovland's header from a corner hit the post in the 45th minute.

Balazs Dzsudzsak's deflected shot struck the crossbar in the 58th minute after a rare counter-attack by the hosts, who dropped deeper to keep their overall two-goal advantage intact.

Kiraly made another excellent save in the 76th minute when he parried Marcus Pedersen's close- range shot. The game was effectively sealed seven minutes from time when Dzsudzsak's corner was bundled under pressure into his own net by Henriksen.

The Alkmaar man then pulled one back for Norway in the 87th minute but it was a case of too little, too late.

"Congratulations to Hungary, they were better than us over the two legs," said Norway coach Per-Mathias Hogmo.

"I am deeply disappointed with our performance. We could not score in Oslo, that was a big setback. All in all, we came up short."

REUTERS

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 17, 2015, with the headline ''Hungry' Magyars make Euro 2016 reservation'. Print Edition | Subscribe