Hungarian attitude toward losing: The Romanian-Hungarian football game

No, just to clarify the title of this post, the Hungarians didn’t really lose (they tied), but since they were so convinced that they would win, they considered the game a loss–and an unfair one at that.

As you all know by now, I don’t care about football and know next to nothing about it. Therefore today’s post is not going to be about the fine points of the match between the Romanian and the Hungarian national teams last night. This was the game that had to be played within closed gates as a punishment by the Fédération Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) for the Hungarian Football Association’s inability to discipline the unruly Hungarian fans whose favorite occupation is chanting antisemitic and in general racist epithets. This behavior is nothing new, but the Hungarian Football Association has never even tried to control the situation. Finally FIFA’s patience ran out. The occasion was a “friendly” meet between the Hungarian and the Israeli teams last August. I detailed the event and in the post embedded a video taken on the scene. In January of this year FIFA fined the Hungarian Football Association 35,000 euros and ordered a closed-gate game between Romania and Hungary. The Hungarians appealed and were turned down. They even attempted to have the case tried in a court that adjudicates controversies within the world of sports, but they were also turned down there.

So, the match took place in an empty stadium and the final score was 2:2. A great disappointment for the Hungarians because they were certain that they would win over the Romanians, whom they considered to be a weak team. I don’t know where this optimism came from because in the last thirty-two years the Hungarians were unable to win a single game against the Romanian national team. But as I said, I’m no expert; I know next to nothing about the strengths and weaknesses of these teams. What I would like to talk about here is the attitude of Hungarian commentators to the tie. I think it may explain a few things about the Hungarian psyche.

The Romanian-Hungarian football game, March 22, 2013In the background the empty seat / nb1.hu / photo Tam'as Sóki

Note the empty seats in the background / nb1.hu, photo Tamás Sikó

I should mention a few facts about the game itself. If I understand it correctly, there were two penalty kicks, one from the Romanian and the other from the Hungarian side. The match went into overtime, and the final Romanian goal was kicked in the ninety-second minute of the game.

Here are some comments from Hungarian sports journalists and the players themselves.

One of the first detailed analyses appeared a few minutes after the match was over. The title is telling: “It was in the ninety-second minute that the Romanians stole two points.”  A few minutes later: “We were unlucky: Instead of victory it is a tie against Romania.” The article itself reports that the Hungarian team played very well, but the Romanians “with fantastic luck in overtime managed to tie the game. It was a fluke!” So, the Hungarians were excellent, the Romanians were incredibly lucky, and the last goal was a fluke.

One of the players, Vilmos Vanczák, who actually scored the first goal, told the journalist of Nemzeti Sport that “we were very close to victory but unfortunately that little plus is still  missing in becoming a really great team.”  He belittled the opponents. He claimed that “we dominated the game all along. The two goals scored against us were the result of inattention. We led all through, but at the end victory slipped from our hands….. I expected a much better Romanian team…. At the next game in Romania we have a chance.” So, they were much better than their opponents but victory somehow eluded them.

The goalie, Gábor Kiráy, blamed the lack of an audience and the chanting of the fans in the stadium. “If we had had an audience, they would have helped us over the tipping point.” Coach Sándor Egervári said: “We lost two points after a game that had been won.” In my opinion, one either wins a game or doesn’t. You can’t have it both ways. Király admitted that he didn’t even see the ball when Alexandru Chipcio scored the final goal of the game. Yet he tried to find excuses: it was windy and the ground was wet. Mind you, the opponents played under exactly the same conditions.

By this afternoon some of the Hungarian players came to the conclusion that neither Romanian goal was legit. Both had been preceded by misconduct. So, the Hungarian team should have won 2:0. Molcsapat.hu intimated that the referee was partial to the Romanians. The journalist talked about the “friendly disposition” of the German Wolfgang Stark that allowed the two Romanian goals.

The Romanians seem to be more generous toward their opponents. Adrian Mutu, who kicked the Romanian penalty goal, was very satisfied. “We must be satisfied with the results because we played against a very good team. … It will be difficult to win against the Hungarians in Bucharest.” HVG wrote that, according to Romanian sports reports, the Romanian national team was very lucky not to lose to the Hungarians. Romanian sports journalists, in fact, sharply criticized Coach Victor Piturca. Gazeta Sporturilor called the last goal “miraculous.”

Perhaps the Romanians were simply lucky, perhaps objectively the Hungarians were the better team. But, on the day, the Hungarians couldn’t pull it off. And that, in sports, is all that counts. That and, oh yes, sportsmanship.

The Hungarians will be going to Istanbul to play against the Turkish national team that just won against Andorra. The general Hungarian attitude toward this game is optimistic. Nemzeti Sport claims that “for the Turks Hungarians will pose the real challenge.” It will be during this game that the true strength of the Turkish team will be tested. On the website readers can vote on what they think the outcome of the game will be. Over 50% of those who voted are certain that the Hungarians will win. And here we go again.

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Paul
Guest
Well, as the only self-confessed football fan on HS, I guess it falls to me to post the first comment! Éva – the post-match comments you quote above are absolutely typical of those following any game, especially one involving penalties or last-minute goals (ask any fan of a team who has just played Manchester United!). You may be right in what you say about the Hungarian sports media, etc, but no football fan reading this would draw the same conclusions. Their most likely response would be to yawn and say “here we go again…” And games ‘behind closed doors’ are generally disliked by players because of the absence of fans and atmosphere of a normal game. It is difficult for the players to get as motivated and to stay as focussed as they would if playing in front of a crowd, it feels more like a practice game. As for the Hungarian’s expectations, this is actually quite realistic, as the national side has been steadily improving over the last few years and was on the verge of qualifying for the last international tournament. If things continue in this way, I would to expect Hungary to qualify for either the World… Read more »
Member
I am proud to say that I know a thing or two about soccer. For that matter I did attend hundreds of games as a child with my father who is a great fan of soccer himself. I did attend whole lot more with some of my friends from high school later on. We did go to almost all the International games in the Stadion. Even at that time there were football hooligans, although it is not even close to what is out there now. As I recall it was mainly the Fradi group that stirred up most of the problem, but the zsidozas was uncommon. I seen MTK, Vasas, Fradi, Dozsa games (I had a diverse group of friends) but we stayed out of trouble, and it was only a small group at the time who dared to insult others so openly, so viciously. Hungary deserved to play the game without its fan club, and what happened outside the gates while the game was going on made this even more important. THe same crowd that Fidesz called upon to protect their headquarters from the “unruly” university students a week ago, this time only went as far as chanting Dirty… Read more »
Paul
Guest

“How can anyone, any soccer player, any sport supporter want to see or hear these animals?”

None of us ‘soccer’ fans do. This has nothing to do with football, they just use the game as a rallying point and an excuse.

In England we had a terrible ‘football hooligan’ problem in the 70s and 80s, but over the last two decades we have managed to reduce it to almost nothing. So where did all those ‘football fans’ who caused all the trouble go? Did the attendance at games go down now so many ‘fans’ could no longer enjoy themselves? Strangely, no, attendance at games increased year on year once the violence was forced out. It turned out that those ‘football’ hooligans were just hooligans, after all, not the least interested in football.

Csaba K. Zoltani
Guest

The tolerance of the authorities of the behavior of the fans at the H-I game was inexcusable. Unfortunately questionable expressions of vox populi is widespread in and outside of Europe. As the NYT reported o March 23, 2012 and the article in FP blog. blog.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/03/23/tk wrote:

“Yellow- and black-clad Beitar fans are notorious for their hatred toward Arabs. They frequently chant “Death to Arabs” during matches, and last year fans recorded themselves teaching racist chants to their children. The suspect in a recent price tag attack claimed that “he vandalized the school to avenge the Beitar Jerusalem soccer team’s loss to two Arab teams two weeks ago.” The team, which used to be sponsored by Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party, has been described as “magnet for right-wing extremists” and criticized for not hiring Arab players.”

But then this is a problem they have to deal with. Draw your own conclusion.

Paul
Guest

My conclusion is that you appear to be trying to twist Éva’s article round to some anti-Semitic agenda of your own.

But, in the process, I fear I may have slipped into some weird parallel universe where nothing makes sense.

Least of all your posts.

Member

Csaba K. Zoltani :
But then this is a problem they have to deal with. Draw your own conclusion.

The Hungarian hooligans are anti-Semites, the Jewish hooligans are anti-Arab, the Tutsi hooligans are anti-Hutu … and I hate dentists immensely.

Zoltani! Can you please, just once, surprise us with something that at least remotely resembles to an opinion? Pretty please?

An
Guest

Mutt, are you an anti-dentite? 🙂

gdfxx
Guest

Csaba K. Zoltani :
The tolerance of the authorities of the behavior of the fans at the H-I game was inexcusable. Unfortunately questionable expressions of vox populi is widespread in and outside of Europe. As the NYT reported o March 23, 2012 and the article in FP blog. blog.foreignpolicy.com/posts/2012/03/23/tk wrote:
“Yellow- and black-clad Beitar fans are notorious for their hatred toward Arabs. They frequently chant “Death to Arabs” during matches, and last year fans recorded themselves teaching racist chants to their children. The suspect in a recent price tag attack claimed that “he vandalized the school to avenge the Beitar Jerusalem soccer team’s loss to two Arab teams two weeks ago.” The team, which used to be sponsored by Benjamin Netanyahu’s Likud Party, has been described as “magnet for right-wing extremists” and criticized for not hiring Arab players.”
But then this is a problem they have to deal with. Draw your own conclusion.

I suggest you post this on a blog that deals with Israel. Maybe you didn’t realize, but this blog deals with Hungary. It’s called Hungarian Spectrum, not Israeli Spectrum.

Ockham
Guest

Paul does have a point, because the comments are really typical of any match wher point have been lost in tha very last minute, and the Hungarian team really played somewhat better than the Romanians most of the time, although I think the improvement of the Hungarian national team is the result of several years of development, and most of the really good players have been playing in soccer leagues that are way ahead of the Hungarian one. One really should draw a distinction between regular soccer fans and so called ‘ultras’, who basically fall into the category of football hooligans.

Guest

Győr Calling!

An!!!!

He’s an irre-dentist!

Very clever An!

(He’s shown ante-dentist behaviour on here before!)

Regards

Charlie

John Takacs
Guest

The comments of the players and the manager are no different from the average that you’d expect post match. The stupid allusions come from the journalists or “commentators” afterwards, who want to take this beyond a game of football.

Good to see that Eva has used the term football rather than soccer :-). You just need to ditch the “overtime” and “tied” references now, in favour of injury time (or added minutes) and a score draw or non score draw. Then you can say “job done”.

Guest

Győr Calling!

I think some are missing the point.

The raison d’être of Eva’s analysis is explained in her sentence: “I think it may explain a few things about the Hungarian psyche.”

And it does. It’s an allegory – Hungarians show little regard or respect for Romanians, except for their ‘Little Hungarians’ the other side of the border – who don’t even want to live in Hungary.

And of course it’s at national level too – with the Nyiro farce.

The Romanians are much more sporting.

And btw Eva – I loved those ‘mis-writes’ – ‘overtime’ and ‘tie’!

Better than ‘crates space’; ‘intresting game’; ‘boydun well’; ‘won no silverware’;’hit the woodwork’; and all the other technical jargon football fans like to use!

Wonderful – really gets up their noses!!

Regards

Charlie

John Takacs
Guest

Eva,
My comments were intended to be very much tongue in cheek 🙂
And of course if the Americans/Canadians etc. hadn’t messed up English over the years, there wouldn’t be a problem! 🙂

Member
Paul : “How can anyone, any soccer player, any sport supporter want to see or hear these animals?” None of us ‘soccer’ fans do. This has nothing to do with football, they just use the game as a rallying point and an excuse. In England we had a terrible ‘football hooligan’ problem in the 70s and 80s, but over the last two decades we have managed to reduce it to almost nothing. So where did all those ‘football fans’ who caused all the trouble go? Did the attendance at games go down now so many ‘fans’ could no longer enjoy themselves? Strangely, no, attendance at games increased year on year once the violence was forced out. It turned out that those ‘football’ hooligans were just hooligans, after all, not the least interested in football. Paul, My point was (as you missed it) a response to this: “The goalie, Gábor Kiráy, blamed the lack of an audience and the chanting of the fans in the stadium. “If we had had an audience, they would have helped us over the tipping point.” The Hungarian soccer fans (not all) blames the injustice committed against item by not allowing their their fans in the… Read more »
Member

OT: CharlieH, You never watch Seinfeld?

Member

Csaba K. Zoltani: I think you have to start over reading the article and the previous reference Eva linked. Yes, there are other instances of bad behaviour related to sport everywhere. Bu everywhere else the behaviour is punished too, the society is disgusted by it, and the sport clubs try to dissociate themselves form such behaviour. Not in your book, and not in Hungary. If you do not see a problem with what is going on, if you do not see the problem with the hooliganism in Hungary, well you either one of them or you should have them over in your house for dinner.

Guest

Győr Calling!

Thanks Some1 very funny. (Never watched it!)

Makes An’s rejoinder even funnier!

Regards

Charlie

An
Guest

CharlieH :
Győr Calling!
Thanks Some1 very funny. (Never watched it!)
Makes An’s rejoinder even funnier!
Regards
Charlie

Yes, Charlie, I was referring to that Seinfeld episode Some1 posted 🙂

Member
I apologize but I am kidnapping the blog for a moment, as this is very important, especially because of people like Csaba K. Zoltani and similar(living in denial) minded individuals on the blog. Probably many of you aware the young students opposition demonstrations (Eva wrote about this on March 9th and 10th), but not many of you aware what followed after. Laszlo Kover, speaker of the house in open forums accused the young university participants with being communists, and that the he (Kover) fought against their daddy for democracy under the communist regime. What it really means that he accused the parents of the demonstrators of being communist. (“a most tüntető fiatal baloldaliak “apukái” ellen követelt demokráciát, azzal az igen nagy különbséggel, hogy akkor kommunista diktatúra volt, most pedig demokrácia van.”) Well, couple of the fathers did not take this too lightly and published open letters to Kover. It is impossible to translate to English one of them on a way that you would get a good sense how is being said what is said. (Here is a link to the whole article wit the letters. Paul, you should and must show it to your wife. Csaba, I would like… Read more »
Kirsten
Guest

Some1, thank you for posting this. In particular the factual message of the two letters should be publicised more (who exactly was so close to the Communists). Whether the style will help win undecided people over (or even more to make believers of Fidesz to reconsider their opinions), I am not so sure. (Perhaps Paul should show his wife only some “clean” version of the letters 🙂 ).

petofi
Guest
One of the great surprises to me when we returned to Budapest was that the citizenry were no literate. Yes, they could read, but they did not read the books that are the substance of self-education, and that all adults–intelligent adults–should have consulted on their own. Largely, these books are the 100 Great Books that Mortimer Adler talked and wrote about: Shakespeare, Montaigne, Plato, St. Augustine, the Bible, The Way of Life, etc. How could this be? I thought. What about all those 2nd hand bookshops in town–wasn’t that a sign of wide and intelligent reading? I guess not, or Hungarians would not be so easily fooled by wild accusations and rash promises; or would come to a rational decision on what kind of government and leaders rule in such a slap-dash, haphazard fashion. The style is the man (or the government) itself. Without being able to judge the various policies, an average, well-read person would know that no respectable government would do what this one has done (on several occasions); or that a leader would comport himself with the total lack of respect of others that Orban has done. Finis. Nothing more need be said. But sadly, the people… Read more »
zero zero zero
Guest

Petofi: “Illiterate Majority”
Same feeling. I asked people on my visit, how they feel.
All complained, and spoke of the hopelessness.
I asked them if they read self-educating books/newspapers.
Referring to the exhaustion, they admitted zero reading.
However, they can crowd into Jobbik halls every evening to listen to those hardly veiled inciting lectures, chasing the desired liberating empowerment.

Member

Papal envoy on Hungary before 1526:

I am getting convinced that this country is hopeless, since there are no honest people in its government.

quoted by Gy Szekfu: Tomori

http://epa.oszk.hu/02000/02076/00038/pdf/Napkelet_1926_07-08_585-594.pdf

p.594

Member

Result of local by-election in Dunakeszi (tiny sample, opinion of 1133 people only)

Did not vote: 63.1%

Fidesz: 18.3%

Egyutt2014: 8.1%
MSzP: 5.0%

Jobbik: 5.5%

Fuqua
Guest

Local by-elections.

Dunakeszi: Fidesz 563, Együtt 249, Jobbik 168, MSZP 153.
Szentendre: Fidesz 311, MSZP 206, Társ. az élh. Szentendréért 148 (these seemingly civil organisations are usually just there to take away votes from the major parties, at this moment I am not sure from which party), Jobbik 53, LMP 28.

This shows that the left is currently dead in the water.

Without Dunakeszi and Szentendre and similar suburban places there is NO way they can win (as if they don’t win here, it’s even less possible to win in Sopron and Veszprém counties, in Bács-Kiskun etc.).

These were small elections sure, with low turnout (but there is no minimum tournout anyway under the new rules), but still, they were a nice polling opportunity.

It does not matter that Együtt was stronger than MSZP in Dunakeszi, this difference is really significant only in the relationship between MSZP and Együtt.

Also, note that Jobbik is strong and significant.

Fidesz’ appeal among the majority (ordinary people) and it’s election machinery are an order of magnitude better than that of either MSZP or Együtt.

Sad, but true.

Fuqua
Guest

Also note how Jobbik is strong in Dunakeszi. Dunakeszi is suburban (just outside, north of Budapest on the Pest side), but is a poorer place than Szentendre (which is on the opposite side of the Danube and is somewhat farther out from Budapest), so I guess the downturn affects people of Dunakeszi (many of its citizens moved there during the boom years) better. And discontent manifests itself in the extreme right it seems.

Member

Comparison of the results in the same Dunakeszi district in 2010 and 2013:

2010 2013

Voters 2950 3070

Did not vote 59.9% 63.1%

Fidesz 15.6% 18.3%
Jobbik 5.3% 5.5%
Others 19.3% 13.1%

Member

tappanch :
Result of local by-election in Dunakeszi (tiny sample, opinion of 1133 people only)
Did not vote: 63.1%
Fidesz: 18.3%
Egyutt2014: 8.1%
MSzP: 5.0%
Jobbik: 5.5%

I would like to bring into everyone attention that what I have been afraid of long time by now, just happened. I did ask a few days ago, how can we ensure that the elections will be monitored not only in the voting boots, on voting day, but beforehand. It was reported that flyers were delivered prior to voting day to households in Dunakeszi. On Friday evening smear leaflets were deliver to the household of Dunakeszi. Police was called in and two youngster was questioned by the police. THe two person admitted that they were delivering the smear campaign by Fidesz mandate. THe police chief of the city requested the police chief of the county to take the necessary steps. Why, you may ask? Because the police chief of the city have attended the FIDESZ’s campaign closing event. hahahaha I am wondering who counted the ballots?

THis was reported in 168ora. I am sure you will not find the report in Hetivalasz or on MTI.
http://www.168ora.hu/itthon/durvul-fidesz-kampanya-dunakeszin-111829.html

Member

Comparison of the results in the same Szentendre district between 2010 and 2013:

2010; 2013

Voters 2218; 2230

Did note vote 66.5%; 66.5%

Fidesz 16.9%; 13.9%
Jobbik 3.9%; 2.4%
Others 14.7%; 17.1%

So while Fidesz has strengthened in Dunakeszi in the last two and a half years,

its support has become weaker in Szentendre.

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