- Andras Nemeth and Hungary are out of Brazil 2019
- The Magyars lost 3-2 to Ecuador on the final day in Group B
- Nemeth scored his side’s two goals, one of them of the highest quality
While experience can help players learn from their mistakes, it tends to be in short supply when those players are only 17. Hungary’s youngsters, for example, will have plenty to dwell on after taking the lead in all three of their group matches at the FIFA U-17 World Cup Brazil 2019™ but failing to win any of them, resulting in elimination.
“It’s really tough. We had another opportunity to win but we cracked again,” forward Andras Nemeth told FIFA.com after his side’s 3-2 defeat to Ecuador on Friday. “It’s hard for me to explain. It has to be a mental thing. We’d promised ourselves that it wouldn’t happen again. We’d put the Nigeria and Australia matches behind us and we were ready to go and fight.”
Did you know?
In 2018, Nemeth was named the player of the tournament at a youth competition that Genk won at the expense of global giants such as Bayern Munich, Flamengo, Real Madrid and Sporting CP. In the hope of keeping their teenage prodigy out of the clutches of Europe’s big clubs, the reigning Belgian champions wasted little time in extending his contract.
The young Genk forward was a class apart on Friday evening. The scorer of both his side’s goals, Nemeth opened his account in some style, controlling the ball with his right thigh and lashing it home with his left, off the underside of the crossbar.
“It was a nice goal and winning the Puskás Award would be some consolation, but I doubt it’ll be on the list of finalists,” he joked. “There have been some better goals, even in my own collection.”
34 years later
Aside from his two goals, the Magyar No9 was one of his side’s standout performers against La Tri. A willing outlet for his team, he posed a constant threat to the Ecuador rearguard.
“I couldn’t say if I had a good match or not,” said Nemeth, who was born in South Africa but whose father is Hungarian. “We lost so it obviously wasn’t enough. I just did all I could to help the team. It was wonderful for my team and I to take part in this World Cup and it’s sad that it has to end here.”
Hungary had been absent from the tournament for 34 years, their last appearance at China PR 1985. That gap is the longest in the history of the competition, and it was perhaps that lack of experience at this level that counted against them.
“In the European Championships all the teams are pretty similar,” said Nemeth. “They all play in pretty much the same way and all the teams know each other. But at the World Cup you’re coming up against teams from different continents and with very different styles. Other teams managed to adapt but we weren’t able to. The lesson I’m taking away with me from this tournament is that I’ve still got a huge amount of work ahead of me.”
Did you know?Hungary had the highest average age of all qualified teams at Brazil 2019. Theirs is the only squad in which all 21 players were born in 2002.