Ten things you didn’t know about England’s next opponents, Hungary

Their manager used to be the strongest player in world, while they were unofficial world champions as recently as 2008.

England return to action on Thursday for the first time since Euro 2020, as they resume qualifying for the 2022 World Cup.

The Three Lions' first assignment is a trip to Budapest to face Hungary, who currently occupy second spot in Group I, two points behind England.

The Magyars last qualified for the World Cup in 1986, but have experienced something of a resurgence in recent years, with successful qualification campaigns for both Euro 2016 and 2020.

With renewed interest in the team, and a tantalising tie in prospect on Thursday, Planet Sport brings you ten things you might not have known about the Hungarian soccer team.

Past encounters with England

England vs Hungary Michael Dawson Zoltan Gera Aug 2010

Hungary have played the Three Lions on 22 previous occasions, with the first coming in June 1908 and the most recent in August 2010.

The Magyars have tasted victory in five of those meetings, including the famous Game of the Century at Wembley in November 1953, when they triumphed 6-3.

However, on the whole, they hold a poor overall record against England, with 15 defeats and they have not beaten the Three Lions in their last 13 attempts, a run stretching back to 1965.

An Austrian affair

Anyone familiar with modern European history will know of the association between Austria and Hungary, with the two forming a union and jointly ruling an empire for many years in the 19th and 20th centuries.

It is hardly surprising, then, that when it comes to soccer, Austria are Hungary's most common opponent, with the fixture between the two having taken place 137 times, making it the second most-played international fixture. Only Argentina and Uruguay, who have played one another 200 times, have met more often.

Going for gold

The exploits of Hungary's famous 'Mighty Magyars' during the mid-20th century are well known, but perhaps three of their more understated achievements are the trio of Olympic gold medals they won in 1952, 1964 and 1968.

That treble makes Hungary the joint-most successful country ever in Olympic soccer, and the country also boasts a silver medal from 1972 and a bronze from 1960.

Bogey teams

Hungary vs Portugal Mar 2017 Balazs Dzsudzsak and Cristiano Ronaldo

Although recent years have been a little fallow, Hungary have still, throughout their history, been able to score victories over almost everyone they have played.

Of the 69 opponents they have faced at least three times, only five are unbeaten against the Magyars. Their ultimate bogey team are Portugal, whom Hungary have faced 14 times and failed to beat once.

Six-figure gate at Hampden

As the most famous player in the world at the time it was understandable that people would come out in their droves to see the late, great Ferenc Puskas ply his trade.

He played in the Hungarian national side that made a trip to Glasgow to face Scotland in December 1954 and an unbelievable 113,146 spectators packed into Hampden Park to see the Hungarians win 4-2.

Ironically, that game did not see Puskas score one of his 84 goals for Hungary, but the attendance remains a record for any match involving Hungary.

Dutch dish out a demolition

Many national sides' record losses came many years ago, far enough into the past to now laugh about. Sadly for Hungary, however, that is not the case, with their all-time heaviest defeat coming just eight years ago.

The Magyars were thrashed 8-1 by the Netherlands in Amsterdam during 2014 World Cup qualification. Robin van Persie netted a hat-trick, with the Hungarian consolation coming from a Balazs Dzsudskak penalty.

Long service

Gabor Kiraly Hungary Jun16

If that match is infamous, Dzsudskak is thankfully better known for his long-standing service to Hungary, and is the country's joint-top appearance maker, level with goalkeeper Gabor Kiraly, pictured, on 108 caps.

Within those 108 games, which span from his debut in June 2007 to the most recent in November 2019, the winger has scored 21 goals.

Nasazzi's Baton

The Unofficial Soccer World Championship is an offbeat way of suggesting an alternative world champion in the sport, through use of the knockout title system used in boxing.

This unofficial title, and accompanying baton, takes its name from the captain of Uruguay in 1930, who are considered the initial holders, as winners of the first World Cup.

Hungary have held Nasazzi's Baton on six occasions, most recently winning it back from Greece in May 2008, before losing it to Sweden in September that year.

Strongman manager

Marco Rossi Hungary manager Jun2021

Italian Marco Rossi is the Magyars' current boss, having taken the reins in June 2018, and he has led the side to a perfectly respectable 15 wins from 32 matches in charge.

One of Rossi's more left-field claims to fame, however, is that during his playing days, he was ranked as the strongest player in the world by video game FIFA 97!

National pride

Something particularly unique about the Hungarian team is to be found on their kit. The colours are not particularly notable - the green, white and red of the national flag can be found on them in one form or another.

In fact, the Hungarian kit has always featured the country's actual coat of arms, making it different from many other nations' strips, which often feature only the logo of the relevant national soccer association.

READ MORE: Ten things you didn’t know about England’s next home opponents, Andorra

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