UEFA U17 European Championships Report: Hungary 1 - 1 Belgium (Hungary win 5-4 on penalties)Thu, May 16 2019
Dylan O’Connell reports from Tolka Park
Hungary bridged a 34-year gap when they saw off Belgium in a penalty shoot-out to reach the finals of the under-17 World Cup in Brazil.
Ákos Zuigeber’s penalty saw his side to a 5-4 shoot-out victory following after a game dominated by the Hungarians had finished 1-1 after 90 minutes.
In the tradition of plays-off, it was a game of emotion and character from the earliest of moments as the two teams came in facing their history.
While Hungary have waited 34 years, the Belgians also travelled in looking to bridge the gap to the world stage having not featured since 2015.
In what could have been a game of nerves, Hungary played with a freedom of expression that is unfamiliar in these ties and dominated the first half.
Led by Zuigeber on the right, the winger dogged the Belgian full-backs, creating space for shots by György Komáromi and Milán Horváth. 4
While neither posed an overt threat to Martin Vandevoordt in goal, the Red Devils where clearly unsettled in these early moments, and it wasn’t just Zuigeber.
The Hungarians determination showed through the center as Mihály Kata and Sámuel Major smothered Wouter George on the ball and interrupted the Belgian’s attempted game plan.
Sámuel Major almost produced his side’s first chance of the game, as his attempted cross fell short for Komáromi and bobbed wide.
Belgium had to be patient and had to rely off set pieces to try and penetrate the Hungarian line.
From their first corner of the game, Jéremy Landu was denied by the crossbar as he near-perfectly met Rob Nizet’s ball in.
Hungary carried on unfazed. Gábor Buna ran into an attack, with the right back overpowering the Belgian midfield allowing him to room to cross it to András Németh, but the striker’s header looped just over.
In the closing moments of the first half, Belgium almost got a surprise lead as a swinging kick by Nizet bounced off the far post and out for a goal kick.
This late scare and the halftime whistle did nothing to deter the energy of Hungary.
Seconds after the whistle, Samuel Major knitted his way into the penalty box only to be denied a clear chance by a flying dive by Jéremy Landu to clearing.
Despite the Hungarians’ valiant start, it would be Belgium who would go ahead first. A neatly worked one two by George and Tibo Persyn saw the ball flicked across goal to meet the head of Chris Kalulika, who only needed a touch to turn it in.
Hungary equalised almost immediately, Gábor Buna charging forward from right, dragged himself into space to swing it onto the head of Komáromi.
Using the post to guide it in, the Hungarian ran away in celebration with his teammates, having only been behind for a minute.
A free kick by Kalukika was almost turned it by Anouar Ait El Hadj at the far post, while dogged runs by Márk Kosznovszky and Zuigeber produced space but their shots fell calmly into the hands of Vandevoordt.
With the sides settled, it took penalties to decide the spot at the World Cup. Belgian started the brightest as Killian Sardella and Nizet found the net.
Komáromi and Szabolsc Szalay tied it up at 2-2 before Mathias De Wolf hit the crossbar for Belgium.
There was only going to be one winner then as Kosznovszky, Major and Zuigeber netted to send Hungary through to the World Cup next month in Brazil.
Hungary: Krisztián Hegyi, Roland Bekker, Botand Balough, Milán Horváth, Gábor Buna (Szabolsc Szalay 90), György Komáromi, Mihály Kata, Sámuel Major, Márk Kosznovszky, Ákos Zuigeber, András Németh (Rajmund Molnar 81).
Subs not used: Gábor Megyeri, Donát Orosz, Zoltán Dávid, Benedek Kalmár.
Belgium: Martin Vandevoordt; Tibo Persyn, Jéremy Landu, Killian Sardella, Rob Nizet, Samuel Asoma, Wouter George (Mathias De Wolf 59), Anouar Ait El Hadj (Thibo Baeten 81), Chris Kalulika (Franck Idumbo-Muzambo 90) François Xavier Engolo.
Subs not used: Senne Lammens, Yunus Bahadir, Marco Kana, Hugo Siquet, Ameen Al Dakhil.
Referee: Krzysztof Jakubik.
Extratime.ie Player of the Match: Ákos Zuigeber.