Hungary Men to Host Czechs for First Time in a Decade
- 23 Feb 2023 10:28 AM
Being drawn in a five-team European Championship qualifying group means Hungary must play two friendly matches on their rest days this year.
The first will be played against Estonia on 23 March with the second coming after the summer when the opponent will be the Czech Republic on 10 September. The Czech national team is in 38th place in the FIFA world rankings, two spots behind us, so they will no doubt prove worthy opponents.
The Czechs also played in the Division A of the Nations League last year and although they were relegated after finishing in last place in their group behind Spain, Portugal and Switzerland, they did beat Switzerland at home and drew with Spain.
Several of their players play in the German Bundesliga and in Italy, while two also play for West Ham United, and furthermore, Patrizio Stronati may well be the most well-known to Hungarian fans, given he is a Puskás Akadémia player.
The Czech national team head coach is Jaroslav Šilhavý, who, like Marco Rossi, has been in his position since 2018. Although the Czech didn't reach last year's World Cup, they did make it to the play-off semi-final, where they suffered a single-goal defeat to Sweden in extra time.
In the World Cup qualifiers, they were in the same group as our March opponent Estonia, Šilhavý's team winning 6-2 away and 2-0 at home.
"We'll play against a team which is particularly strong, even if their last few matches in the Nations League and World Cup qualifiers certainly didn't go as they'd have liked", Marco Rossi told mlsz.hu.
"The Czech Republic plays in a very organised manner and their squad consists of very good players, most of whom play in especially strong leagues. The difference between the Czech Republic and us in the world ranking is only two places, which clearly shows the two teams are similarly matched.
We have the opportunity to reach this continental tournament finals from our qualifying group, but we'll have an extremely difficult task and the match against the Czechs will play an important role in our preparation to achieve this aim, since we know we'll have to fight just as hard for victory in this fixture as as in our qualifiers.
There's still plenty of time until September, so we'll have the opportunity to thoroughly analyse their tactics and players and naturally to develop our own game before then too".
The last time the two teams met was ten years ago in August 2013, when the teams drew 1-1 in Budapest.
Marco Rossi's team will be in action first this year against Estonia before starting the European Championship qualifiers against Bulgaria in the Puskás Arena four days later on 27 March.
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