Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Romania and Hungary, technically the ‘outsiders’, had to play three games until reaching a winner: 1-1 in Budapest; 2-2 in Bucharest; and finally Hungary outwitted their neighbours 2-1 at neutral Belgrade.
A moment from the Bucharest leg: Nunweiler VI of Romania gets ahead of Szucz (Hungary, at the left). The Romanian playmaker was part of great footballing dynasty – he was the 6th (as his media name shows) Nunweiler gracing Romanian football. Alas, Hungary went ahead (they had players with Roman numbers attached to their names too.) Hungary got some attention – there was some hope this new crop may have been a revival of the great 1950s… at least media articles give such impression:

Hungary managing measly 1-1 against France in Budapest. The qualification group was barely won by the Hungarians.

But some quality was quickly invented: at top, Szusz keeps an eye on Georges Lech (France). Bottom, left: Kalman Meszoly was considered the ‘conductor’ of Hungarian defense. Already 30 years old, Meszoly was not that impressive, as journalists suggested. He became coach of the Hungarian national team in the 1980s. On the right: Ferenc Bene – the leader of Hungarian attack, and the real star. He was supposed to be glorious continuation of tradition, stretching from Ladislao Kubala in the 1940s through Ferenc Puskas in the 50s, through Florian Albert in the 60s, and on, and on, through Bene… But he never reached the class of the legends. Today Bene is largely a club legend of Ujpest (Budapest), but not a legendary national player.

New kids to continue Hungarian glory: the goalkeeper Rothermel guarded by his club teammate Laczko in domestic league match in 1971-72 season. Their club – Tatabanya – was small one. Rothermel never became star goalkeeper – he was mostly second goalie in the national team. However, he was good enough to move to a better club – he became teammate of Ferenc Bene in Ujpest Dosza (Budapest), arguably, the best Hungarian club in the 1970s.
Lajos Kocsis, from Honved (Budapest), was considered one of the young hopes of Hungarian football. He was 25 years old in 1972, having played in the Olympics 1968, so it is hard to see why he was considered ‘a hope for the future’. Contrary to journalistic prognostics, Rothermel did not play at the finals; Kocsis was replaced in the ½ final and was not fielded in the match for the third place; and Meszoly was not even in the squad at the final stage of the championship.