Two of Hungary's key players at the UEFA European Under-19 Championship are looking to the future – specifically next year's FIFA U-20 World Cup.
Friday's 2-1 victory against Israel secured third place in Group A and qualification for next year's world tournament in New Zealand; Szabolcs Varga said the thorough preparation for this long-anticipated tournament had finally paid off. "This was a very difficult match," the forward told UEFA.com. "Israel played as we expected them to. We knew our aim and we achieved that. We had spoken about the need to get the ball out to the wings and use our well-built centre-forward in the box and with that headed goal we were successful."
"That headed goal" came from Norbert Balogh, the Debreceni VSC forward scoring what proved to be the winner six minutes before half-time. "From the moment we woke up, everyone was fully focused on the match," he said. "Everyone got the most out of themselves. Generally I tend to score my goals with my feet but we discussed our plans and although we don't play the high ball all the time we agreed I would look to make this sort of run to try and score. The goal was very important, although I still believe we would have scored after that had I not headed that in."
Perhaps Hungary's outstanding performer over the three matches, Varga was thrilled the hosts had come good at the last. "I'm very happy that I was able to produce two assists and a goal over the course of the tournament," the sc Heerenveen forward added. "We'd been preparing for over a year and a half, so I'm delighted to achieve these things for our country."
Next up is a trip to New Zealand next year, although Varga is under no illusions that another step up is required. "It was very important for all our players that we qualified because the World Cup is the biggest competition in our age group. I hope if I'm there, my family and friends can come and support but if not, I'm sure they will watch on television. We probably won't have the amount of supporters there that we had here but we will try our best. It will be a difficult tournament full of top teams."
Balogh, meanwhile, is determined that their hard work here in Hungary will not go to waste next year. "
We really fought hard to qualify for the World Cup and now we know we will go and introduce ourselves and Hungarian football there."
©UEFA.com 1998-2015. All rights reserved.