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Page last updated at 07:38 GMT, Monday, 9 August 2010 08:38 UK

Hungary coach Egervari expects refreshed England side

Friendly international: England v Hungary
Venue: Wembley Stadium Date: Wednesday, 11 August 2010 Kick-off: 2000 BST
Coverage: BBC Sport website, BBC Radio 5 live and ITV 1

Downcast England players

Highlights - Germany 4-1 England

By Julian Shea

Hungary's new coach says he expects to face a different England from the one that disappointed at the World Cup when the sides meet at Wembley on Wednesday.

"The big teams that failed in South Africa, like England, had played too many league games and their players weren't fresh," said Sandor Egervari.

"After a holiday and a pre-season, they will be fresher," he told BBC Sport.

"Steven Gerrard, Wayne Rooney and Frank Lampard are still world-class, playing in the best league in the world."

England's poor showing in South Africa, culminating in a 4-1 defeat by Germany in the last 16, angered many fans and prompted the Football Association to cut ticket prices for Wednesday's match in an attempt to win back disgruntled spectators.


But former Hungary Under-21 coach Egervari, who takes charge of the senior team for the first time, is not expecting to catch England with their guard down.

"What happened at the World Cup won't have any effect," he said.

Wednesday's game between England and Hungary will inevitably bring to mind the historic 6-3 defeat England suffered at the hands of the legendary Ferenc Puskas and his "Magnificent Magyars" in 1953.

It was the first time England had been beaten at home by a team from outside the British Isles and it was followed by a 7-1 reverse in Budapest, which remains England's record defeat.

Egervari said the history of the fixture was guaranteed to inspire Hungarian players and fans.

Hungary captain Ferenc Puskas (right) swaps pennants with England's Billy Wright
Billy Wright (left) and Ferenc Puskas (right) before the 1953 match

"What happened there [at Wembley] was a great success and very important. We always look forward to going there - it's a holy place and we still look forward to going there now," he added.

While all England teams are inevitably measured against the benchmark of the 1966 World Cup winners, the Hungarian equivalent is the Golden Team of the 1950s.

From June 1950 to February 1956, they amassed a record of 42 wins, seven draws and only one defeat.

Tragically for Hungarian football, that defeat was in the 1954 World Cup final, where they lost 3-2 to a West Germany team they had previously beaten 8-3 in the group stages.

The team from that era are still held in such regard that when captain Puskas died in 2006 at the age of 79, the country observed a day of mourning.

"We're very proud that we were once one of the best teams in the world," said Egervari.

"It's not realistic to look back at 1953 and 1954 and to believe we can have that kind of success again but we take great pride."

What happened at the World Cup won't have any effect

Sandor Egervari

And Egervari is doing his best to pass on the torch of the memory of that team to the current crop of Hungarian youngsters.

"When I was a player, I was coached by two managers who played in that match against England - Nandor Hidegkuti, who scored twice in the match at Wembley, and Laszlo Budai, the right winger.

"They fed back the importance of that game and I got lots of stories and feedback from what happened.

"Sadly, they've both passed away and there are only two connections left to that game - goalkeeper Gyula Grosics and the right-back Jeno Buzanszky, who is coming to London for this game."

The glory days of Hungarian football are long gone, however, with the team having failed to qualify for a European championship since 1972 or a World Cup since 1986.

But under Egervari, the Hungarian U20 side finished third in the World U20 Championships, and the U21 side look on course to qualify for the 2012 London Olympics.

Ferenc Puskas (front centre) and his "Magnificent Magyars"
Hungary went over four years unbeaten in the early 1950s

He is the seventh different coach for the national side in the last decade and says stability is the key if the team is to progress.

"I hope I will stay at least four years until the next World Cup, and that results will prove this," he said.

"I hope season by season there will be success and team-building will improve as the years go by.

"I've managed six of the current senior squad at club level, so I've got the spine of the team and I'm familiar with them.

"When the Hungarian Federation thought about me as coach, they looked at the fact that they wanted me to carry on doing the good work I was doing at junior levels."

But he says his first game in charge, against England, is just the start of a long road the team must travel.

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see also
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Uncapped trio in England overhaul
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England slip to worst Cup ranking
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Clockwatch: England 3-1 Hungary
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How good was Puskas?
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Hungary legend Puskas dies at 79
17 Nov 06 |  Football
Hungary's football masterclass
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