Brave Hungary push Sweden all the way
Edina Markó's Hungary Women put on a sterling performance full of vim and vigour against Sweden, particularly in the second half, but despite partially recovering from a 2-0 deficit and nearly grabbing an equaliser, they conceded two late goals to lose their latest FIFA World Cup qualifier 4-1 in Szombathely on Thursday evening.
This was the first competitive fixture of the year for Markó's women and it came against one of the traditional giants of the international game in former Olympic silver- and World Cup bronze medallists Sweden, the team which had beaten Hungary 5-0 at home last autumn and remains unbeaten so far this qualifying campaign.
Markó's squad had been preparing in the west of Hungary since Sunday but Markó had been forced to change her plans by calling up Szombathely duo Cintia Öreg and Henrietta Balogh in place of the injured Szabina Tálosi and Diána Csányi.
What was expected though was how Sweden roared into action from the first whistle and penned Hungary into their own half for most of the opening period. Visiting forward Blackstenius hit the woodwork in the 9th minute but her team made amends eight minutes later by taking a deserved lead, the referee judging that Szeitllel had not committed a foul following a right-wing cross and the ball falling to Seger who swept home from close range to make it 1-0 to the visitors.
Sweden remained in the ascendancy and doubled their advantage in the 25th minute when Jakobsson converted a Glas cross from the right into the goal from just a few metres out.
Hungary were not a broken team though and creditably came back into the match by creating several chances, Fenyvesi, Csiszár and Jakabfi all going close to scoring while at the other end Réka Szőcs remained alert in saving well from a Swedish attacker with a clear sight of goal.
Therefore, despite Petra Kocsán's sprained ankle which led to her substitution, there was still reason for Hungary to be positive when emerging for the second half and that proactive attitude was validated when Szilvia Szeitl slid a superb pass behind the Sweden defence and Fanni Vágó used the heel of her foot to free up space inside the penalty area for a shot into the bottom right-hand corner of the goal, one which halved Hungary's deficit.
The hosts continue to fight tremendously hard in the final third of the game, providing stern opposition for a startled Sweden and going close to scoring an equaliser at times but this huge effort was to take its toll in the final minutes as Sweden hit back on the counter-attack to seal the three points. Firtly, Blackstenius broke forward and slotted past Szőcs to make it 3-1 in the 87th minute before Larsson diverted Glas' right-wing cross into the Hungary goal in added time to set the final result at a harsh-looking 4-1, Hungary perhaps deserving of a much closer result based on the overall pattern of play.
In the qualifying group's other fixture of the day, Ukraine defeated hosts Croatia 3-0.
Edina Markó, Hungary head coach: "Aside from the last five or six minutes we can be satisfied with what we saw. The girls went for the equaliser at the end and not without reason either, but it turned out that we conceded a goal from a Sweden counter-attack. Perhaps this happened at the end because the team had tired a little and that Sweden ruthlessly capitalised on our mistakes. Independently of this, I am proud of the girls and it's possible to lose in this way".
Hungary 1–4 Sweden (HT: 0–2)
Goals: HUN: Vágó (63.), SWE: Seger (17.), Jakobsson (25.), Blackstenius (87.), Larsson (90+3.)
Hungary (surnames first): Szőcs Réka – Tóth Alexandra, Turányi Lilla, Szeitl Szilvia, Szabó Viktória – Fenyvesi Evelin, Csiszár Henrietta – Kocsán Petra (Mosdóczi Evelin 52.), Rácz Zsófia, Jakabfi Zsanett (Kaján Zsanett (76.) – Vágó Fanni
The Hungary Women's squad (surnames first):
Szőcs Réka (MTK Hungária FC)
Bíró Barbara (Haladás Viktória FC)
Samu Anna (Ferencvárosi TC)
Szeitl Szilvia (Ferencvárosi TC)
Tóth Alexandra (Haladás Viktória FC)
Szabó Viktória (Ferencvárosi TC)
Mosdóczi Evelin (Ferencvárosi TC)
Papp Dóra (MTK Hungária FC)
Balogh Henrietta (Haladás Viktória FC)
Pinczi Anita (MTK Hungária FC)
Turányi Lilla (MTK Hungária FC)
Horti Boglárka (Kóka FNLA)
Rácz Zsófia (PSV Eindhoven)
Fenyvesi Evelin (Ferencvárosi TC)
Csiszár Henrietta (FC Bayer04 Leverkusen)
Magyarics Zoé (FC Südburgenland)
Öreg Cintia (Szombathelyi Swietelsky-Haladás Viktória FC)
Jakabfi Zsanett (Vfl Wolfsburg)
Kaján Zsanett (St. John’s Red Storm)
Vágó Fanni (SKN St. Pölten)
Németh Loretta (Apollon Ladies FC)
Kocsán Petra (Ferencvárosi TC)
Zágor Bernadett (SKN St. Pölten)