Marco Rossi: “Croatia stand out in this group”
Hungary Men's head coach has been speaking to mlsz.hu about the draw for the UEFA EURO 2020 Qualifiers which was made in Dublin on Sunday.
Sunday’s draw for the UEFA 2020 European Championship qualifying group stage sees Hungary together with World Cup runners-up Croatia, Wales, Slovakia and Azerbaijan in Group E, with the winners and runners-up qualifying for the final tournament.
“Croatia are the outstanding team in the group; against the other teams, what results we achieve more depends on us”, said Rossi. “Croatia don’t need any introductions; they are World Cup finalists and represent a different level from the other teams in the group. Where Wales are concerned it is our great luck that Ryan Giggs won’t be playing since he is by now national team head coach. Joking aside, I believe that it will be between us, Wales and Slovakia for second place. The matches against Slovakia will be exciting derby-like encounters. And we can’t underestimate Azerbaijan, even though it might be considered that we could have more success against them than against the others should we take to the pitch against them with a clear head. EURO 2020 is going to be special, even more so for us given that Budapest being one of the host venues. What I can promise is that I will prepare the team as best as I can for the upcoming qualification matches”, he added.
Hungarian Football Federation President Sándor Csányi was present at the draw, and also spoke with us afterwards, saying that: “Hungary and Hungarian supporters are certainly are certain winners because in 2020 Budapest will be one of the host cities for the European Championship, meaning that the best teams on the continent will be playing in the Hungarian capital”. Csányi then went on to add: “There are three teams in the group which have recently had more success than the Hungary national team. Croatia reached this year’s World Cup final and I think it says everything about the strength of Wales that they reached the semi-finals at the last European Championship while Slovakia also reached the second round”.
Wales head coach Ryan Giggs was happy with the draw, saying that: “It’s a very even group. We could have received a worse or a better draw but overall, we’re satisfied. Based on recent results, Croatia stand out from the rest; they are favourites. After that we have Hungary and Slovakia. Certainly the Slovaks have a strong side. I’m happy that we don’t have to travel far; aside from the Azerbaijan trip. We’ll need to be at our very best to qualify from the group”.
Slovakia’s Pavel Hapal also spoke about the group being a very even one. “The games against Hungary are always exciting battles; they have good players and we can’t underestimate them. Indeed, we’ll have to prepare thoroughly for them. Croatia are currently the second-best team in the world. We played against Wales in EURO 2016 and they will be strong opponents. It’ll also be a long journey to our fifth-seed opponents Azerbaijan”, he said.
Croatia head coach Zlatko Dalić was guarded about his team’s chances, stating that they couldn’t take their World Cup performances as a starting point because a new time period was now beginning, and his team can’t afford to live in the past. “It’s not the easiest, but not the most difficult group. We won’t be underestimating anyone and must be at our best during this shorter, eight-month qualification period. Everyone will be gunning for us. Nothing is certain in this group, and it’s bound to be an exciting contest. Slovakia and Hungary were also at the last European Championship and it is surely their aim to qualify again”, he concluded.
Azerbaijan head coach Gurban Gurbanov said his team would be looking to give a good performance, commenting that: “We’re in a very interesting group. We know all of our opponents well and will try to show our best side in every match. It would be wonderful if we could play at home in the 2020 European Championship”.