Sunday, November 15, 2015

Nemeth and Hungary Qualify for 2016 Euros

Heading into the second leg in Budapest today, Hungary had to be considered big favorites against the visiting Norway after pulling off a 1-0 win in Oslo on Thursday. Hungary made good on being the favorites in Budapest and beat Norway 2-1 to advance to next summer's European Championship in France. Sporting KC's Krisztian Nemeth, who started the first leg in Oslo was on the bench for the return leg. Like in Oslo, Hungary grabbed an early lead, this time Tamas Priskin, who raced onto a ball down field, cut insider his defender and fired a ball into the far corner to put Hungary 1-0 up on the night, and 2-0 up on aggregate. The goal eliminated the chance of extra time and guaranteed that Norway would have to score twice to advance.

Norway continued to push but thanks to the post and goalkeeper Gabor Kiraly, Norway was kept off the board. Nemeth entered the game for Hungary in the 74th minute as they searched for an insurance goal. That goal came in the 83rd minute when a corner was knocked into the net by Norway's Markus Henriksen to put Norway up 2-0 on the night and 3-0 on aggregate, virtually punching their ticket for France. Norway did make a bit of a game of it in the 87th when Henriksen scored one on the other end after Kiraly had made another save. Norway though couldn't find two more goals to win the match up and Norway advanced. The win will see Hungary end a 44 year absence from the European Championship, and a 30 year absence from major international competition.

The tournament next year kicks off on June 10th and runs through July 10th, right in the middle of KC's MLS season. If Nemeth were to be named to the roster for the tournament he'd miss probably all of June, potentially part of late May, and part of July depending on how well Hungary does. The group stage at the latest would end on June 22nd for Hungary. So that's a lot of time that KC would have to deal without Nemeth, similar to KC's having to deal without Miklos Molnar back in 2000 when the Danish striker was part of Denmark's 2000 Euros run. Nemeth would become the second KC player to represent his country at the Euros, after Molnar, if Nemeth makes the final roster.

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