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Rossi wants Hungary to embrace Euro expectations

By AFP

June 14, 2024 11:04 PM


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Hungary coach Marco Rossi has urged his side to embrace the pressure of being ranked as an emerging force at Euro 2024.

Rossi's team face Switzerland in their opening Group A fixture in Cologne on Saturday.

The Hungarians have arrived on the Euro stage thanks to Rossi's astute guidance and the dynamic presence of Liverpool star Dominik Szoboszlai in midfield.

While it will likely be too soon for Hungary to challenge for the trophy, they have genuine hopes of qualifying for the knockout stage from a group that also includes hosts Germany and Scotland.

But Rossi knows even that might not be enough to satisfy the demands of Hungary's fanatical support and he challenged his players to treat the expectations as a source of motivation.

"I think my players feel the expectations, the hype and the pressure. It is a tournament which will be watched all over the world," Rossi told reporters at his pre-match press conference on Friday.

"We would like to be the protagonists, to give joy and happiness to our supporters.

"These are not matches between friends. We have this pressure and it is unavoidable. But it is important to keep the focus on what we need to do, not on ifs and buts."

Hungary's golden era came when Ferenc Puskas' 'Mighty Magyars' finished as runners-up at the 1954 World Cup.

Rossi's crop may not be at that level, but they are competing at their third successive European Championship after an unbeaten qualifying campaign.

A friendly loss to the Republic of Ireland last week was Hungary's first defeat since 2022, a superb run that has convinced pundits to tip them as the dark horse of the tournament.

Now Rossi wants the current generation to write their own history.

"We qualified. Not by chance but because we deserved to on the pitch," the 59-year-old Italian said.

"We did well in the last Euros but we didn't get out of the group stage.

"I told the players that confidence in them is growing. It has been growing day by day since we started working together.

"I trust them. What will happen tomorrow, nobody knows. The emotions we will go through, we will discover them on the pitch."

Rossi believes stopping Switzerland's Bayer Leverkusen midfielder Granit Xhaka will be key to their hopes of starting with a win.

"The recent career of Xhaka speaks for itself, he won the German league and went to the Europa League final," he said.

"He is a key player for Switzerland. He is the source of play and somehow we need to limit him."


AFP


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