Bernd Storck expects his team’s toughest match this year
According to mlsz.hu, Hungary head coach Bernd Storck has given his thoughts to the media ahead of Tuesday’s opening 2018 World Cup qualifier away in the Faroe Islands:
“We’re facing this new challenge in front of us with great happiness but there will be no easy matches in our World Cup qualifying campaign. It will be a good deal harder to qualify for this than for the Euros because fewer teams can progress to the tournament finals. Our Euro 2016 matches can give us a boost as we approach the tasks in front of us and I’m confident we can have a successful campaign and hopefully at least secure second place and a play-off spot. This will be an extremely difficult task because the top team in Europe, Euro 2016 winners Portugal, will be one of our opponents, as will Switzerland who are also very strong.
A new generation steps into the national team now – the youngest such squad I will have worked with [in my current position], but amongst the squad’s uncapped players there are several whom I know well from the Under 21 setup and who have convinced the rest of the staff by virtue of their work in the last week. I am happy we can count on lots of youngsters to replace those who are injured. I think positively and trust our much-changed team will produce a good performance. The new players also know the full national team’s style of play and we’ll try to integrate them as soon as possible into the development cycle which we embarked upon before the Euros. We pay special attention to them in our training sessions and because they are intelligent enough to realise our expectations, I trust they will repay that faith with good performances.
The most important thing is the players’ physical condition. Last week we completed the latest tests which brought forth dramatic results. If we use these results as a base, we can clearly say it is no surprise that we have not qualified for major tournaments in the recent past. Before Euro 2016 we were able to get the players in such a good physical condition that they were able to turn out good results in France. The conditioning is the most important factor, without which it is not possible to compete at international level, and from which then comes the technical and tactical readiness [to be able to compete].
In any case, the players’ physical capabilities need to be improved and this is the task of their clubs too. because otherwise we will not be able to compete at international level. In Germany, physical preparation happens universally but in Hungary we are unfortunately far from this. The question arises of why does everyone expect national-team success while clubs are absent from the European competition scene? Amongst our players only Nemanja Nikolic will be with a club in the Champions League or Europa League group phases. Our group rivals Portugal and Switzerland are some way ahead of us in this respect.
During the European Championship tournament campaign there wasn’t one match like this one against the Faroes will be, so clearly for me this will be the hardest match this year. It will certainly not be an easy task – the Faroe Islands are a very difficult opponent with a style of play probably most similar to that of Iceland. In Europe there are now no small teams and the Faroes have an excellent Danish coach. Physically they are very strong so an extremely tough match awaits us, one which is very important for us from the perspective of World Cup qualification.
We don’t just need to prepare for the opponent but also for the circumstances too. On artificial surfaces things don’t work in the way players are accustomed and the weather forecast doesn’t make things any easier. In the Faroe Islands it is 11 degrees celsius during the day and the air is very moist which is simply a fact that we have to contend with. I am happy that in Telki this week we’ve been able to use a similar pitch to the one we will find next Tuesday so we can imitate one part of the conditions as part of our preparations”.
Had Storck’s current squad been selected for Euro 2016 it would have been the youngest squad in the tournament. Earlier this week some of the squad’s foreign-based contingent also underwent physical tests at the Vasas Pasarét Sportcentrum under the supervision of Storck and his coaching staff.
Source: MLSZ – press release