Sellas Tetteh, if you are Hungary for the cup, eat Nemeth and Kiss Adam Marko!

Sellas Tetteh, Andre Ayew, Hon. Muntaka Mubarak and President Atta Mills

Sellas Tetteh, Andre Ayew, Hon. Muntaka Mubarak and President Atta Mills

After being grilled by The Republic of Korea, Ghana must clear Hungary to have a chance of being crowned world youth football champions. In the run-up to this crucial semi-final encounter on Tuesday, 13th October 2008, Black Satellites coach, Sellas Tetteh who has received enthusiastic reviews across the globe has confidently hinted that he and his boys “will give everything to return home with the global crown”  He adds confidently that “we mustn’t fail!” Sandor Egervari, coach of Hungary however sees things quite differently. “Ghana have been one of the best teams in the tournament up until now.” He tells the world. Surely I cannot wait for the scores to be settled!

I will however proceed to mention a few observations I have made about The Magyars. I first mention five general facts about them, then proceed to address how they score and then how they concede.

What makes Hungary Special?

There are 5 facts about Hungary which Ghana cannot afford to overlook.

[1] They have the fitness to play for 1020 minutes. They may be a bit tired after lasting two 120 minute sessions, but their ability to do it cannot be overlooked. If the Ghanaians get tired by 90th minutes I predict they will be toast.

[2] The Magyars however lose their focus 10 – 15 minutes before the referee whistles for the game to stop – be it end of first half or end of the game. 90% of the goals they conceded have within these time ranges.

[3] Hungary U-20 is a rugged team. They are tough and enjoy kicking their opponents about. They however know how to play the victim. Having committed 94 fouls with 77 against them, they have rather won and scored from more free kicks than Ghana (who have committed 77 fouls with 73 against them and have won only 3 free kicks).

 [4] The Black Satellites should not expect much possession from the Magyars. Nevertheless, they should be ready for long balls, through balls, pace and shots around the 18-yard box. You are going to save yourself embarrassment if you close them down and do not allow them to shoot.

 [5] The Hungary U-20 team is pretty good at delivering dead balls. You are better off not pushing them to penalties. It is in any team’s interest to avoid conceding freekicks against the Magyars.

 So how do the  Hungarians score?

Throughout this tournament, Hungary has displayed a consistent pattern of goal scoring. Here I outline their goal scoring pattern which have been used in all the 11 goals they have scored so far.

 [1] Through balls from a Central Midfielder through the two opposing Central Defenders to the left side of the goal keeper. These balls are usually aimed at Krisztian Nemeth (No. 9). Once Nemeth can connect to these passes, he takes the ball further to the left of the goal keeper and then with his right foot, he attempts to drive the ball to the far post.

 [2] The Hungarians love to drive one home from any angle at any given opportunity. Especially if they allowed to do so by the opponent. This is where Mate Kiss (No. 4) and suspended captain Vladimir Koman (No. 7) become specialists.  Backtracking when these players get hold of the ball in midfield can be most dangerous.

 [3] Dead balls! The Magyars are dead ball experts. They are not just good at converting these balls, but at creating the opportunities for free kicks and penalties. Here, Ghana should expect  Nemeth (No. 9), Adam Balajti (No. 18), Andras Gosztonyi (No. 17), Adam Presinger (No. 14) and Marko Futacs (No. 19.) to charge at the defenders, especially the laterals, attempt to round them up and force penalties and free kicks  from these situations.

 But how do they concede?

Of course the Hungarians have obvious weaknesses. It is interesting to note that Ghana have proven to have critical strengths where the Hungarians lack.

 [1] The biggest hole in the Hungarian set-up is their left defense (both lateral and central). This is the angle from where they have mostly conceded. The Left Back is easy to handle and out-run.

 [2] The center-back pair tend to get caught ball watching. Their anticipation is usually suspect. Also, while it is easy to run past the Left Back to deliver crosses, the Central Defenders usually have trouble dealing with deep crosses. Both in- and outswingers are likely to confuse them.

 [3] For most of their games, Hungary have found it difficult dealing with long-range shots. Twenty-to-thirty-yard shots have consistently exposed goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi’s inability to handle high-flying balls.

 When I consider these facts, I am confident that Ghana will win this semi-finals encounter. I predict this semi-finals game will be easier for Ghana than previous games. I also predict that Ghana is likely to score at least 4 goals. Hungary are also likely to get on the score sheet. However I do not see them scoring more than two times, except Ghana falls to their dead ball tricks. My conclusions are that if Ghana is to go past this team, then Sellas Tetteh ought to have plans not only for obvious danger man Nemeth, but Mate Kiss, Andras Gosztonyi, Adam Balajti and Marko Futacs.

Good Luck to Ghana!


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