Hungary’s progress in 12 steps

21 Dec 2020
  • Hungary made most progress this year in FIFA Ranking

  • Magyars climbed 12 places in 12 months

  • reviews Hungary’s 2020 in 12 stats

Over the last 12 months, Hungary have climbed 12 places in the FIFA/Coca-Cola World Ranking. The Magyars have the distinction of being the 'most improved side in 2020' thanks to a total gain of 44 points that has moved them up to 40th place. picked out 12 stats to mark what has been an exceptional 12 months for the Eastern Europeans.

Hungary’s Italian coach Marco Rossi is enjoying his first experience at the helm of a national team. He arrived in 2018 after spells in charge of Hungarian, Slovakian and Italian clubs. The former defender, who wore the colours of Torino, Brescia, Sampdoria and Eintracht Frankfurt, among others, came through this baptism of fire to enjoy remarkable success.
The number of minutes of added time that had been played in the Iceland-Hungary play-off when Dominik Szoboszlai scored the winner to send his side to UEFA EURO 2020. The goal came against the run of play and was a bitter blow to Iceland, who had opened the scoring and been in front until the 88th minute.
The number of goals scored by the team’s newest star, Dominik Szoboszlai, in his first 12 internationals. Recently transferred from Red Bull Salzburg to RB Leipzig, the 20-year-old is the youngest of 37 players called up by Rossi in 2020.
The number of players called up to Rossi’s squads in 2020 who participated in the FIFA U-20 World Cup New Zealand 2015: Akos Kecskes (1 cap), Adam Nagy (44 caps), Zsolt Kalmar (24 caps) and Krisztian Tamas (0 caps). The country’s last appearance on the world stage was at the FIFA U-17 World Cup Brazil 2019, but none of the 23 players who went to South America have yet to be called up to the senior-team squad.
The number of Hungarian internationals playing in the German Bundesliga. This quintet –goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi (RB Leipzig), defender Willi Orban (RB Leipzig), midfielder Dominik Szoboszlai (RB Leipzig) and forwards Roland Sallai (Fribourg) and Adam Szalai (Mainz 05) – form the backbone of the team. They are the only squad members currently plying their trade in the top division of one of Europe’s big five leagues.
The number of games in which Hungary have now gone unbeaten. Their last reverse came on 6 September against Russia. They last put together a run like that in 2014/15, when they were as high as 20th in the FIFA Ranking.
The number of years Loic Nego spent in Hungary before playing his first international match with the Magyars. Born in Paris and a France international in nearly every age category, the wing back finally received Hungarian citizenship in 2019 and played his first full international for them on 8 October 2020. A few days later, he scored the equaliser against Iceland in the aforementioned UEFA EURO 2020 play-off.
The number of matches played in 2020 by Hungary, five of which were won, two drawn and one lost. By comparison, they played 10 games in 2019 and lost six!
FIFA Coca/Cola Ranking Biggest Movers
The number of times Hungary have played at the FIFA World Cup™. Beaten finalists in 1938 and 1954, they have not graced the tournament since 1986. In order to return to the world stage, they will need to emerge from Group I, where , among others, Poland and England await, following the UEFA Zone Draw on 7 December.
The number of foreign leagues Marco Rossi called players up from in 2020: Cyprus, Belgium, Switzerland, England (second tier), Slovakia, Serbia, Croatia, Turkey, Germany and the Netherlands. Hungarian clubs Ferencvaros and Fehervar, respectively first and second in the 2020/21 league table, provided the most players this year, with four apiece.
The number of years Adam Szalai has been playing for his senior national team. Currently the team captain and longest serving player, he made his full debut back in 2009. The imposing (1.93m) Mainz 05 striker is the top-scoring Hungarian player still active (21 goals in 67 appearances), albeit a long way from the all-time record of 84 goals held by a certain Ferenc Puskas.
The number of goals racked up by Hungary in 2020, shared among nine different players. The Magyars scored in all but one of their games – a 0-0 draw against their bête noire Russia. Hungary last defeated the Sbornaya back in 1978!
BUDAPEST, HUNGARY - NOVEMBER 18: The Hungary team celebrate after the UEFA Nations League group stage match between Hungary and Turkey at Puskas Arena on November 18, 2020 in Budapest, Hungary. Football Stadiums around Europe remain empty due to the Coronavirus Pandemic as Government social distancing laws prohibit fans inside venues resulting in fixtures being played behind closed doors. (Photo by Laszlo Szirtesi/Getty Images)