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07.01.2014, 12:47
Problems mounting for Mocsai
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EHF EURO COUNTDOWN: The absence of Laszlo Nagy is a severe blow to Hungary's ambitions in Denmark
 

Problems mounting for Hungary

On top of being drawn to the group of death at the EHF EURO 2014 with Spain, Iceland and Norway, Hungary’s head coach Lajos Mocsai will not be able to count on star player Laszlo Nagy in Denmark.

As well as match fitness issues, teamwork controversy and lack of international experience will make it even harder for Hungary to qualify for the Main Round.

The difference between the Hungarian team that were aiming for a semi-final spot and the one that is increasingly worried about clearing the first hurdle is one name: Laszlo Nagy.

Bearing in mind that Hungary have always had a team that can just as easily lose to or beat anybody on any given day, the pendulum seems to be swinging towards the former as the Hungarian Handball Federation (MKSZ) announced MKB-MVM Veszprem’s world class right back will miss the event due to injury.

Coach Lajos Mocsai had problems to deal with even before the announcement of Nagy’s fractured leg.

Playmaker Gabor Csaszar is struggling to get court time at PSG, while others have seen limited amount of world class opponents this year as Pick Szeged failed to qualify for the VELUX EHF Champions League.

Hungary have had excellent tournaments without Nagy, but this year it is not only the terrifyingly strong group that sends shivers down Hungarian spines.

Hungary is not a one-man-team, but Nagy is undoubtedly a key figure at both ends of the court. An excellent defender with a lethal shot and physical presence throughout the 60 minutes will be sorely missed by a team that relies heavily on their massive defensive wall.

Worrying results 

The expected problems Hungary will face in Denmark came to light in Gyöngyös, where Mocsai’s team took on Czech Republic, Belarus and Poland in their final friendly tournament.

Hungary suffered a narrow defeat to the Czechs then narrowly defeated Belarus, before going down against Poland by seven goals thanks to a second half collapse.

“I know results are important even in friendlies, but this time we were forced to sacrifice the team’s efficiency for the process of building a team for the EURO.

“Time is ticking and we have a lot to do before the tournament in Denmark starts, but I am more optimistic now seeing some players already settled into the team very well,” said Lajos Mocsai after the tournament.

The coach was referring to the 23-year-old right back, Gabor Ancsin of Pick Szeged, who will step into Nagy’s place in attack. The young shooter has what it takes to fill in for the captain and with Gabor Csaszar by his side the pair should take the burden of responsibility for the Hungarian attacks.

Fitness and team building issues

There were four players returning from injuries, but this is not the only reason why the team ran out of steam for the last 10-15 minutes against Poland.

It has always been a problem that pillars of the Hungarian defence are of little use in attack, while the big guns in attack have to be substituted for the defensive phase.

This will not change before the tournament, which means there will be at least two transitional changes.

“We need to work on our physical state, that’s for sure,” said PSG playmaker Gabor Csaszar.

“We had some good periods against excellent teams, now we need to stretch these periods to last for 60 minutes. A group of death awaits us at the EURO, so there’s no room for long goalless periods,” admitted Csaszar.

Match fitness has been a problem for Hungary in the past years but there is now a new found issue.

“Throughout the last couple of years players mainly came from two teams, now our side consists of players from eight clubs. This may cause us problems as far as the unity of our defensive wall and the mutual understanding of game reading in attack is concerned,” explained Mocsai.

With the aid of two excellent goalkeepers, Roland Mikler and Peter Tatai, the Hungarian defence should be as solid as ever to qualify for the Main Round, but in these circumstances Hungary seem more and more like underdogs as the tournament draws ever closer.


TEXT: Bence Mártha / cor
 
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