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Hungary beats Austria

June 16th, 2016

Hungary’s victory against the favourite in the first match the Hungarian side has played in an important international football championship for 44 years fills the cover pages of Wednesday’s dailies. Commentators ponder the political implications. Rapture in Bordeaux, runs the Népszabadság headline in the aftermath of Hungary’ surprise 2 to 0 win over Austria. Magyar Nemzet’s lead article calls the event „A dream come true”. Young fans invaded Budapest’s main boulevard and celebrated the victory until well after midnight. PM Orbán posted one word on his FB  page: “Victory”, while DK Chairman Ferenc Gyurcsány called the performance of the Hungarian side “simply brilliant”.

In his private blog, Magyar Hírlap‘s Zsolt Bayer vituperates those liberal intellectuals who were undecided whether to support the Hungarian side because they feared that potential victories could play into the government’s hand. He singles out Tivadar Farkasházy, a veteran humourist and amateur football expert who was quoted on ATV as saying he would not support the national team “because victory would help Orbán”. “Sane and honest Hungarians are unspeakably happy”, Bayer writes and hopes “Farkasházy, the rat is unspeakably sad”.

On Index, Gergely Tóth believes that it will be PM Orbán who will capitalise on Hungary’s international success in the football world. He calls the structure of Hungarian football “oligarchic” accuses the Prime Minister’s drive to use football for political purposes and concludes that “it is acceptable for someone to root against the national team”.

In its front-end editorial, Népszabadság explains the outburst of enthusiasm on the streets of Budapest recalling that Hungary used to be the world’s best football nation in the early fifties and was a regular World Cup participant for another two decades. This, however, is the first time younger  generations experience the unique feeling of community that this game can produce. That feeling is here to stay even if victory will be followed by defeat, Népszabadság predicts.

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