A late goal from substitute Dániel Böde gave Hungary a well-deserved victory against the Faroe Islands in the final fixture of the FIFA 2018 World Cup qualifying campaign in the Groupama Aréna in Budapest tonight and ensured a third-place finish for his country in the final group standings.
Another unfamiliar lineup was forced upon Hungary head coach Bernd Storck due to injuries, János Szabó making his first start for his country at left-back alongside Richárd Guzmics and Tamás Kádár at centre-back and Attila Fiola on the right side of defence. Máté Patkai came in for Ákos Elek in central midfield next to Ádám Nagy with Balázs Dzsudzák on the left wing and Zoltán Stieber on the right. Márton Eppel partnered Roland Ugrai upfront.
A tepid first half never really sparked into life, despite home-team efforts on goal from Eppel, Patkai, Ugrai and Dzsudzsák, only the first of which from the host’s captain troubling Faroes goalkeeper Gunnar Nielsen at all, but even that curling 20-metre free-kick was punched clear without serious difficulty.
At the other end of the pitch, the Faroes created one moment of real danger when Gilli Sorensen plucked a long ball out of the air, cut inside and fired low towards goal from the edge of the area, only for Péter Gulácsi to get down well to his left and gather the ball cleanly at the first attempt. There was little else for either keeper to though in an opening period which remained goalless.
Bernd Storck shuffled his pack for the first time at half-time, bringing on Dániel Böde for Márton Eppel but the pattern on the match didn’t change, Hungary on the front foot far more but unable to break down a stubborn, stoic Faroes defence. In came attacking midfielder Dániel Nagy from the bench as efforts to break the deadlock stepped up a gear and finally the clear opportunity which Hungary had craved came to pass, a right-wing corner earned by Roland Ugrai and curled in by Dzudzsák landing at Böde’s feet just five metres from goal.
Faroes goalkeeper Nielsen did extremely well to block the Ferencváros striker’s intial low, first-time shot but he couldn’t do anything about Böde’s second effort on the rebound which found its way past him and nestled in the net to give Hungary a precious lead they never relinquished, despite late pressure from the visitors.
well behind higher-ranked teams Portugal, who have qualified for the World Cup in first spot, and Switzerland, who enter the play-off stage as one of the eight best group runners-up.
Hungary 1-0 Faroe Islands (HT: 0–0) Goal: Böde (81′)
HUNGARY (surnames first): Gulácsi Péter – Fiola Attila, Guzmics Richárd, Kádár Tamás, Szabó János – Stieber Zoltán (Nagy Dániel 66.), Nagy Ádám, Pátkai Máté, Dzsudzsák Balázs – Eppel Márton (Böde Dániel 46.), Ugrai Roland (Sallai Roland 89.)