The Hungarian national team will play two friendly matches this year following the last two World Cup qualification games in October; away to Luxembourg and at home to Costa Rica.
The Hungarian national team has two matches remaining in the current World Cup qualification campaign; away to Switzerland in Basel on 7 October, and then at home against the Faroe Islands on 10 October at the Groupama Aréna. It has been announced that following these matches the team will play two further friendly matches this year; away to Luxembourg on 10 November, and then at home to Costa Rica on 14 November.
First-ever meeting with Costa Rica
Costa Rica are the most successful national team in the Central American region, having won the CONCACAF championship on three occasions, and the Copa Centroamericana on eight occasions. They are the only Central American nation to qualify for four World Cups and currently lie 21st in the world rankings.
The team made their World Cup debut in Italy 1990, reaching the second round. They also made it to the finals in 2002, 2006 and 2014, and on that most recent occasion progressed as group winners from the ‘group of death’ containing England, Italy and Uruguay, and disposing of Greece in the last sixteen before being knocked out by the Netherlands in the quarter-finals on penalties.
Costa Rica have not yet secured qualification for the 2018 World Cup but only require one point from their final two matches to do so (indeed if other results go their way they might not even require a point).
Star players include Real Madrid goalkeeper Keylor Navas, team captain Bryan Ruiz, who plays for Sporting CP in Portugal and has 105 caps, midfielder Celso Borges of Deportivo La Coruña, forward Joel Campbell of Arsenal who is currently on loan to Real Betis, as well as Ádám Nagy’s Bologna teammate, centre-back Giancarlo González.
Costa Rica have only lost three of their last 21 international matches, during which time they have defeated Russia (4-3 in Krasnodar), as well as the USA (4-0 and 2-0 in their World Cup qualification campaign). Head coach Óscar Ramírez won 75 caps for Costa Rica and has been in charge since 2015.
Hungary have never played Costa Rica at senior level, but the teams did meet in the 2009 U20 World Cup, Hungary prevailing on penalties after a 1-1 draw in their 3rd place play-off match. Playing that day was goalkeeper Péter Gulácsi – who saved three penalties – whilst current national team members Balázs Megyeri, Ádám Kovácsik, Roland Varga and Krisztián Németh were also in the squad. Current internationalists Kenner Gutiérrez, Bryan Oviedo, Cristian Gamboa, Marco Ureña and Pedro Leal were key members of the Costa Rica squad.
100% record against Luxembourg
Luxembourg currently lie in 101st place in the world rankings and have never qualified for a major competition albeit their qualification results have showing steady improvement in recent years. In September they held group-leaders and favourites France to a 0-0 draw having already beaten Belarus 1-0 a few days earlier.
Hungary and Luxembourg have met on ten previous occasions, Hungary winning all ten and with a goal-difference of 47-10. The last time the two teams met was in 2011 when an Imre Szabics goal gave Hungary a 1-0 victory. Three players from the current squad – Ákos Elek, Balázs Dzsudzsák and Ádám Pintér – played in the match.