Hungary are emerging from the shadows of the past as they close in on a place in the European Championship round of 16, coach Bernd Storck said on Saturday.
His team fought back to draw 1-1 with Iceland, leaving them top of group F with four points from two games in their first appearance in the tournament since 1972.
“It was a great shadow when I started,” German Storck told a news conference. “People live in the past and we need to support this new generation and give them a little time.”
Hungary finished World Cup runners-up in 1938 and 1954 but have not qualified for the global showpiece event since 1986.
“We have a lot of work ahead of us, we want to motivate and develop the team,” Storck said. “After all these years without
success it’s great for the fans. We are very happy.”
Hungary dominated possession against Iceland but failed to create clear chances until they forced an own goal from defender Birkir Saevarsson with a slick move two minutes from time.
“It was luck but well-deserved,” Storck said. “We dominated and tried to create chances but were not very accurate in the last third and Iceland defended very cleverly.
“My side did not give up and always believed and deserved this point. We have invested everything to get it.”
Storck complimented Iceland, who also drew their opening match against group favourites Portugal.
“We’ve played against strong opposition. Portugal struggled against them, they are very experienced,” Storck said, suggesting they were performing with the same solidity that they displayed in the qualifying tournament.
“They didn’t concede many against Netherlands, Czech Republic and Turkey in the qualifiers and you won’t get many chances against this side,” Storck said.