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Halmos, 1930: The new Italian football

Author: Isaque Argolo | Creation Date: 2022-11-15 14:39:10

Data providers: Isaque Argolo.
— Armand Halmos | 26/07/1930 —

I'm glad I didn't write this article right after the first Újpest-Ambrosiana match, so that the readers can receive it in a sufficiently calm atmosphere. Since then, Újpest in Milan have grinded out the bruises, saved their chances of progressing and that part of the business is over, at least for the time being. I would rather say a few words about what exactly is the reason for the now fairly constant failure against the Italians?
First of all, I must point out that the reasons for the failure against Italy should not be found in the formulaic solution, for example, that the national team was badly put together, that the best Hungarian eleven was not there, that Újpest were tired against Ambrosiana and so on. The honest truth is that no one in this country had followed the development of Italian football after the 1928 Amsterdam Olympics.
A whole legion of statements and newspaper articles show that almost everyone at home thought of Italian football at the level of 1911 or 1924, when the Italian national team suffered those memorable heavy defeats at the hands of the Hungarians. This atmosphere saw the Italians as not to be taken seriously. Yet I find it impossible that at least authoritative circles would not have been fully aware of the strong foundations on which Italian sport has been built since Mussolini's time, which have been promoted as a state interest, and of the excellent services that many Hungarian coaches have rendered to Italian sport, how the many foreign teams that visited the country year after year had brought about improvements in the most diverse regions, how the Azzurir eleven had already finished a good third place at the 1928 Olympics in Amsterdam and, after a series of victories, had only been beaten by Uruguay, twice world champions, by a third place: 2 in the final, that the Italian national team had beaten Switzerland 4:2, Germany 2:0 and the Netherlands 1:1, all three times on foreign soil, before the trip to Budapest. I myself have written about these phenomena many times, but it seems that even today, in this country, there is still no willingness to give the Italians full credit.
A similar thing happened to Újpest, even though they have already competed a lot in Italy. Újpest's attitude in the first game seems incomprehensible, as these players must have known that the Italians are fast and tough and will fight at full throttle for ninety minutes. I have to say in all honesty that the humanly understandable atmosphere of the Geneva success obviously still had a repercussion here and the resulting light-heartedness must be attributed to the first game lost against Ambrosiana.
Anyone who fully appreciates the strengths of Újpest's team cannot deny the annoyance that arose from the Hungarian champion's firstly frivolous and then literally upset performance.
Ambrosiana deservedly won this match because they were better. This is not to say for a moment that the Italian champion can really play better football than the Hungarian champion, because I know the class of both very well. However, there is no need to look for lessons other than that the team was tired or something like that, because with this match under their belt and after a trip to Milan, the Újpest team still had the strength to save the day on Italian soil, in much more difficult circumstances. Újpest beat Ambrosianas in Milan because they appreciated their opponent and fought with heart, just the opposite of what they did at home.
Every good team can run out of black days, Újpest ran out of black days, not because they were tired, but because in the mood they were in for this match, the game just wasn't going. I don't want to go into the tactical error of why Újpest, that have more culture and play at home, tried to adapt to their opponent's style in front of their own crowd, when their high ball system is the bread and butter of the Italian team, because all their players are excellent headers.
This is not to say that the long ball forward will always be the Italian style now. I suspect that the flat game will soon be more dominant for them, because the new generation is now being led by coaches and the Italian footballer is very receptive. Torino FC, for example, are leading the way in this style, and nowadays they play at least sixty minutes of their ninety minutes on the ground.
Finally, a few words about a nuisance. Finally, there is an unpleasant phenomenon that is perhaps more damaging than the result itself. I am thinking here of the statements made from a slightly elevated position before the matches, which the Italians did not fail to list with emphatic arm waving after the defeat. For example, I read in Italian newspapers that after the tournament in Geneva, one of the managers of Újpest said that Ambrosiana's team is no match for Újpest', or that Volentik said before the first match that I will show Meazza that he will not be as big as he was in the national team game, I will burn him. Or Borsányi, who would have said before the Italy-Hungary match that Orsi will always remember me, I will burn him, etc. Is it right for such famous and highly skilled snorters to show such weakness?
The Italians, of course, have greatly embellished these statements. They mocked, laughed, and some exaggerators made the most blatant mockery of the commentators. Even the more level-headed Italian men were very disgusted by the statements. I was at the Britannia Hotel in Pest, and on the evening of the Újpest defeat, the correspondent of the biggest Italian sports paper, Bruno Roghi, was shaking the Hungarian sports paper containing the quoted statements in his hand, mocking and rejoicing loudly that he was taking these papers to Milan as a souvenir, and that he would publish them in his paper, because he thought it was sensational what the Hungarian football stars thought of the Italians — before the match.
I would very much like to serve Hungarian sport by saying that this sort of thing should never happen again.