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1934: Ivan Sharpe comments on Hungary vs. England

Author: Isaque Argolo | Creation Date: 2023-02-09 02:05:02

Data providers: Isaque Argolo.
— Ivan Sharpe | 11/05/1934 —

"You not only preach, but practice fair play," said the president of the Hungarian Football Association (Dr. Uzetty) at the banquet which followed the England team's defeat at Budapest yesterday.
He went on to say: "Thank you for the lesson in good sportsmanship you have given us to-day, and for all those lessons you gave us in the early days, 25 years ago, on how to play."
Such was the tribute paid to English football after yesterday's defeat, but the England manager, Mr. Wreford Brown, freely admitted in his reply that the better team had won.
The match was a triumph for the Hungarian team and a sorry day for England. The score did not reflect the true run of the play. England should have been beaten by twice as many goals.
It was not the heat — it was not that the England team were tired — it was simply the dry ground and the complete superiority of the Hungarians in controlling the lively ball.
Tom Whittaker, the Arsenal trainer, told me afterwards this was one of the best teams he had ever seen. LIKE NOVICES.
For years I have been writing of the merits of some of the Continental countries, but no one seemed to take much notice. Now we have got what was coming to us. We were lucky to make a draw at Rome last year, and we were lucky not to have been beaten by four or five goals at Budapest.
The plain fact is that our players are not taught ball control, and on a dry ground they look like novices alongside such Continental countries as Hungary and Austria.
That is plain speaking, but it is the truth.
The time has come for plain speaking, and I tell you that we are in danger of another defeat next Wednesday by Czechoslovakia.
It is not a new experience for an England professional team to lose on the Continent. This is their third fall in five years. But it will be a new and humiliating experience if we lose both games this trip. EXPECTED TO LOSE.
Yesterday, Sternberg, the left back of the successful Hungarian team, said to me, "We expected to lose by several goals."
That is true enough. One could see it in the way the Hungarian team started. They were scared of the reputation of their famous English opponents and for then minutes did not play at all well.
I remember the same thing happening when Austria played England at Chelsea a couple of years ago. They were so much in awe of our reputation that they gave two goals away in ten minutes at Stamford Bridge, yet we scraped home by only 4-3 at the finish.
The plain truth is that these fellows of Central Europe are fine players, and we had only three men yesterday who could compare with them. A GREAT DEFENCE.
These were Moss, in goal, and Cooper and Hapgood, the full-backs.
Burrows, of Sheffield Wednesday, was about the next best among the defence, and in attack Brook was fair and about the best forward.
Tilson was smothered, and Carter, of Sunderland, was lost because he was too small and could not get up to the high bouncing ball.
May I conclude with a tribute to the man who taught the Hungarians how to play. Of course, I don't say he was responsible for their present football, but they all say he set them on the right route. That man is Jacky Robertson, the former Glasgow Rangers' international, who later became manager for Chelsea and Glossop.
He is now engaged on the sporting staff of the "Glasgow Daily Record." If he could have seen the Hungarians play yesterday he would have been a proud man.
The Scottish officials who saw Scotland beaten by 5-0 in Vienna in 1931 will know what the humiliation was like when I say that Hungary were as much ahead of England yesterday as the Viennese were in that match two years ago.