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Jenő Braun, 1929: Continental Europe ranking
Author: Isaque Argolo | Creation Date: 2022-07-28 16:47:04
Data providers: Isaque Argolo.
Unkown | 03/06/1929
One of the most popular and sought-after referees in continental football, Jenő Braun deserves special attention from our sporting circles not only for his outstanding work in this field, but also because he is equally respected as one of the most thorough and objective experts on football in all the countries where he has had the opportunity to officiate in national team matches.
Braun is head of department at Herrn Pollack's Söhne, the leading textile company on the continent, and refereeing is something he does only on a casual basis. We thought it would be interesting to ask the affable, modest but determined sportsman how he thinks the continent's footballing nations should be ranked.
At our request, the eminent referee provided us with the following statement:
Braun: Over the last six years, I have repeatedly refereed national team matches in various countries of the continent and, apart from the national teams of Denmark, Norway and the Balkan nations, I am familiar with the playing strengths of all the representative European teams. On the basis of my experience, I can objectively state that, despite a few misfortunes, the central European footballing class still shows an absolute superiority in quality in all continental rivals. Vienna, Budapest and Prague play the most substantial football, a mixture of science and art. Of course, there are still enough flaws here, but they are of such a nature that they can be eliminated in a few years with regular and purposeful training. Here I am thinking in particular of ball handling, passing and the harmonious training of players. The most important need in football is tactics, and the Austrians, Czechs and Hungarians can be teachers of footballers of any nation.
» Italy comes next in order after the Profiteers. The Italians have made unparalleled progress in technical terms, but for reasons inherent in their temperament they are unable to produce much in the mental part of the game. I can only give a definitive opinion on the Germans after 29 June. That is the day I will be conducting the match between Germany and Sweden. I saw the German champions 1. FC Nürnberg play Sparta in Prague — a match I also officiated — but I was disappointed with them because, despite the 2:2 result, it was Sparta, now in their faded glory, who put in the better performance.
» I have a high regard for the current playing strength of the Belgians and Dutch and based on my recent experience, I have to put them above the overrated and only at home formidable Spaniards. The main strength of Spanish football is momentum and speed. That is sweetness and light in today's international competition to win special laurels.
» Next in order would be the Swedes, who play cultured football at a good average level. Switzerland are slightly weaker than them, but I consider the Swiss a shade stronger than the Yugoslavs and Romanians, who fought each other in Bucharest in May under my refereeing.
» I would therefore put the rankings as follows:
1. Austria, 2. Hungary, 3. Czechoslovakia, 4. Italy, 5. Germany, 6. Belgium, 7. Netherlands, 8. Spain, 9. Sweden, 10. Yugoslavia, 11. Romania, 12. France.
» I consider the French the weakest of the continental footballers I know.
» I put Austria at the top of the list because we currently have the highest level of quality. I don't share the opinion of those who complain about the general decline in Central Europe. I have only experienced this stagnation in Czech football, where a few outstanding individual players emerge from the ranks at the same time. For the Czechs, the problem is exacerbated by the fact that the football players work listlessly and without ambition.
» Hungarian football has improved markedly in the last three years without, however, reaching the heights of the classic period from 1914-1919. In direct defence the Hungarians have only a very small number of classy players, which gives them a certain handicap against the Austrians and Czechs, who are very strong in this field. There is also a very big shortage of left insiders and centre-forwards in Hungary.
» The Viennese pundits always argue that Austrian football has declined in class since the demise of the great Amateure and Hakoah. If I were to apply the criticism to Viennese football, I would perhaps share this view to some extent. After all, the old Amateure owed its exceptional position primarily to the Konrád brothers, and Schaffer and Lohrmann, who were also foreign players, contributed to its extraordinary success. Amateure then bought Swatosch and Wieser, so it was not really a club team, but a national team. Hakoah also fielded a representative team. Six Hungarian national team stars were in the team. So this is not a good basis for comparison. A much more reliable picture is obtained by juxtaposing the old Rapid and Admira team with the current one. The comparison is in favour of today's Admira and today's Rapid, and that is the case for most of the Viennese league teams.
» The Austrian game is, in my opinion, in a constant state of development and, given the admired skills of the youth teams abroad, the future of the Vienna school is not a cause for concern for the Austrian football community.
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