Hungary's national soccer team has qualified for the 2016 European UEFA championship for the first time since 1986. The achievement follows a 3-1 aggregate win over Norway at Groupama Arena in Budapest.
Hungary's win over Norway in Budapest solidified the team's first major qualifier since Hungary played in the 1986 World Cup.
That triumph, which was sealed following their 3-1 victory on aggregate in front of an ecstatic crowd at the Groupama Arena, is a major achievement for the central European nation.
"I have to congratulate my team, the association president Sandor Csanyi, and also Pal Dardai, who I took over from and he left this team for me," said Hungary's German coach Bernd Storck, who took over in July. "The players' approach was fantastic during those two games, they fought well and deserved to qualify to France."
Hungary went into the game ahead as midfielder Laszlo Kleinheisler marked his international debut with the only goal Thursday during the first leg played in the Norwegian capital, Oslo.
Then, a long ball down the left flank in the 14th minute from Tamas Kadar found striker Tamas Priskin to add another goal to the score.
The closest that Norway came to equalizing was when Even Hovland headed against the Hungary post just before half-time.
Hungary's Laszlo Kleinheisler (left) scored the opening goal during the qualification match against Norway in Oslo
Norway's Haitam Aleesami also had a close-range opportunity blocked by Gabor Kiraly, who was making a record-equaling 101st appearance for Hungary.
Then it was all over when Markus Henriksen diverted a Daniel Bode flick into his own goal in the 83rd minute.
"Congratulations to Hungary, they were better than us over the two legs," said Norway coach Per-Mathias Hogmo. "I am deeply disappointed with our performance, we could not score in Oslo, that was a big setback. All in all, we came up short."
The other three playoffs will be decided Monday and Tuesday when Ireland host Bosnia-Herzegovina after earning a 1-1 draw in the first leg. Ukraine will travel to Slovenia on Tuesday, while Denmark will be striving to overturn a 2-1 deficit at home to neighboring Sweden.
jar/cmk (Reuters, AFP, dpa)