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Date: 12/26/2018

Coach: Istvan Csoknyai


Key Players: Mate Lekai (Centre Back), Zsolt Balogh (Right Back), Roland Mikler (Goalkeeper)


Qualification for the 2019 World Championship: Winner of European qualification play-off versus Slovenia


History in Tournament: 1954: DNQ, 1958: 7th, 196: DNQ, 1964: 8th, 1970: 8th, 1974: 7th, 1978: 9th, 1982: 9th, 1986: 2nd, 1990: 6th, 1993: 11th, 1995: 17th, 1997: 4th, 1999: 11th, 2001: DNQ, 2003: 6th, 2005: DNQ, 2007: 9th, 2009: 6th, 2011: 7th, 2013: 8th, 2015: DNQ, 2017: 7th


180 minutes. That’s all the time the Hungarian fans could see their team on court at the EURO Croatia 2018. Three losses – against Denmark, Spain and Czech Republic – eliminated them from the European tournament in just four days. After that January, it was clear it was not going to be an easy year for Hungary and their coach Ljubomir Vranjes.


The Swedish-born World Handball Coach of the Year in 2014 knew his team was in a transition period and he would need all the squad at their 100% in June to beat Slovenia in the Qualification Europe play-off.


So it was in the first leg, in which Hungary enjoyed having legendary right back Laszlo Nagy defending their jersey once again – after resigning from the national team on October 2017. The Magyars defeated the France 2017 bronze medallists 29:24. The game on home soil, however, was challenging from the very beginning. Slovenia finally won the match 26:22. Ljubomir Vranjes’ boys took the 2019 World Championship berth after an incredible 51:50 aggregate result.


Vranjes was coaching Telekom Veszprem HC at the same time. But in October the club’s board decided to finalise his contract and, as a consequence, the Hungarian Federation and him came to an agreement to put an end to their work relationship too.


Balatonfuredi KSE trainer Istvan Csoknyai took charge of the national team for the upcoming encounters, the EURO qualifiers against Slovakia and Italy, and Germany/Denmark 2019. “We have a well-experienced squad; most of the players know each other quite well as they have been playing for the national team for years, which absolutely can be our power,” explains Csoknyai. “On the other hand, we started a new way at the end of October, hence we have and will have a lot to do until the beginning of the World Championship.”


An indispensable athlete for Hungary is Telekom Veszprem HC centre back Matei Lekai, their top scorer at the 2018 EURO with 18 goals and in the qualification matches for the 2019 World Championship – he netted 13 times in total. At France 2017, the 30-year-old playmaker scored 24 goals.


The performance of the Magyars in attack depends a lot on Zsolt Balogh’s level. The 29-year-old Pick Szeged right back is a ruthless shooter – he has accumulated more than 350 goals in his history at the EHF Champions League since his first participation in 2012.


Experienced goalkeeper Roland Mikler (34 years old) plays his club handball for Telekom Veszprem HC and has a key role within the Hungarian side. He finished the 2017 World Championship with a 31% save percentage.


At the Germany/Denmark World Championship, Hungary will meet EURO silver medallists Sweden, Pan American champions Argentina, Asian gold medallists Qatar, Egypt and Angola in Group D. To get ready, they have a final training camp in December and friendly matches against Chile and later on versus Denmark.


“Our main goal is to play against all our rivals with the potential chance of winning. Regarding the whole tournament, it’s also important to manage our forces well enough throughout all matches – we hope it will be 9 or 10 games,” expresses Hungary head coach Istvan Csoknyai.


Follow the Hungarian Federation on their website, on Facebook, Instagram and Youtube.


Group at Germany/Denmark 2019

Group D: Sweden, Hungary, Qatar, Argentina, Egypt, Angola


Games at Germany/Denmark 2019
All times local


Friday 11 January            Argentina vs Hungary (18:00)
Sunday 13 January          Hungary vs Angola (18:00)
Monday 14 January        Hungary vs Qatar (15:30)
Wednesday 16 January  Hungary vs Egypt (18:00)
Thursday 17 January       Sweden vs Hungary (20:30)


IHF & Germany/Denmark 2019 Official Channels

Follow the 2019 IHF Men’s Handball World Championship on our website as well as on our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and YouTube. And make sure you don’t miss anything on the tournament’s official Facebook and Instagram channels.


Photo: Hungarian Handball Federation