Rod Liddle

Euros 2021: Hungary’s lockdown lesson for the world

Euros 2021: Hungary’s lockdown lesson for the world
(Photo: Getty)
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Hungary (Orban 1, 90) 2 Europe and the WHO 0

Now THIS was a proper game of football. Fractious and furious, bitterly contested in front of 61,000 magnificently partisan Hungarians in Budapest. Scarcely a mask in sight and certainly not a knee. Orban has had enough of lockdown: Hungary took us back to the old world, that world we quite liked. The Magyars, roared on, fought for everything, inspired by Laszlo Kleinheisler (a Danube Swabian? One of Hungary’s ethnic Germans, persecuted of late and often expelled?) They were undone, cruelly, by a deflection and a penalty, having had a goal of their own disallowed. How I hoped they might win, given that I like Hungary and cannot abide Portugal, ancient allies notwithstanding. Portugal with that grimacing, irritating, halfwit Pepe and the thick-necked martinet Ronaldo. But it was not to be. That score I posted above is doubly misleading. Hungary lost to an own goal by the defender Orban (no relation) and then the same man gave away a penalty. But how I cheered the Hungarians. I still quite fancy living in Sopron, a pretty city only 45 minutes from Vienna – 15 per cent income tax and a vigorous line on immigration. What’s not to like? They may have lost to the cod-munching, gesticulating, histrionic Portuguese – but they showed Europe how the world might be, if we woke up. All those happy, passionate people. And the presence of those fans changed the game – it had an effect.

Meanwhile, the appalling French beat Germany 1-0. This was a very bad day for Team Liddle, then. France were OK, but not much more. In the closing stages Germany piled those crosses in and ran around the edge of the penalty area to absolutely no avail, causing France no problems at all. The German team reminded me – horribly, horribly – of England. They may go out in the group stage.

ITV’s expert for the Hungary-Portugal game was John Hartson. I have downed drinks with lobotomised halfwits in Stoke, parlayed with Islington airheads and Cornish people who couldn’t count past five. But I have never met anyone as stupid as Hartson. Is he there because of some quota for the intellectually 'special'?

Man of the Match – Laszlo Kleinheisler (Hungary)

People of the Match – Hungary.