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[FM20] Not Going Hungary in Quarantine


Disney and Curling Expert
I’ve been playing Football Manager in my usual comfort zone in England taking a team from the Championship into the Premier League and finally into European competition. I wanted something different. Something that could hold my interest so I don’t go crazy. I’m trying, for the first time, a club and country save and had it narrowed down to two countries with very little European history, Norway and Israel. I settled on Israel and chose Maccabi Haifa for my team.

Dutch-Israeli Raz Van de Vliert takes over Maccabi Haifa. The 30-year old manager has earned all of his coaching badges and has played at the national level professionally before having his leg shattered by a Nigel de Jong tackle. He is a Louis van Gaal disciple and will be bringing “Van Gaal Ball” to both Maccabi Haifa and to the Israeli National Team.

Press high. Press often. Keep the ball.

Maccabi Haifa is one of the “big four” teams in the Israeli Premier League but has won the third most titles with most of the titles coming the 2000s and last in 2010. So, they are in a bit of dry spell. They share the second largest ground in Israel, the Sammy Ofer Stadium which seats just over 30,000 people, with Hapoel Haifa.

I’ll have a full roster breakdown in the next post because there are a lot of players on the roster to sift through including a lot of players who are out on loan.

The board have the desire to be the best club in Israel. I have the desire to be the best club in Israel and we share a similar view in how to get there. Sounds like a match made in heaven.

The Israeli National Team has had a very interesting history.

1930-1938: Attempted to qualify for the World Cup as the Mandatory Palestine National Team

1954-1974: Attempted to qualify for the World Cup as part of the Asian Confederation

1958: Qualified for the Asian Games (group stage)

1970: Qualified for it’s only World Cup

1972: Asian Games Runner-up (won 2nd round group stages against North Korea and Kuwait by forfeit)

1974: Kicked out of the Asian Confederation due to the Arab League Boycott of Israel

1974-present: Attempted to qualify for the World Cup as part of UEFA

1994: Joined UEFA as a full member

The Israeli National Team has never qualified for the European Championships or the World Cup as a member of UEFA. They currently reside in Division C for the UEFA Nations League and finished in 2nd place, behind Scotland, in their group for the 2018-19 cycle. They should be in Division B for the 2020-21 cycle which has yet to be generated by Football Manager.

The short term goals for the team is to improve the ranking from it’s lowly 93rd place. This is a country that was ranked as high as 15th in FIFA’s ham-fisted rankings despite not ever qualifying for a continental competition or World Cup.

This is the Israeli roster that I was handed for their June 18, 2019 friendly against England which should be fun considering the game starts on June 17, 2019. I’ll, basically, be throwing a team out there and seeing what happens before moving into the fall European Championship qualifying matches where I will putting the “Van Gaal Ball” stamp on this team as well.


Disney and Curling Expert
I screwed up my Getting (Is)Rael in Quarantine save by not doing the name and national team fixes when the database updated to 20.4. So, I decided to scrub the save since I didn't want to wait 8-16 years for the German National Team to have a team full of non-grayed out players. I've switched nations too. We are now Not Going Hungary in Quarantine!



Disney and Curling Expert
First four matches with MTK in the books: All wins. Nine goals scored. Zero goals allowed. No matches played with the Hungarian National Team as of August 14, 2019.

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Disney and Curling Expert
First two international matches in the books. A 0-0 draw against Israel and 3-1 victory in the European Championship Qualifier against Azerbaijan. The win moves Hungary up one spot in the September 2019 Coca-Cola FIFA Rankings to 57th. Friendlies for the first half of 2020 are scheduled.Football Manager 2020 4_9_2020 8_23_53 PM.png
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TWINK Stadium
Looks like your initial sim was rough for qualifying. Fun fact in that is the initial sim results are based on nation talent or w/e. I've set up countries like Singapore/Hong Kong etc. to be stronger only to see them start off qualifying in 1st place.


Disney and Curling Expert
Looks like your initial sim was rough for qualifying. Fun fact in that is the initial sim results are based on nation talent or w/e. I've set up countries like Singapore/Hong Kong etc. to be stronger only to see them start off qualifying in 1st place.
Yeah, they really hosed us with a 0-3-0 start.


Disney and Curling Expert
A tough set of international results in October. Points lost against Wales and poor set piece defense in Croatia.

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Disney and Curling Expert
The midway point of the 2019-20 season has been completed and it has going exactly how I expected it to. I’ve had great success domestically with MTK and struggled on the international scene with Hungary. I’ve been running the same formation with both MTK and Hungary. The difference is coming from a talent standpoint. We are head and shoulders the best team in the Hungarian Second Division. In our European Championship qualifier group, we are nowhere near the best team but our formation and style of play is bringing us closer to the top tier of the group even though it doesn’t show on the field.

European Qualifiers

The first three matches were simmed when the game was started. In real life, Hungary’s first two European qualifiers have the following results: 3-1 victory against Azerbaijan, and 1-0 victory over Wales. Six points from two matches before the save start date on June 21. In my save, Hungary took zero points from three matches. Under my management, we took seven points from five matches. Six of those seven points in victories over Azerbaijan, who were an absolute doormat. We claimed a 1-1 draw against Wales in a match that we completely dominated.

We outshot them. Dominated possession. But we walked out of the stadium with only a 1-1 draw and I looked it as two points lost instead of one point earned. We should have walked away with three points. In the end, it did not matter to the final table as we were locked into a fourth place finish after our poor start to the qualifying campaign.

Wales and Croatia advance to the 2020 European Championship. Azerbajian finished in last place with zero points and only three points scored. Slovakia took third place and Hungary took fourth place. With all that said, somebody needs to explain to me how the European Championship qualifiers work but I don’t understand how a fourth place finish in our qualifying group earned us a trip into the European Championship Qualifier Playoff against Poland.

Hungarian Second Division
The domestic scene has been a cakewalk. We’ve played twenty matches. Won fifteen matches and drew the other five. No losses. There were no games where we even in a position to lose the game. We are just that much better than everyone else in the division. I can pretty much roll the ball out and let them play. We could line up in just about any formation and win the game. As a result, there won’t be a lot of player discussion. That will come in later editions after I’ve grown some attachment to the players and done some scouting to bring in even better players that are currently on the roster.

We’ve got a 12-point/four-game lead over second place Kazincbarcika, which is one of our affiliate clubs. We have a 15-point/five-game lead over third place Szeged-GA. The top two teams get promoted into the top flight so we really just marking time until the P goes next to our name and then the C when we clinch the league title. Then, the save will swing into top gear.


Disney and Curling Expert
After getting sent out of the 2020 European Championship Qualifiers, 2-0, by Poland. The second half of the season was focused mainly on getting MTK promoted into the top tier of Hungarian football. It was a pretty easy task since we had spent the entire season in first place and there really wasn’t much to change that fact. In short, it was a mainly getting through the remainder of the season and into the offseason where the heavy lifting was going to take place.

We had one hiccup the entire season or else we have gone undefeated. We still won the league by 27 points and were 28 points clear of the 3rd place team. Promotion was always in the cards. I can’t remember which team we lost to but we had an early red card, got down 1-0, battled back to 1-1, and then completely fell apart in the second half to lose 3-1. Oh well, maybe in about 10-15 years once MTK is rolling as the top team in Hungary, I can make another run at going undefeated.

The offseason was going to be a very busy one. During the spring, the board signed an affiliate deal with Lillestrom where they have the first option on any of our players and they can send us players on loan at no cost to MTK. The youth intake was decent but nothing to write home about. In general, they are hard-working but not very good on the whole. A few will reach the senior team but I don’t have a lot of hope for a lot of them.

Another change on the affiliate front is directly tied to our youth team. We have (or should I say had) a partner ship with Liverpool. We would host a friendly with a Liverpool team every season and all the gate receipts will go to MTK but Liverpool did not have to play a full-strength team. In exchange, we could send academy players to Liverpool and come through their youth academy. After our mediocre youth intake, this became a deal breaker for us. I didn’t want, potentially, our best academy players going to Liverpool and becoming Liverpool academy players so I discontinued the partnership.

Looking forward to the 2020-21 Season

My biggest priority of the offseason was to boost the squad to compete in the top tier. There were a lot of players (mostly U19 players who had aged out of the U19 team) that were sent away on loan. A few players were sold to smaller clubs and one player who got unsettled by a larger club offer and was sold as well but not before I got 40% of his next transfer fee included in the offer.

We only brought in two players on cash transfer and one was very expensive from Argentina. Two more players were brought in on frees. Those are the key additions that I’ll focus on in this post. Menzi was unsettled by Ferencvaros. I wanted a lot more than 230,000 Euros but getting a 40% of the next sale clause was important. I felt he had the potential to go on to be a great player. Just a shame, he won’t do it for MTK. All of the players on loan had zero chance of playing for the senior side this season so they were sent out. Most of them will be released when their contract expires in June.

Jonathan Beron is our most expensive signing and probably will be our most expensive signing for a long time at 1.5 million euros but, right now, I think the price tag is worth it. MTK has a 32-year old and a 30-year old as the top two centre forwards. There is a 17-year old Hungarian down in the U19 team but he’s not fully ready for the senior squad. Beron is. If he does well, he gets sold for more than 1.5 million euros that we spent for him. If he does not, he could take the role of the backup if the 17-year old develops. He has a three traits which I think will make an elite center forward. His 14 finishing, 14 dribbling and 14 first touch is better than average for most of the teams in the league. He has 14 decision making and 13 off the ball. These should rapidly develop as well. By the time he turns 21, he should be the best center forward in the league.

Ciao also comes from South America and immediately becomes our first choice goalkeeper. His salary is higher than Beron but his transfer fee was much less. His old club were looking to get any amount of money for him since he was going to run down his contract that expired in December. I swooped in and took him for the cut rate price of 35,000 euros. The only negative is the agent did not want to sign unless there was a minimum fee clause in the deal which stands at 650,000 euros. If he goes for this amount, I’ll make over 18x profit on the deal which is fine by me. Our goalkeeper position is weak. Ciao fills a major position of need.

Right back Tiago Cameta has the ability to give both the offense and defense that I’m looking forward out of the position. He is a vast upgrade from the aging Noel Fulop who was released after Cameta was brought into the team. Cameta’s only weakness is his heading ability which shouldn’t be that be of a negative given the rest of his all-around game. Really looking forward to having him on the roster.

Christian Zock is the weakest of the four key signings for the club this offseason. He is a very smart center midfielder who is a great passer of the ball. His biggest problem: he is slower than a glacier. It is this lack of speed that will keep him out of the starting lineup on a consistent basis. He’s still a good option to bring on late in games when the other team is tired and his lack of speed is less of a concern as he will be running against tired players.

Meanwhile in Hungary

There are two items of note for the Hungarian National Team during the summer of 2020 while all of the top nations were participating in the Euros.

The first is our draw the 2020-21 Nations League

We were given a very tough draw with Bulgaria, neighboring Slovakia, and Wales (again!). Getting 3rd place and staying the B Division will be a very tough ask.

The second is our successful friendly against Finland.

A very professional job by the squad against “lesser” opposition. On to the difficult Nations League group!


Disney and Curling Expert
After four matches in the UEFA Nations League, Hungary goes 2-1-1 and resides in second place behind Wales due to a 1-0 head-to-head loss.

Reactions: NML


Disney and Curling Expert
Hungary will be participating in the Nations League Division A for the next Nations League cycle. Hungary defeated Wales for the first time in three tries and then drew with Slovakia to take the division.

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