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Marco Rossi exclusive: His meteoric rise, Hungary hopes & PM Orban

The Hungarian national team has shown great growth in recent years...

Under the guidance of Marco Rossi, Hungary can clinch qualification to the European Championships for the second consecutive time. Before their appearance at the 2016 Euros, Hungary's last qualification had been in 1972.

But it's no foregone conclusion, with the Wales of Gareth Bale and Ryan Giggs waiting for them in Cardiff. A draw will be enough for Hungary to secure a second qualification to an international tournament in the last four years - something not seen since the four-year period of 1978-1982.

Needless to say, Hungarian fans are full of anticipation this week.

Tribalfootball talked about this and more with Rossi, Hungary's manager.

On the possible Euro 2020 qualification, the Italian said: "It would be a great thing. Among other things, Budapest is one of the 11 cities that will host the final phase. We could play in the new Puskas Stadium which we inaugurated last week versus Uruguay. Hungarians love football in a visceral way. It would be a dream come true, both for them and for us."

Given the excellent results obtained by the Italian in Hungary, we asked if he had had contact with Viktor Orban, the Hungarian Prime Minister: "With Orban I have an excellent relationship. We only talk about football because he is a fan as well as a connoisseur, unlike me, in fact I'm not very competent in politics!"

A great career abroad, which includes a Scudetto with Honved in Hungary, for now Rossi has not had a chance in Serie A, where he played at a high level - winning the Italian Cup in 1994 in the shirt of Sampdoria.

It is a very curious case, considering the importance of the success achieved on the bench of Honved and the swirl of coaches that we see every season in Serie A.

Many teams from Serie A could have given the present manager of Hungary a chance, but for now he tells us: "From Italy I get calls from my mother, my brothers and friends... In seven years I talked a couple of times with club managers and not for reasons that concerned me directly."

Rossi's debut as coach goes back to 2004/2005, on the bench of Lumezzane. From Lumezzane to playing for Euros qualification with Hungary shows a truly exponential growth.

This is exactly what we wanted to discuss with Rossi, if he still remembers his experience with Lumezzane: "Of course. I started from Lumezzane and, honestly, after the first year, I thought I was destined for a decent career in Italy. So it wasn't my fault either, but fortunately for me, I discovered Hungary (and Honved) that I knew from my teens and which I now love and consider as my second home. So I hope I can leave a mark of my passage here."

A sentiment his adopted nation will no doubt being hoping for. Under the leadership of Marco Rossi, Balázs Dzsudzsák and his companions have literally changed Hungary's reputation: 4 games, 3 wins and 1 defeat. An excellent score, which could improve even more with a victory against Wales…

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Matteo Vitale
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Matteo Vitale

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