Hungary manager Bernd Storck described his side’s surprise victory over 10-man Austria as a dream come true as the Magyars celebrated their first appearance at a major tournament for 30 years in style.
Striker Adam Szalai, who spent last season on loan at Hannover 96 from 1899 Hoffenheim, gave Hungary the lead with his first goal in 41 matches before a cool, dinked finish from Zoltan Steiber settled matters late on.
“A dream has come true. We hoped for it and we wished for it,” said Storck. “When everyone does their hard work then it pays off. My team has developed well and we got our reward.”
Austria came close to the quickest ever goal at a European Championship as David Alaba struck a post after only 28 seconds but were up against it when defender Aleksandar Dragovic was sent off shortly after the hour mark for a second booking.
Moments before Dragovic’s red, Szalai exchanged passes with Laszlo Kleinheisler before prodding past Austria goalkeeper Robert Almer, while in the dying embers of the clash Steiber broke free and produced an impudent finish to seal victory.
The occasion was notable for former Crystal Palace and Fulham goalkeeper Gabor Kiraly, who at the age of 40 overtook ex-Germany skipper Lothar Matthaus’ record as the oldest player to feature at a championship finals.