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2020. November 13. 11:12  -  David Rechnitzer
Nemanja Nikolic: I am delighted that we can give people something to cheer about in these difficult times

It was a memorable evening in Budapest on Thursday as Hungary defeated Iceland 2-1.

"We actually played a final against Iceland, there was a lot of pressure on both teams. We knew one side would cry at the end and the other celebrate. Naturally our aim was for us to celebrate. Unfortunately, we didn't start the match well and I'm not thinking about the early goal, but, for example, that we couldn't get the ball out of our own half of the pitch as we should have. Instead we started a game that Iceland is very strong at defending. We could not find the rhythm in the match, moreover, Iceland took the lead, which in turn was helpful for us, as we started playing well after 0-1. Luckily we didn’t tighten up, much more I felt like everyone was playing with more freedom. We showed that the national team has a character, we fought for each other and for the Hungarians, the fans, until the last minute. We had huge possession in the second half and I feel we deservedly turned the match around. We obviously had a bit of luck, but we did a lot for that.

In the last 20 minutes I was on the pitch. I also did my best to make the team successful. I’m happy that Loic scored a goal, plus the first team’s goal was such an important one. I remember I had the ball, I was in front of goal, but two Icelandic defenders were also in front of me, I couldn’t really shoot at goal, but then I heard Loic’s voice and then I looked up and he arrived at a great pace. Again, I managed to give a lucky goal pass against Iceland, just like in 2016 in Marseille. I find it fantastic that we got to the European Championships twice in a row, and it’s a special pleasure for me to be a part of both. For a long time, I didn’t think after I gave up the national team that I was going to still celebrate in a national team shirt. I am grateful to national team manager Marco Rossi, who called me back, trusted me, and gave me the opportunity to prove it. The only thing I regret is that there could not be 70,000 Hungarian fans inside the Puskás Arena on Thursday night. At the same time, I’m sure millions watched the match live and cheered us on, and when we scored the goals, everyone jumped into the air at once for joy. We are happy to have smuggled a little joy into people’s hearts during this difficult time.

I know that all people would like to erase and forget 2020, but with this success we were able to contribute a little bit to making this year a little better for the Hungarian people compared to the circumstances. I am very confident that next summer the epidemic will no longer be the focus of things and people will get their usual lives back, and we will be able to play in front of packed stands at the European Championships, at the Puskás Stadium in Budapest." - commented Nemanja Nikolics.

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