Team Hungary, fresh off the first win in their history last month against Poland, will play host to the Belgian Barbarians Saturday in one of the ever increasing number of intercontinental games being played in Europe.
The Hungarians had dropped a humiliating 56-0 loss to Serbia in 2015 before shocking a Polish team which had been on the rise. Team Belgium, aka the Belgian Barbarians meanwhile is coming off a 14-6 win over Spain earlier this year.
Hungary enters the game missing a number of starters but head coach Vilmos Gratz is optimistic:
“Although we will not have 6-7 key players for this game, starters such as Martin Szabó and Balázs Szabolcska who were key in the win over Poland will have a chance to step up and make a difference. The Belgians have had to travel and that takes its toll. We are looking forward to a successful match.”
The Belgian squad has been busy under head coach Lee Rosky over the past two years. In only its third year of existence the team has seen steady improvement with so many games now under its belt. In addition to playing Kuwait and Holland last year (17-3 loss) , the Belgians also played Poland (27-20 loss) as well as Slovakia (42-18 win).
“We are looking forward to the game. It has been a while since we played Spain so this will be a great matchup, Hungary just beat Poland which shows that they are more than capable. We have a number of players back from playing abroad who we did not have in Spain so we feel good about the team we are taking.”
Belgium will line up with Tomasz First at quarterback. The veteran signal caller has started in all of Belgium’s international games in the past two years. He is heading to France to play. Running back Arkadi Meerschout will start in the backfield.
On defense Rosky is looking for big games from linebacker and captain Nick Vanhee and defensive lineman Stijn Dossche who is also a captain.
“Beyond anything we just want to continue developing and strengthening as a program. We want to do the Belgium American Football community proud.”