x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 23 July 2017

Hungary close in on next stage

Hungary put themselves in a strong position to qualify for the knockout stages of the competition as they thrashed South Africa 4-0 in their Group F game.

Hungary put themselves in a strong position to qualify for the knockout stages of the competition as they thrashed South Africa 4-0 in their Group F game on Wednesday night. The Hungarians, who play the UAE in their final group game on Saturday, only need a point to be guaranteed their last-16 spot. All the goals came in the second half with Zsolt Korcsmar, Vladimir Koman, Andras Debreceni and Adam Presinger finding the net.

The Czech Republic packed the defence to hold Brazil to a 0-0 draw to secure a place in the knockout stage for both countries. The Brazilian coach Rogerio was critical of the defensive nature of his opponents. "The team played very well today. We couldn't get past the Czech defence," he said. "We here came to play football, while the Czechs came to defend and we hold our heads high."

The Czech coach Jakub Dovalil was unapologetic and said he could come up with no other way to halt the tournament favourites. "We're a small country and we know their skills, so we concentrated on defence. That was our tactic," Dovalil said." Costa Rica bounced back from a first-round thrashing to beat Australia 3-0 in the other Group E game. Diego Madrigal, David Guzman and an own goal from Luke Devere accounted for the goals in the one-sided affair, with the result leaving the Costa Rican manager Ronald Gonzalez pleased with his team's endeavours.

He said: "We pushed our players hard, altered their positions and got a good result. "We didn't defend any harder but we put a lot more effort into counterattacks - and that worked well." sports@thenational.ae