Team Hungary downs Czech Republic to capture Three Nations Cup

Team Hungary played shutdown football in the second half, keeping the Czech Republic off the scoreboard for the final two quarters and came away with a 23-15 win to capture the Three Nations Cup title at New Hidegkuti Nándor Stadium  in Budapest, Hungary this past weekend.

More than 5000 delighted fans were on hand to watch the final game of the three-country international tournament. The two teams had already beaten Slovakia earlier this fall so this game was for the championship.

Team Hungary last met Team Czech Republic three years ago.

Photo: Norbert Radó

Although the visitors started better with an interception by Czech defensive back Tomás Svoboda, the first scoring drive belonged to the home squad. Quarterback Márk Bencsics threw a 40 yard touchdown pass to his Budapest Wolves teammate Ádám Elek. Benjamin Lyons kicked the extra point: 7-0.

The Czechs equalized quickly as quarterback Jan Bláha scored and Lukás Dlouhy’s added the extra point.

In the second period, the Czechs took the lead with a Jan Dunovsky rushing TD and two points from Dlouhy 

Hungary responded as Lyons’kicked a field goal narrowing the gap to 15-10. Márton Czirók hauled in a seven yard touchdown pass and Lyons’ kicked his second extra point to give Hungary a 17-15 lead.

Then the Hungarian defense rose up, stopping the Czechs. It was a costly stop for the visitors however as Bláha got injured after a sack leaving the Czechs without their starting quarterback for the second half.

Photo: Norbert Radó

The third and fourth quarters belonged to Team Hungary’s defense.

The visitors came out with Pavel Mráz as the new signal caller but things did not start well as he fumbled the ball in the first play after a hit from defensive tackle Mihály Bánfi. The loose ball was recovered by Hungarian linebacker Tamás Törzsök and defensive tackle Szabolcs Bíró.

The home squad could not score touchdowns but increased the lead on two field goals from Lyons’ to extend the lead to 23-15.

In the last quarter, the Czechs’ offense put some pressure on the Hungarian defense. But Hungarian defensive back Martin Szabó intercepted a Mráz pass on Hungary’s 10 yard line to snuff out a drive.

The home team remained scoreless but the defense stood solid. Mráz fumbled again following a sack by Hungarian defensive end Dániel Stadler.  Ádám Magyar recovered the fumble for Team Hungary.

At the end, the Czechs still had a chance to go for overtime, but Szabó picked off another Mráz pass and could have scored but he was stopped inside the visitor’s five yard line.

Bencsics took a knee to end the game and Hungary came away with a 23-15 win over the Czech Republic and the inaugural Three Nations Cup trophy.

László Makranczi is a radio reporter, announcer and American Football journalist in Hungary. He lives in Debrecen and works for the Hungarian American Football Federation. Studied at the University of Debrecen, got a master’s degree in American