Last week I went to watch a football match between Hungary and Turkey in the Puskás Ferenc Stadium in Budapest. I have never watched a live football match before and thought, sure why not? Prior to going, I was told that Hungary isn’t very good and Turkey is a much stronger team. I really wasn’t expecting much.
To get into the stadium, you have to go through some security checks. Not the metal stands like in airports, but bag and body searching It was rather disorienting because everyone only spoke Hungarian and for some reason my Hungarian brain just completely shut down when faced with so many people in uniform. I managed to mumble out that I don’t speak Hungarian and I was met with the most confused and most shocked faces ever! I’m sure foreigners go to watch matches, so why was it such a shock? My boyfriend (in a different line – they separated by gender) sensed my panic and came to rescue me. I calmed down and finally was able to sort of understand what was going on in Hungarian. For some reason they kept on asking me if I had perfume in my bag. Is it common for girls to go to football matches and bring whole perfume bottles with them? Do girls just walk around the city with perfume in their bag?! What if it breaks? You’d never be able to get the smell out!
The temperatures in Budapest has dropped quite a bit lately. The match started at 8:30pm and we were there over an hour early so we could avoid the long security lines. Accordingly I had packed layers and layers of clothing. The security guards wanted to see inside so I started unpacking my bag – sweater, 2 scarves, a hat, gloves… and it went on. I think eventually they were so fed up with the crazy foreigner who completely over packed that they just let me go, much to my relief. They told my boyfriend to check his umbrella though – such a weird object to check.
The stadium was mostly empty when we arrived. Across the way there were some Turkish supporters, but otherwise, most people were still arriving. Around 7:45, the teams came out to warm up. With 5 minutes to go to the match, the anthems of the two countries were played and then they were off!
The Hungarians in the stands were generally very patriotic and energetic. Whenever a player did well or shot was saved, the crowds would clap and cheer for their players. When a goal was scored, the crowds erupted. It was deafening. But they definitely lacked in sportsmanship. Never have I heard so much booing from a crowd watching a sporting event. You can hear in the video above the booing right at the beginning which followed the national anthem of Turkey. That completely baffled me. How rude! And that booing came up whenever the Turkish team did something that didn’t agree with the Hungarians.
At the end of first half, the score was tied 1-1. But at the beginning of the second half, Hungary had a really well set up goal. Probably the nicest of the whole match. And then a little bit later, Hungary received a penalty kick which I filmed:
You can see how crazy the crowds were! With about 10 minutes to go in the match, one of the players were injured and we decided to make a move. The stadium was really full and we wanted to avoid the floods of people leaving the stadium. I was so happy to be moving – despite have so many layers on I was frozen by the time we left.