24.06.2016 19:22 h

Too early for "Magical Magyars" tag, says Kleinheisler

Hungarian midfielder Laszlo Kleinheisler says Hungary could one day again be called the "Magical Magyars", the nickname given to the all-conquering team of the 1950s, but not yet.

"I believe that one day we will be similar to the great teams of the past," the 22-year-old Werder Bremen player told reporters as he prepared for the Euro 2016 knockout tie with Belgium on Sunday.

"But now I'm talking now about the present," said Kleinheisler.

Hungary have wildy exceeded expectations at their first international tournament for three decades, and Kleinheisler has been one of the stars.

"We're putting together a very good team, everyone is continually developing," he said.

Led by the legendary Ferenc Puskas, Hungary lost just one match between 1950 and 1956, the 1954 World Cup final to West Germany.

Famously, they also beat England 6-3 in Wembley in 1953 in a game dubbed the "Match of the Century" in Hungary, and 7-1 in Budapest just before the World Cup the following year.

"It's very difficult to compare the previous Hungarian teams with the present one," said former Watford striker Tamas Priskin, now playing with Slovan Bratislava in Slovakia.

"We cannot live from the past," he said.

The Magical Magyars of the Puskas era broke up after Hungary's failed anti-Soviet uprising in 1956, and although they reached World Cup quarter-finals in 1962 and 1966 the arc was relentlessly downward.

Before Hungary's renaissance at Euro 2016, they had not qualified for a major championship finals since the 1986 World Cup.

By coming third in their qualifying group behind Northern Ireland and Romania, they progressed to France thanks to a play-off win against Norway.

The play-off first leg featured a spectacular goal by Kleinheisler, who was handed his debut that night by Hungary's German coach Bernd Storck, while Priskin scored a similar rocket in the second leg.

"The shadow of the past is huge over Hungarian football," Storck said earlier this week.

One of the pre-tournament rank outsiders, his team have upset the odds by winning Group F ahead of favourites Portugal, Iceland and Austria.