Why Hungary friendly will be special for Milos Degenek
Budapest’s Groupama Arena will resemble a Degenek family reunion when the Caltex Socceroos take on Hungary in their final pre-tournament friendly on Sunday morning.
A large gathering of defender Milos Degenek's relatives will be making the four-hour journey up to the Hungarian capital from Belgrade, where the 24-year-old and his family lived as refugees during the Kosovo War before migrating to Sydney in 2000.
As well as being one of the most important chapters in the remaining FIFA World Cup™ preparations, the Yokohama F. Marinos man says the match will have extra personal meaning attached.
“It’s the closest game to my second home (Belgrade) that I will ever play,” Degenek told socceroos.com.au.
“My best friend lives in Budapest and he will be there. My brother will be there, my mum, my dad, both my grandmas, uncles, aunties, a lot of cousins, relatives will be around.
“There is a mini entourage coming, a mini-bus coming full of my family to watch the game.”
Degenek has started and completed 90 minutes in two of the three matches since Bert van Marwijk took charge in January and is confident the Caltex Socceroos are beginning the hit their stride under the Dutchman’s guidance.
Sunday morning’s encounter (1:30am AEST) against two-time FIFA World Cup™ runners-up Hungary represents another chance for the side to demonstrate how far they've progressed.
“The boss sees that we’re getting better at what he wants us to do and we’re getting a better understanding and we’re improving game by game,” the versatile Degenek said.
“It’s very important that we show the boss that we’ve improved in all areas we’ve worked on that we’re better as a team than what we were against Czech Republic.
“Even though they’re 11 days apart, you need to show that we’ve improved and that we’re getting better and better, heading into that France game we’ll be at our peak.”