- Associated Press - Thursday, September 18, 2014

BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) - The Hungarian football federation has fired coach Attila Pinter following a disappointing loss to Northern Ireland in the team’s first qualifying match for the 2016 European Championship.

Federation president Sandor Csanyi says Pal Dardai, a 38-year-old former midfielder who made 61 appearances for Hungary, will take over as interim coach for the team’s remaining three matches in 2014.

Hungary fell 20 places in FIFA’s ranking, to 54th from 34th, after Sunday’s 2-1 loss to Northern Ireland and has failed to qualify for a major international tournament since the 1986 World Cup in Mexico.

Csanyi said Dardai rejected an offer to coach Hungary fulltime as he preferred to remain with Hertha Berlin, where he finished his playing career in 2011 and now oversees youth teams.

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