Barnabas Varga stable in hospital after fracturing cheekbone in Hungary win over Scotland

Hungary striker Barnabas Varga is stable in hospital after suffering a fractured cheekbone and being taken from the field on a stretcher during the Euro 2024 game against Scotland.

Varga, 29, challenged for an aerial ball with Scotland goalkeeper Angus Gunn in the second-half as he attempted to connect with Dominik Szoboszlai’s free kick. Gunn punched the ball with his right arm and Varga’s head appeared to collide with the goalkeeper’s trailing left arm.

The game was paused for six minutes while Varga received treatment on the field, with sheets held up around him that continued to stay up as he was taken off the pitch on a stretcher.

The Hungarian football federation went on to confirm that Varga had been immediately taken to a local hospital in Stuttgart where his condition was described as stable.

Hungary coach Marco Rossi later confirmed the diagnosis of a fractured cheekbone, that he was briefly unconscious and that the forward is set to undergo an operation shortly.

“I don’t know what happened,” Rossi said. “All I could see was that he collided with the goalkeeper or another opponent.

“It was a confusing situation and that’s why the VAR checked for a penalty. But what the players have told me was that Barni wasn’t conscious and they were very worried about his condition.”

Screens were erected around Varga (Miguel Medina/AFP via Getty Images)

“Everyone was worried because the doctors arrived a bit late,” he added. “I don’t think they realised it was a dangerous situation. But Barni is not in any danger now.

“He fractured here (pointing at his cheekbone) and is going to have an operation in the next few hours. But he is healthy. The most important thing is he’s healthy.

“Of course, and for sure if we go through the competition he will not be any more a part of the team.”

A further statement from Hungary revealed that “several bones” had been broken and that Varga would be spending the night in hospital.

“Several bones in Barnabas Varga’s face were broken during the collision during the match, and he also suffered a concussion,” they said on X.

“The Ferencvaros striker is most likely to undergo surgery. He spends the night in the hospital in Stuttgart. The whole team is rooting for him.”

Varga’s team-mates plan to visit him in hospital on Monday morning.

Following the incident in the 68th minute of the game, referee Facundo Raul Tello Figueroa immediately stopped play and medical staff entered the pitch to attend to both players.

Varga was put into the recovery position while his Hungary team-mates gestured for more medical staff to come onto the field of play.

A stretcher was brought on with a number of visibly distressed Hungary players running to it to speed up the pace that it was delivered before he was applauded off from all sections of the Stuttgart Arena.

Striker Martin Adam was brought on as his replacement.

The incident was checked for a potential penalty by the video assistant referee (VAR) Alejandro José Hernandez Hernandez but no penalty was awarded.

Captain Szoboszlai, the Liverpool midfielder, later dedicated the victory to Varga while winger Roland Sallai said the striker’s condition was “the most important thing”.

“It was a terrible moment to see Barni like that but fortunately he is stable now,” Sallai said. “I think he is probably going to have a minor operation but he’s OK and we cross our fingers for him.”

Endre Botka, a team-mate of Varga at both international level and domestically at Ferencvaros, was close to the incident.

“I was close to Barni during the incident,” he said. “It was shocking, but luckily he is fine.”

“It’s all a bit of a blur,” Gunn said when asked about the incident after the game. “I thought I had to come and I did well. It was painful.

“Hopefully the guy’s alright. I can’t really remember too much about that one.”

Hungary players rushed to get the stretcher on to the field (Marijan Murat/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Varga spent the early part of his professional career in Austria with SV Eberau, SV Mattersburg and SV Lafnitz. He moved to Gyirmot in his native Hungary in 2020 before joining Paks in 2022.

After top scoring with 26 goals in the 2022–23 Nemzeti Bajnoksag I season he moved to Ferencvaros in June 2023. He has gone to make 40 appearances for Ferencvaros, scoring 29 goals.

Varga has 14 caps for his national team having made his debut in March 2023, scoring seven goals. He has started all three of Hungary’s games at Euro 2024, scoring against Switzerland in the opener.

Hungary beat Scotland 1-0 after Kevin Csoboth’s winner in the 10th minute of second half stoppage time. The team celebrated the victory with Varga’s No. 19 shirt.

The result sees Hungary finish third in Group A and Scotland bottom. Hungary can still qualify for the last 16 as a best third-place team depending on results elsewhere.

Additional reporting: Jacob Whitehead

(Top photo: Carl Recine/Getty Images)

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