Euro 2020: France finds equalization against Hungary to avoid a big upheaval in Budapest
France needed an equalizer from Antoine Griezmann in the second half to avoid the biggest upheaval of the tournament.
Hungary, who were once again playing in front of a rowdy crowd at the European Championship, held the world champions to a 1-1 draw on Saturday.
After Kylian Mbappe and Karim Benzema lost chances, Griezmann scored in the 66th minute to cool the spirits of a crowd who provided unwavering support for Hungary throughout the Group F game.
It was Griezmann’s 38th goal for France, placing him three behind third Michel Platini on the national team’s scoring list, and he did a little celebratory dance in front of the fans in blue shirts.
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Budapest‘s 67,215-seat Puskas Arena is the only Euro 2020 stadium to accommodate full crowds, and it has created an unforgettable atmosphere.
“This is the first time with a full stadium, it’s different from what you’re used to,” Griezmann said. “You don’t hear anything. We couldn’t even get along on the pitch. But it’s a great pleasure to play in front of fans again.
Hungarian fans went wild when Attila Fiola gave the home side the lead.
Hanging on to the ball after Roland Sallai won a header down the left flank, Fiola burst into the penalty area and held back defender Raphael Varane before slicing the ball into the bottom corner.
Flares were ignited and Hungarian goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi had to remove discarded paper from the stands that landed in his penalty area.
Mbappe and Benzema both lost chances ahead of the Hungarian goal.
“We should have been ahead. It’s not good enough considering what we expected, but it’s football, ”France coach Didier Deschamps said. “They scored with their only chance. Given the context, we will take the point.
Considering the quality of their opponents, Hungary’s draw was more like a win and Gulacsi pumped his fists as the crowd gave the players a massive ovation.
“Today we managed to gain some glory,” Hungarian coach Marco Rossi said through an interpreter. “Tomorrow, life will continue as usual.
The Hungarian players lined up in front of their home fans behind a goal after the game and held their hands over their hearts as the crowd sang.
“Hungarian fans are unmatched. We have unique fans, ”Rossi said. “That’s why we work so hard to make them happy. “
Many fans waved the green-white-red national flag, while others were dressed in black T-shirts with the inscription Magyaroszag (Hungary). Still others stood shirtless behind one of the goals in the bright afternoon sun.
The France team did however have some of their own fans, around 5,700 of them, according to UEFA.
The mood turned intimidating when sections of the crowd mocked the French national anthem, La Marseillaise. But France had enough chances to calm them down in the first half.
The unmarked Mbappe took a broad header from left-back center Lucas Digne in the 18th. Benzema then gave a straight shot when he hit Mbappe’s smart shot from behind and sent a wide shot near the penalty spot.
Benzema still has not scored in the competition, having failed at Euro 2008 and Euro 2012. He was excluded from Euro 2016.
“As a forward he knows what people expect from him,” Deschamps said. “But the main thing is that he remains confident and that I continue to believe in him.”
Mbappe hasn’t scored in this tournament. Both had a goal ruled out for offside in the 1-0 win against Germany on Wednesday (New Zealand time).
The draw gives Hungary one point in the group ahead of Thursday’s (NZT) game against Germany in Munich. Double champion France has four points and will stay in Budapest to face defending champion Portugal.
“It’s not like we’re going to run over everyone,” Deschamps said. “We still hold the cards. If we win, we will finish first.
Deschamps could have an injury concern for this match.
Substitute Ousmane Dembele, who hit the post moments after coming on in the second half, came out late in the game after appearing to have injured his knee.
“I hope it’s just a minor injury,” said Deschamps. “We will know more in the coming days.