Attila Fiola’s sensational first-half run and finish gave a superb Hungary hope of a huge upset against reigning world champions France in the Puskás Aréna on Saturday, and although Antoine Griezmann equalised from close range midway through the second period, Marco Rossi’s hosts can be immensely proud of their 1-1 draw and a brave and invigorating performance.
Hungary head coach Rossi had decided to retain the same 3-5-2 formation as against Portugal with just one change, Loic Nego coming in for Gergő Lovrencsics at right wing-back and Attila Fiola staying in a less familiar position on the opposite side.
This is how the fans marced to the Puskás Aréna, Budapest:
#euro2020 #Hungary VS #FranceKözzétette: Daily News Hungary – 2021. június 19., szombat
Endre Botka, Willie Orbán and Attila Szalai again comprised a compact, three-man defensive line in front of goalkeeper Péter Gulácsi with László Kleinheisler, Ádám Nagy and András Schäfer providing another line of protection in midfield and Roland Sallai and captain Ádám Szalai looking to be involved in counter attacks upfront.
Hungary were combative from the outset but France certainly weren’t shirking any challenges either and many people’s tournament favourites soon started to show their class.
In the 13th minute, Kylian Mbappe’s low shot towards the far-left corner of the Hungary goal was partially saved by Gulácsi but with the goal at his mercy, Antoine Griezmann was thwarted by Hungary’s recovering goalkeeper from the rebound. Four minutes later, Lucas Digne’s left-wing cross found Mbappe’s powerful downward header flew wide and on the half-hour mark, the Paris St Germain forward’s clever pass inside was volleyed just wide of the right post by the arriving Karim Benzema.
Still the French forwards kept coming and in the 33rd minute Mbappe jinked through on goal on the right side of Hungary’s box but could only drag his shot wide of the far-left post. Just when it seemed though that it would only be a matter of time until France broke through,
Fiola turned the game entirely and sensationally on its head,
the Fehérvár defender receiving a long, cross-field pass on the left wing, exchanging passes with Sallai inside him, then surging into the France penalty area and slipping the ball inside Hugo Lloris’s near post to spark incredible celebrations both on and off the pitch.
Half-time came and went, a 15-minute party in the Puskás Aréna tribunes gladdening the hearts of all Hungarian fans present, before normal service was resumed, France forging forward, Hungary defending courageously and stealing possession as often as possible. Just before the hour, France substitute Ousmane Dembele rattled Gulácsi’s near left post with a rising drive from a tight angle on the right side of the penalty area.
A few minutes later, France finally managed to breach Hungary’s hitherto watertight but now tiring defence, Mbappe’s low cross from the right half-cleared by Orbán, only for Griezmann to sweep the ball into the net barely ten metres from goal.
The relief on French faces was all too evident but instead of inspiring an epic onslaught on Gulácsi’s goal, that cathartic equaliser led to a collective becalming as both sides seemed to succumb to the 30-plus degree temperature in which they’d been baking for more than an hour.
The game moved almost at walking pace at times thereafter but France raised themselves just enough to create one more clear opportunity, Mbappe finding space on the left side of the penalty area but then seeing his fierce shot beaten out well by the ever-alert Gulácsi.
That helped secure a famous draw for Hungary and now a win in their final group match against Germany on Wednesday
could even see Rossi’s charges reach the round of 16.