Euro 2020: Sensational Hungary win hearts with terrific performance against France

Taking a look at the Group F encounter between Hungary and France at the Puskás Arena in Budapest, there is certainly a feeling that France could have the easy way out. The Euro 2016 finalists won their group opener against Germany, emerging victorious by a 1–0 margin. Paul Pogba was on top of his game, making his presence felt with a fine display. Kylian Mbappé had similarly damaged his shining reputation. Germany was left in no position to return to complete dominance at every level. Hungary, on the other hand, was defeated by Portugal after a score of 3–0. However, the final score certainly did not reflect the true picture as France soon realised.

The Hungarian team was solidly strong in the first half against the likes of Bruno Fernandes and Cristiano Ronaldo in the Portuguese team, but faltered after the break after a brilliant performance from the latter. There is no shame in giving a game to a football player as powerful as the Juventus attacker. However, the willingness to learn from mistakes and improve was of paramount importance in the defeat against Portugal. Hungary ensured exactly the same, coming up with a stellar performance in a 1-1 draw against France. The team ensured an excellent performance, supported by the fans, who churned out one of the best atmospheres ever seen at a football match. Hungary took full advantage of the opportunity and defended deftly. One of the top performers for the team was defender Attila Fiola.

Fiola’s great performance

Fiola became the first player to score against France in all competitions in the last six matches. Their opener ended up playing 527 minutes without scoring for the national team. The right-back scored a one-two with Roland Salai, beat Benjamin Pavard and Raphael Varane, and dropped his shot past Hugo Lloris. The footballer scored only his second international goal and Hungary’s first at the 2020 edition of Euro.

“We achieved a great result with a great team game. I am proud of the team and also of the fans. It is one of the most beautiful days of my life. Nice to see how well the team played. We are proud of brave football. Was able to perform and was better in attack than against Portugal on Tuesday. Today was amazing,” he was quoted as saying by UEFA.

Fiola received quality support from Salloi and Pieter Gulacci, who stood tall for a long time frustrating the French attackers with their tenacious nature and disciplined gameplay. Hungary had just 34 percent possession against France, made 10 passes and had four touches inside the opposition box which makes it even more unbelievable.

Former England midfielder Jermaine Jenas praised the players’ passion and togetherness.

“You have to love it. The passion, the solidarity that Hungary showed today. They really dug deep to get that result. Their fans are extremely proud of them. France couldn’t do anything right in the second half They got the goal, got themselves back in it but it’s Hungary’s day,” he was quoted as saying by the BBC.

Griezmann makes amends

While Hungary put in a great performance, the French attackers were also faulted for failing to take advantage of the opportunities presented. Karim Benzema initially struggled to connect effectively, after which Kylian Mbappe headed in on goal. The absence of Hungarian captain Adam Szalai, who was forced off midway through the first half with an injury, provided an opportunity for the world champions to take advantage. However, despite being fully set up by Griezmann and Mbappe, Benzema hit a half volley.

Ousmane Dembele contributed to the waste, curling an effort past him. However, Griezmann ensured a goal when the team desperately needed one, taking advantage as Mbappé worked the ball home to smash in the equalizer through a Will Orban deflection. The Barcelona forward scored his seventh goal at the Euros, one ahead of Thierry Henry and nine behind Michel Platini for France. He has played 50 consecutive matches for France. Interestingly, Paris-born Loic Ngo was brought into the starting line-up of Hungary’s 2010 UEFA European Under-19 Championship winning France team, where his roommate was Griezmann.

Bexente Lizarazu, who won the 2000 edition of the Euro with France, termed it a “very average” performance.

“That was a very average France performance. Credit to the performance of the Hungarian team. France was lucky to come back but it was not enough to be a threat. Congratulations to Hungary,” he was quoted as saying by UEFA’s official website.

“60,000 fans here and you could say Hungary got picked on by the fans. They had something to hang on to and boy did they. They showed a great attitude and they were a threat too, but France only have themselves to blame.” is,” read Alan Shearer’s message.

It will be interesting to see how France reacts to this impressive performance against Hungary.

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