Determined Hungary holds France to a 1-1 draw

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(BBC SPORT) Antoine Griezmann rescued a point for France and denied Hungary one of the big European Championship shocks in front of a raucous 60,000 crowd in Budapest.

Attila Fiola fired Hungary into the lead just before the break as he held off the French defence to slot home after a one-two with Roland Sallai.

The goal was met by one of the loudest celebrations football has heard since March 2020 – or even before then – as the Puskas Arena went wild.

Fiola banged a pitchside reporter’s table and knocked items off before he and his team-mates embraced some of the fans in the front row. World champions France, tipped by many as the tournament favourites, had dominated the first half, with Kylian Mbappe in lively form again, before that goal.


Les Bleus were not impressive, although they did come back in the second half. First, substitute Ousmane Dembele hit the post – and then his Barcelona team-mate Griezmann equalised. Mbappe ran onto Hugo Lloris’ huge kick down the field before laying it off – with the aid of a slight deflection – for Griezmann to slot home from eight yards.

The atmosphere was electric, but neither side could find a winner. There was almost late drama when Presnel Kimpembe appeared to be fouled in the box by Sallai – but France were not given a penalty – and Raphael Varane headed wide with the last touch.

France, on four points, have probably done enough to reach the last 16 from Group F – although it is not guaranteed yet – and Hungary have kept their qualification hopes alive. Germany, who lost to France in their opening match, face Portugal at 17:00 BST in Munich.

Magyars’ magic moment

Whatever happens now, Hungary fans will always have the moment Fiola – a 31-year-old who has never played for a club outside his country – stunned the world champions.

He headed the ball into the path of Sallai, who flicked it back onto him. Fiola ran away from Benjamin Pavard and Varane to beat Lloris. The celebration inside the Puskas Arena – the only venue at Euro 2020 to allow full crowds – was undoubtedly one of the moments of the tournament so far.

It was made even more impressive considering they lost their captain Adam Szalai to injury midway through the first half on a day where temperatures hit 30C, necessitating a drinks break in each half. Hungary held out Portugal for 80 minutes in their opening game before conceding three goals. When Griezmann finally broke through you wondered if they would suffer a similar fate, but they held on. They had few chances to win themselves, although Sallai’s deflected shot needed to be saved by Lloris.

A win over Germany on Wednesday would probably take them into the last 16, but that game will be in Munich and not Budapest.

Decisions for Deschamps to make

France were a huge disappointment in this game – partially because so much is expected of them.  They beat Germany 1-0 in their opening game, through an own goal, in a match they controlled but rarely dazzled in.

Karim Benzema was added to the team who won the 2018 World Cup after a long international exile, but he did not appear to click fully with livewires Mbappe and Griezmann. France had seven shots in the first half with Mbappe involved in the first six. He had four himself and created two chances for team-mates.

The Paris St-Germain striker headed a couple of efforts off target and flicked the ball into the path of Benzema to half-volley wide. It appeared a matter of time until their goal came, but Hungary struck first. They did not improve much after the break but Dembele went close when he hammered a shot off the post.

Griezmann was the top scorer at Euro 2016 and became the joint third top scorer in the tournament’s history when he buried Mbappe’s deflected pass. You wondered if an onslaught might come after that – and Olivier Giroud replaced Benzema – but they only had two more efforts on target, from Mbappe and Corentin Tolisso.

Now they need something from Wednesday’s final game against Portugal to ensure getting out of the group – and Deschamps has to work out how to get the best out of a talented group of players.

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