Attila Fiola gave Hungary a surprise lead but Antoine Griezmann ensured France a point in a match they dominated.
Hungary got off the mark in UEFA EURO 2020 Group F as they worked hard to hold France in Budapest.
The finals co-hosts led at half-time through Attila Fiola but Les Bleus hit back via Antoine Griezmann to move on to four points ahead of their group finale against Portugal, where they may well require a point. Hungary must beat Germany in Munich on Wednesday to have a chance of a round of 16 berth.
Match in brief
Hungary began the brighter but France were soon into their stride. Péter Gulácsi did well to deny Karim Benzema from distance and shortly afterwards Kylian Mbappé headed just off target. The Hungary captain Ádám Szalai was forced off injured midway through the first half and the world champions kept pushing, Griezmann and Mbappé combining to set up Benzema, who half-volleyed wide.
There seemed only one team that could score before half-time – but not the side that did. In added time, Fiola played a running one-two with Roland Sallai, beat Benjamin Pavard and Raphaël Varane, and slid his shot past Hugo Lloris.
France continued to press despite that setback and just prior to the hour Ousmane Dembélé, only just introduced,smashed an effort against the post. The equaliser arrived shortly afterwards, a long Lloris clearance finding Mbappé, who worked the ball back via a Willi Orbán deflection for Griezmann to smash in. France now sensed the victory that would take them through with a game to spare, but Gulácsi bravely denied Mbappé and Varane nodded wide with the final touch.
Star of the Match: László Kleinheisler (Hungary)
“A huge game defensively and good in transition.”
Corinne Diacre, UEFA Technical Observer
Andy Clark, Hungary reporter
Another outstanding performance from Marco Rossi’s Magyar Válogatott in front of perhaps the best atmosphere I’ve experienced at a football match. Hungary defended superbly and took their chance magnificently when it arose. They were worthy opponents for the world champions and fully deserve their share of the spoils. Now on to Munich, for the small matter of a match against Germany.
David Crossan, France reporter
On the balance of chances, France will feel they should have got the victory that would have secured qualification. Deschamps stresses being decisive in both boxes and Les Bleus were found slightly wanting in the stifling heat. Will the coach change tactics against Portugal to get Griezmann operating centrally from the off?
Marco Rossi, Hungary coach:”My team played an exceedingly good tactical match, and carried out their business with the correct amount of bravery and heart. I can only thank them. Nowadays, many coaches are convinced that the team wins because of the coach’s tactics. They’re wrong. The players are always the lead characters. Today they performed. It was unimaginable.”
Attila Fiola, Hungary goalscorer: “We achieved a fantastic result with a great team game. I am proud of the side, and also the fans. This is one of the most beautiful days of my life! It was great to see how well the team played. We were able to showcase braver football and were better in attack than against Portugal on Tuesday. Today was amazing.”
Loïc Négo, Hungary defender:”We worked hard. After the defeat to Portugal, we knew that we had to pick ourselves up, and do it against the best. We worked, we analysed the details, big and small. We’re happy, but there’s a little frustration because we felt the three points were within our reach. There was some emotion during the anthems, but after the first whistle I was focused on what I had to do. I spoke with [his former France youth team-mate] Griezmann. I understand his frustration. That means we did our job; I’m happy to see him frustrated.”
Didier Deschamps, France coach: “I’m satisfied – I’m not overjoyed with the result, but I’m satisfied. We didn’t lose, we do have a point to add to the three we have in the bag already. I think this still leaves the door open for us to have a little bit of leeway for the third game.”
Hugo Lloris, France captain: “In this sort of match, it’s difficult when your opponents go ahead. They were well organised and put their hearts into it with the help of the crowd. We’re disappointed, we wanted three points, but we have to stay positive.”
- Griezmann has now featured in 50 successive matches for France.
- Griezmann scored his seventh EURO finals goal, one ahead of Thierry Henry, equal with Alan Shearer and behind only Michel Platini (9) and Cristiano Ronaldo (11).
- France are now unbeaten in all 34 games where Griezmann has scored (W30 D4).
- Paris-born Loïc Négo, brought into the Hungary starting line-up, was in the France squad that won the 2010 UEFA European Under-19 Championship, alongside his room-mate at that tournament, Griezmann.
- The draw ends France’s run of five straight wins and clean sheets.
- France have won four of their last seven EURO group games: the only ones they have not all were on 19 June (previously 0-0 vs Switzerland in 2016 and 0-2 vs Sweden in 2012).
Hungary: Gulácsi; Botka, Orbán, At. Szalai; Nagy; Négo, Kleinheisler (Lovrencsics 84), Schäfer (Cseri 75), Fiola; Ad. Szalai (Nikolić 26), Sallai
France: Lloris; Pavard, Varane, Kimpembe, Digne; Pogba (Tolisso 76), Kanté, Rabiot (Dembélé 57, Lemar 87); Benzema (Giroud 76), Griezmann, Mbappé