Antoine Greizmann goal helps France hold inspired Hungary
Antoine Greizmann rescued a point for World champions France as they came from a goal down to draw 1-1 with hosts Hungary in Group F and prevent a massive upset in front of a full house at the Puskas Arena on Saturday.
BUDAPEST: Antoine Greizmann rescued a point for World champions France as they came from a goal down to draw 1-1 with hosts Hungary in Group F and prevent a massive upset in front of a full house at the Puskas Arena on Saturday.
Attila Fiola had given the hosts a dream half-time lead, after France missed a bevy of early chances.
But Greizmann equalized in the 66th minute to move France onto four points while Hungary kept up their slim hopes, on one point, in a group where they had been given little chance with heavyweights Germany and Portugal also in the mix.
A heaving, 65,000-strong, mainly Hungarian crowd, the likes of which has not been seen at football since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, willed their side to a share of the points in the summer sun even if they were largely outplayed.
Greizmann finished with a powerful shot but at the end of an uncharacteristic move from the French, who for all their midfield guile and panache needed a Route One kick upfield from their goalkeeper to fashion their equaliser.
The French had three gilt-edged chances in the first half which their much-vaunted attack would have been expected to finish.
Peter Gulasci made a double save from Karim Benzema and Griezmann inside the opening quarter-hour and then watched in relief as Kylian Mbappe headed over the top from metres out after Benzema had teed him up in the 17th minute.
It looked a matter of time before Les Bleus would break the deadlock but when Mbappe returned the favour to Benzema just after the half hour mark, he contrived to hit a disappointing shot wide when it seemed easier to score.
Their profligacy was then punished at the end of the half as wingback Fiola collected a cross-field pass from Adam Nagy, played a one-two with Roland Sallai and outpaced the French defence to coolly side-foot home a goal met with a rapturous response from the ecstatic crowd.
Hungary next face Germany in Munich on Wednesday while Portugal and France play in Budapest at the same time. Agencies