France avoids huge upset at Euro 2020 as Hungary takes famous point
BUDAPEST, Hungary (AP) — France needed a second-half equalizer from Antoine Griezmann to avoid the biggest upset of the tournament.
Hungary, playing in front of a raucous crowd yet again at the European Championship, held the World Cup champions to a 1-1 draw on Saturday.
Griezmann scored in the 66th minute to dampen the spirit of the crowd, which gave Hungary unwavering support throughout the Group F match.
It was Griezmann's 38th goal for France and he did a little celebratory dance in front of France's blue-shirted fans.
The 67,215-capacity Puskas Arena in Budapest is the only stadium at Euro 2020 to allow full crowds, and it produced an atmosphere to remember.
"It's the first time with a full stadium, it's different from what you are used to," Griezmann said. "You can't hear anything. We couldn't even hear each other on the field. But it's a great pleasure to play in front of fans again."
Hungary's fans went wild when Attila Fiola gave the home team the lead.
Latching onto the ball after Roland Sallai won a header down the left flank, Fiola burst into the penalty area and held off defender Raphael Varane before clipping the ball into the bottom corner.
Some flares were lit and Hungary goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi had to remove paper thrown from the stands which landed in his penalty area.
Kylian Mbappe and Karim Benzema both missed good chances before Hungary's goal.
"We should have been in front. It's not good enough given what we expected, but that's soccer," France coach Didier Deschamps said. "They scored with their only chance. Considering the context, we'll take the point."
Given the quality of their opponents, Hungary's draw was more like a victory and Gulacsi pumped his fists as the crowd gave the players a massive ovation.
The Hungarian players then lined up in front of their home fans behind one goal and stood with their hands on their hearts as the crowd sang.
Many of the fans waved the green-white-and-red national flag, while others were clad in black T-shirts with Magyarorszag (Hungary) written on them. Still others stood bare-chested behind one of the goals in bright afternoon sunshine.
The French team did have some of their own fans, however, about 5,700 of them, according to UEFA.
The mood became intimidating when some sections of the crowd jeered the French national anthem, La Marseillaise.
France had enough chances to quiet them down in the first half.
But the unmarked Mbappe headed wide from left-back Lucas Digne's cross in the 18th. Benzema then fluffed a straightforward chance when he ran onto Mbappe's clever flick behind and sent a shot wide near the penalty spot.
The draw gives Hungary one point in the group ahead of Wednesday's match against Germany in Munich. Two-time champion France has four points and will stay in Budapest to face defending champion Portugal.
Deschamps may have an injury concern for that game.
Substitute Ousmane Dembele, who hit the post moments after coming on as a second-half substitute, went off near the end of the game after appearing to hurt his knee.