France hits the Budapest wall
Three plus three = six. With two victories, or 6 points in the group F table, France was qualified! The equation was as simple as the parameters were numerous. Were the Blues going to overcome 30 ° in the shade, or more than 40 in full sun? Were the eleven guys of Didier Deschamps and their 5,700 French supporters going to stem the wave of enthusiasm for this stadium as full as an egg casserole, in the name of the national hero, the great Ferenc Puskas, best player in the history of Hungary in the 1950s ?
Loïc Nego, the most French of Hungarians
After the impressive procession of supporters marching through town before kick-off, including an impressive troop of ultras in black T-shirts, this boiling chamber was a symbol of this country staring at the Covid despite a high death rate during winter. Summarizing in a concrete ring the footballing enthusiasm of a country led by Vikor Orban, former D2 player. And all raised around this team comprising in its ranks two players named Attila (including the Hungarian scorer of the day, Attila Fiola) and another, Willy Orban, displaying the presidential surname.
Too clumsy in the first half
The solution of the equation was slow in coming, but the calculator gave a result that we will call so-so. France has therefore not yet joined Belgium, Italy and the Netherlands in the club of the great footballing nations already qualified for the eighth after only two games. Nothing is lost, but we will have to weigh the result of Portugal-Germany, this Saturday, June 19 from 6 p.m., which can eliminate the Germans in the event of a new defeat and therefore almost qualify the French. Or to leave everything in suspense until the final round of Group F, Wednesday the 13th, with Germany-Hungary and Portugal-France, revenge of Euro 2016.
Hungary “Is a united team, well organized, which will evolve in front of its audience, which will give it a little more energy in important moments”, had predicted the captain Hugo Lloris, Friday during the ritual press conference before the match. The experienced Tottenham goalkeeper, wished to warn his friends of the danger of “seeing themselves too beautiful” had undoubtedly seen these Magyars strong enough. Unless he anticipated a great fit of the awkwardness of his men in the first half. Because the blue gunners besieged the Hungarian fortress for forty minutes, without succeeding in throwing the balls above the last rampart. We attended a festival of unfulfilled opportunities, the kind that can give you a lot of regrets at the end of a game.
Benzema and Pogba with absent subscribers
When Pogba goes all goes, we wrote in “La Croix” following the victory against the Germans. It makes you wonder if the Manchester player was on the pitch. Ditto for Karim Benzema, author of a miss on an apparently ready-made goal. Only the inevitable Kylian Mbappé, well launched by an Antoine Griezmann in legs, got out of the doldrums of inefficiency. What can happen in these cases happened: on a counter-attack not so much more threatening than others, the reds managed a goal in the 45th minute by one of the two Attila, also defender. By dint of never seeing the ball, the blue defense, usually so vigilant, had fallen asleep in the heat of the Hungarian afternoon.
When we got back from the locker room, we felt a bit of panic in the blue camp. Especially since the wind had turned in favor of the smaller one. The football gods sometimes choose sides, and it was red in those moments, when the blocks, dribbles, goalkeeper parries all turned in favor of the Hungarians. The modest players playing for the most part in their country had lost all complex vis-a-vis the French stars evolving in the biggest clubs of the world.
Great victories have started in small steps
Even Griezmann and Mbappé seemed paralyzed by the unpleasant surprise, the easy balls slipping off their feet like it was raining halberds. Fortunately, the two best French of the day luckily managed to dry their shoes for a two-man action, which resulted in an arguably easy goal, but which the French might have missed in the first half.
It was then that Chief Deschamps entered the scene by taking out of the game two of his favorites, Paul Pogba, decidedly out of the game and Karim Benzema who is slow to justify the coach’s enormous conciliation effort on the ground. Not only has the Madrilenian still not scored in four games since his return in the blue jersey, but he has never demonstrated the suddenly indispensable nature of his return.
We will remember this afternoon that the world champion was led for nearly thirty minutes by the 37th world nation. But nothing of the lessons of its glorious history will be forgotten either. A France that begins with small steps often ends at high speed. It happened in 1998 as in 2018. Small consolation