Attila Fiola will appear in every highlight about the 2021 European Cup.
The first game of the Hungarian full-back’s dramatic 1-1 draw with world champion France on Saturday is destined to be remembered as one of the golden moments of the championship. It’s just not in the script, which is what makes it so beautiful.
Hungary, ranked 37th, lacked in the classroom. It made up for it with perseverance, courage and determination-all of which added up to earn the Hungarian a surprise point, allowing them to stay promoted in the final match against Germany. Hope.
There is no doubt: the home team-and its fans-deserved a draw. In a world that still keeps a distance from society due to the pandemic, Budapest’s complete stadium is indeed an incredible sight. You are unlikely to hear a louder roar than the roar of Fiola’s great goal before the break.
Of course, no one expected Hungary to score. The French team won the last five games in all competitions without conceding a goal. After the start of the impressive European campaign that defeated Germany 1-0, Les Bleus is expected to sweep their hosts aside with the least amount of fuss.
However, Hungary has shown that it has let Portugal down for 84 minutes in their championship opener, and this is not just to make up for this number. Coach Marco Rossi’s team once again showed flexibility and organization, although French forward Karim Benzema, who has never scored in the European Championship, should have Les Bleus after being brilliantly established by Mbappe in the first half Lead.
Kylian Mbappe and Antoine Griezmann are also constant threats, but Hungary digs deep, has a large number of defenders, and has done an excellent job of keeping the world champions out.
“We had some good opportunities in the first half,” France coach Didier Deschamps told TF1 after the game. “We had a chance to score, but we didn’t. This is football. They also hardly got anything.”
But the Hungarian team has shifted, and the unremitting efforts of the entire team and the deafening roar in the stadium have always provided them with motivation.
“It was a tough game in front of the home audience,” Griezmann told beIN Sports. “We lost our way when the stadium was crowded with people and we couldn’t move forward. The stadium was dry and very hot. We couldn’t find each other, and we couldn’t find a chance for the first half. We paid for it. But. There are great players everywhere, even against Hungary is difficult.”
Fiora’s outstanding performance in stoppage time in the first half is of course only a reward for the Hungarian heroes, but there is always a nagging feeling that the quality of France will eventually lead to goals.
After Hungary failed to properly clear Mbappé’s cuts, when Griezmann equalized from close range, the position had already rejected the French substitute Osman Dembele to equalize. This is the Barcelona striker’s seventh goal in the European Cup-only Cristiano Ronaldo (11) and Michel Platini (9) have scored more goals in the history of the game.
The powerful hand of Hungarian goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi rejected Mbappé when the clock was close to 90, and the Hungarians put their bodies on the line, trying to block every shot.
The French team will be frustrated by failing to find a winner after 15 attempts. Deschamps later argued that his players were struggling with the Heat.
“This is a point of view. This is obviously not what we want, but given the context, we will accept it anyway,” Deschamps said.
“Am I worried? No. We have a team to respond,” Griezmann said after the game. “We know we have players who can play a role at any time.”
All the talk was about France’s failure to win, but Hungary made the country proud. When Hungarian fans jumped out of the Puskas Arena, the deafening chorus of Ria Ria Hungaria could still be heard in the arena.
The atmosphere is likely to be as memorable as Fiola’s goal.