Laszlo Kleinheisler produces a midfield masterclass as Hungary hold France to a 1-1 at the packed Ferenc Puskas Arena on Saturday.
Group F minnows Hungary produced a major upset on Saturday by holding world champions France to a 1-1 draw at the packed Ferenc Puskas Stadium.
It was a resilient defensive display from the Hungarian side that had a proper plan in dealing with the attacking trifecta of Kylian Mbappe, Karim Benzema and Antoine Griezmann. However, the defence wasn’t their only weapon as the hosts, led on by the mesmerising, packed 67,000 plus crowd at Ferenc Puskas Arena, showed a lot of attacking intent as well.
After all, it was a brave endeavour from left wingback Attila Fiola that led to a late first-half opener from Hungary, driving the fans and indeed the players into a frenzy. France, in response, tried to gain control of the game by dominating possession in the second half while also adding more attacking firepower in their ranks.
The equaliser was almost inevitable, but it came from a Hungarian defensive error as the failure to clear a long clearance allowed Mbappe to create an opportunity for Antoine Griezmann in the 66th minute, allowing Les Bleus a way back into the back.
Didier Deschamps’ men, though, had no answers to Hungary’s defensive dominance, as the hosts held on for a draw. And here, at The Hard Tackle, we will take a look at how these two sets of players performed in this heated affair in Budapest this weekend.
Peter Gulacsi: 8/10
Peter Gulacsi was a comforting presence in between the sticks for Hungary. He stopped almost everything that came his way, including a crucial save to deny Kylian Mbappe late in the game. A fine goalkeeping display.
— Anas (@Thebumpstock) June 19, 2021
Endre Botka: 7/10
Endre Botka had a busy game on the right-hand side, as he had to keep Mbappe quiet. Despite getting outclassed by the youngster multiple times, the defender fared rather well, considering the relentless pressure from the French attack.
Willi Orban: 7.5/10
Willi Orban was the main defensive figurehead for Hungary, spearheading the three-man backline with aplomb. He kept Karim Benzema in his pocket while also producing a host of important clearances throughout the game.
Attila Szalai: 7/10
Another brave defensively display from the young Attila Szalai, who continues to impress the onlookers with his work rate and commitment. There were times where he could have done a bit better in keeping Griezzmann or Mbappe quiet, but overall, the centre-back deserves praise for keeping things in check.
Loic Nego: 7/10
The French-born Hungarian was given the nod ahead of Grego Lovrencsics as Marco Rossi opted for more attacking firepower. He was guilty of not taking care of the long ball, allowing Griezmann to equalise. Other than that, the Videoton star showed a lot of attacking endeavour.
Laszlo Kleinheisler: 9/10
Laszlo Kleinheisler was one of the best performers for Hungary, producing a midfield masterclass. He was almost faultless at times, winning multiple balls and often appearing as a passing option for his teammates. Drove the ball forward with ease, too, adding the much-needed composure in possession.
🇭🇺 László Kleinheisler is rewarded following a fine display against the world champions 🥇
— UEFA EURO 2020 (@EURO2020) June 19, 2021
Adam Nagy: 7.5/10
Adam Nagy was one of two players culpable for the France goal. It was a major dent in an inspiring midfield display. He worked hard in the middle of the park, creating multiple turnovers and preventing the opposition from getting a grip on the game.
Andras Schafer: 7/10
Andras Schafer yet again impressed the onlookers with his bravery in press. The youngster added the extra support to the likes of Nagy and Kleinheisler, helping Hungary keep France at bay.
Attila Fiola: 8/10
Attila Fiola’s inspiring run led to the only goal for Hungary. It was a scintillating moment for the home fans, with the wing-back showcasing excellent finishing skill to find the opener. Apart from the goal, Fiola had a great game on the left flank, moving forward at every opportunity.
Attila Fiola is the first player to score against #FRA across all competitions in the last six games.
The World Champions are shocked moments before half-time. pic.twitter.com/TdZmqknEgO
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) June 19, 2021
Roland Sallai: 7/10
With Dominik Szoboszlai missing, Roland Sallai was always going to be the main creative outlet for the hosts. The Freiburg attacker didn’t disappoint either, playing a clever one-two with Fiola that led to his chance in the first half.
Adam Szalai: 6/10
Adam Szalai’s afternoon was cut short by an injury that forced him off during the first quarter of the match. He made way for Nemanja Nikolics.
Nemanja Nikolics: 6.5/10
Szalai’s injury served as a blessing in disguise as his replacement Nikolics offered a great shift in the number nine. He was sharp in the first line of press, preventing the two centre-backs from distributing the ball with ease.
Tamas Cseri: 6/10
Tamas Cseri was a late replacement for the young Schafer. Offered fresh legs in the second line of press for Hungary.
Gergo Lovrencsics: N/A
A late replacement for Kleinheisler. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.
Hugo Lloris: 6/10
Hugo Lloris was beaten quite comfortably by Fiola, but some may question the ability of France’s ageing goalkeeper, who certainly has a weakness when it comes to operating as a sweeper.
Benjamin Pavard: 6/10
Benjamin Pavard didn’t have a great game either, often having to deal with the attacking runs of Fiola and Sallai. It played a key role in minimising his forays down the flanks.
Raphael Varane: 6.5/10
Raphael Varane did well to keep out the Hungarian attack at bay for the most part but was deceived by a neat one-two from Fiola and Sallai. The centre-back doesn’t deserve any flak, though.
Presnel Kimpembe: 7/10
Presnel Kimpembe wasn’t troubled much defensively, and much like Varane, he did well to contain the pressure from the opposition. He also tried to offer those progressive passes between the lines to evade Hungary’s second line of press.
Lucas Digne: 6.5/10
Lucas Digne replaced Lucas Hernandez in what was France’s only change of the game. It cost Deschamps dearly, as the left-back certainly did not do well in terms of creativity despite some excellent moments in the first half.
Paul Pogba: 5/10
Paul Pogba was nowhere near as useful as he was in the Germany game. On the contrary, he was culpable for many misplaced passes and lack of precision. He was subbed off later in the game.
Getting stuck in. pic.twitter.com/jX75xiapRq
— Squawka Football (@Squawka) June 19, 2021
N’Golo Kante: 6/10
N’Golo Kante, too, had difficulties influencing the game against the hard-working midfield trifecta of Schafer, Kleinheisler and Nagy. The Frenchman also had problems creating too many turnovers in the middle of the park.
Adrien Rabiot: 4/10
Adrien Rabiot’s inclusion in midfield did not bode well for France as the Juventus star failed to offer any sort of creativity. He was replaced by Ousmane Dembele around the hour mark.
Antoine Griezmann: 7.5/10
Antoine Griezmann didn’t exclusively threaten the opposition, but his passes in behind the backline always stretched them out. He was at the right place at the right time to score the important equaliser as well.
Karim Benzema: 5/10
Karim Benzema had a dreadful game as he failed to make himself useful in the final third. On the contrary, he missed an excellent scoring opportunity early on in the game.
Kylian Mbappe: 8/10
Kylian Mbappe was the biggest threat to the Hungarian defence. He looked menacing whenever he was in possession, even testing Gulacsi twice. Not to mention, it was his exploits that led to France’s equaliser, although it is fair to say that the PSG superstar was defended really well for the most part.
I just love watching @KMbappe play. So ridiculously good.
— Gary Lineker 💙 (@GaryLineker) June 19, 2021
Ousmane Dembele: 6.5/10
Ousmane Dembele replaced Rabiot around the hour mark to add more dynamism in the final third. He was a threat out wide but didn’t do enough to test the Hungarian defence.
Corentin Tolisso: 6/10
Corentin Tolisso replaced Pogba during the final phase of the game. Unfortunately, there wasn’t enough time for him to make any noticeable impact on the proceedings.
Olivier Giroud: 6/10
Olivier Giroud replaced Benzema to offer a more physical presence inside the box. The move did not work out for Deschamps.
Thomas Lemar: N/A
A late replacement for substitute Dembele. Did not play enough to warrant a rating.