France delved into the same problems in Budapest that surfaced in Munich. If in the first game he won thanks to an own goal by Hummels, against Hungary he did not go beyond a draw against a team that alternates between the third and fourth categories of European football. It is directed by Marco Rossi, who confesses himself a proselyte of Bielsa and who, honoring his prophet, decided to abandon all speculation and put his ten Aurtenetxes to press across the field to try to dismount the world champion through hand-to-hand duels. What was unusual was France’s response to 1-0 against. Deschamps’ team, by far the most powerful squad of the tournament, was unable to respond with precision neither in elaborate attack nor in quick transitions, despite the fact that his opponent – wild – released large meadows, and that he added 19 shots, five between the three suits.
Deschamps expected Hungary to close out in his area, as it did against Portugal. Warned that he needed to open the field from the outside, he replaced Lucas Hernández, a born center-back, with Digne, an offensive back. But from minute one it was clear that Hungary had metamorphosed. Perhaps because Rossi interpreted that the bolt of the first day had not been worth more than to fit a 0-3, he pushed his players to loosen up and show that they knew how to do more than shrink backwards.
Deploying with up to six men in front of the ball, the Hungarians put into practice what is classified as reckless recklessness against France, which is the team with the best counterattacks in the world. For 20 minutes, Digne, Pogba, Kanté and Rabiot’s response was lively enough to contain the horde and feed their forwards. It was then that Griezmann put Gulácsi to the test with a point-blank shot that became the visiting team’s only shot on goal for more than an hour. In the sway of teams that ran from area to area, with the Hungarian defense frayed, Mbappé had two clear shots that headed the corner flag. Benzema had another that ended with the ankle, deflected.
Hungary was not disheartened even by the loss of its captain, the giant Ádám Szalai, goes down due to a blow to the head. He found the gap by Pavard’s band, poorly covered by Varane on a wall that Fiola threw with Schafer before being left alone with Lloris and defining without Kimpembe coming to interpose.
The resumption and the suffocating heat suggested a Hungarian retreat. Quite the opposite. Raised by a stadium overflowing with fans inflamed with patriotic ardor, the team went 3-0 before making it 2-0. The movement of the ball reached such speed, and the Hungarians such a level of daring, that Kleinheisler, as if playing in the courtyard of his house, immortalized himself by throwing a pipe at Mbappé.
Kylian Mbappé is the player with the most and best conditions in the world. This, however, does not in itself make him the best player out there. Surely you will, if you insist. In Budapest he was seen to be carefree, inclined to recreate himself with his heel, and exhibiting ornamental gestures that led to repeated losses in the midfield. His contribution was hardly more relevant than that of Benzema, who showed signs of physical exhaustion in a game whose pace quickly surpassed him.
France tied in the most unexpected way. On the contrary, when Hungary was thrown and Lloris served on goal with a ball that Mbappé stumbled down before centering. There was a rebound from the defense and the ball went to Griezmann’s feet, who pushed it into the net. The most notable thing about the goal was the celebration: each one celebrated on their own.
Mbappé showed less enthusiasm when he saw Deschamps withdraw Benzema, his new compadre, to put in Giroud, who last week accused him of making him empty. Disagreements within the squad were reflected in France’s lack of attitude to go looking for the three points when Pogba and Rabiot came out and Tolisso and Dembélé entered. A shot at the post by Dembélé, who later withdrew injured, and a left by Giroud that Mbappé spoiled against the doll, were all the production of the most pulicited attack of the summer.
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