Dubai: Hungary were just 25 minutes away from something truly special. The scenes at half time with the minnows leading the World Champions and Euro 2020 favourites France were just incredible, and this is why we love football.
No other sport comes close to the sheer emotions that football brings out of us. There were thousands of fans bouncing up and down in the stands inside the Puskas Arena having the time of their lives, celebrating the fact that they were beating the best team in the world. So proud were the fans of the team’s effort that every touch of the ball from the men in red was met with a huge cheer in the second half.
The atmosphere was electric – and that was before Attila Fiola gave them the lead with a delightful finish in first half injury time. Having failed to find the net in his first 33 appearances, he’s now scored two in his last four and his latest almost caused the shock of the tournament.
They dared to dream and why not – they earned that right in the first 45 where they hassled and harried their far superior opponents to steal the lead. France had been dictating play but they were wasteful. The only chance Hungary created, they scored.
Kleinheisler was fantastic in the middle of the park. Every time the ball went to Pogba or Rabiot he was in their faces and snapping at their heels, not giving them the time to pick out a pass.
They had some luck – Benzema and Mbappe were guilty of missing several clear cut chances. But when Fiola was presented with his, he made to stick it away. Weaving his way into the box, he beat Pavard and Varane and found the back of the net with a lovely controlled finish.
In the second half, frustration was beginning to creep into their play but then Griezmann grabbed the equalizer. The Hungarians fell to the floor, absolutely gutted to have lost that slender lead. France pressed in search of all three points but some inspired defending and goalkeeping ensured Hungary held on for a much deserved point.
Without a doubt, it was a gutsy performance by them and when the final whistle was blown, it was greeted with a standing ovation by the 60,000 home fans. It may not have been a shock win but this is still the surprising result of the tournament so far.