Match preview for Hungary vs France
Fresh from taking on the current European Champions, Hungary move on to confront the reigning World Cup holders on Saturday (but don’t worry, guys, there’s only Germany left to come!).
The valiant Magyars more than held their own in their Euro 2020 opener, acting as party poopersuntil an 84th-minute deflection broke the deadlock, while a late, late brace from Cristiano Ronaldo (who else?!) sealed the deal.
To be fair, Hungary might have been behind much earlier but for the profligacy of Portugal in front of goal, and although they created a few chances themselves (including having a goal correctly ruled out by VAR ten minutes from time), the gulf in class was apparent throughout.
A back three protected by a midfield blanket of five held firm for long periods, and the longer the game went on, the more Hungary’s confidence increased as they grew into the game. They will need to do the same against France on Saturday, but the fact that the need for a win will increase with each game means that any more positive approach will leave their defence vulnerable to the counter-attacking speed of the French.
France, of course, have little to prove, and although not quite at their fluid best against Germany on Tuesday night, they did enough to suggest that they are market favourites for good reason. Despite conceding 61% possession, they were more effective than the Germans with the ball, and arguably deserved more than just a Mats Hummels own goal to show for it. Indeed, only a couple of razor-thin VAR calls deprived them of further success, including one exquisite curler from the ever-dangerous Kylian Mbabbe. He was by far the pick of France’s illustrious front three, and his pace and quality is sure to shine throughout the tournament. Key to France’s impressive start, however, was the midfield glue supplied by Paul Pogba (who once again seems to have more to offer his national team than his club) and the ever-willing N’Golo Kante, who between them closed down Germany’s powerful midfield, protected their back four, and helped reduce Germany’s ten attempts at goal to only one on target.
Putting the Germany game behind them successfully impressed the bookies enough to reduce France’s Euro-winning price to 7/2, while the odds against Hungary (now 500/1) will only continue to climb as the competition advances. Hungary’s first objective on Saturday must surely be to prevent the world champions gaining a quick initiative, so we can expect a deep-lying set-up in the early exchanges. The game might well follow a similar pattern to the Portugal game, but as Hungarian legs grow heavier, we can only expect the pace and movement of Messieurs Mbappe, Griezmann and Benzema to take effect and bring home a comfortable win for the French.