Hungary vs France, EURO 2020 preview: Didier Deschamps' fantasy attack seeks lift off

Saturday's Euro 2020 clash against group makeweight Hungary in Budapest should offer France's attack a chance to grab back the limelight.

Didier Deschamps

France manager Didier Deschamps gestures during a Euro 2020 Group F match against Germany at the Allianz Arena on June 15.   -  AP

There was huge excitement when France coach Didier Deschamps unleashed his fantasy football attack against Germany on Monday but following a 1-0 win in its Euro 2020 opener it was the midfield that earned rave reviews.

Deschamps started with an attacking trident of Kylian Mbappe, Antoine Griezmann and Karim Benzema for the first time in a competitive game but it was an own goal by Germany defender Mats Hummels that decided the Group F clash.

Such was the control Paul Pogba, N'Golo Kante and Adrien Rabiot gave the world champion against the Germans, Marseille newspaper la Provence described the midfield axis as the Golden Triangle.

 

But Saturday's clash against group makeweight Hungary in Budapest should offer France's attack a chance to grab back the limelight after Benzema and Mbappe endured a frustrating night with goals ruled out for offside.

Roared on by a near-capacity crowd at the Puskas Arena, Hungary defended in spirited fashion in its opening match against Portugal, but eventually collapsed to a 3-0 defeat after conceding late goals, including a double from Cristiano Ronaldo.

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Marco Rossi's Hungary has had little time to dust itself down from that loss, its first in 11, and things are about to get harder with his opposite number Deschamps likely to start with Mbappe, Griezmann and Benzema again.

That trio scored 102 goals for Paris St Germain, Barcelona and Real Madrid last season and if that is not a big enough headache for Hungary, temperatures for Saturday's afternoon kickoff are set to soar into the mid 30s Celsius.

"I think when it is as hot as that it's difficult for everyone to play. It will be tricky for France as well," Rossi said. "We all know what a good side they are, so the important thing is to rest up physically and mentally so we can go into the France game in the best possible way."

France will be through to the last 16 if it wins the first meeting of the two nations in 16 years, while another drubbing for Hungary will virtually end its chances of progressing, not that many people expected anything else.

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France defender Lucas Hernandez, whose cross was turned into his own net by Hummels in Munich, said there will be no drop in intensity even if, on paper, Saturday's match is the easiest of the side's three fixtures.

"Against Hungary and then Portugal, we will have to put this aggression in again," Hernandez said on Wednesday.

"We set the tone against Germany. But we must continue against Hungary. The stadium will be full and hostile. We are no longer used to that. It will be another battle.

"Hungary held up well against Portugal for eighty minutes. They are strong defensively. They don't leave a lot of space. We will have to be vigilant."

Hungary's hopes took another hit this week when midfielder Daniel Gazdag withdrew from the squad through injury, robbing it of another creative option after Dominik Szoboszlai and Zsolt Kalmar also missed out on the tournament.

Szabolcs Schon, who had a goal disallowed against Portugal when the score was 0-0 after coming on as a substitute, is unlikely to force his way into the starting lineup with Rossi set to keep faith with Roland Sallai and Adam Szalai up top.

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