After fighting in his first two Euro 2020 departures and calls to leave aside, Frenchman Karim Benzema returned the faith of coach Didier Deschamps with two goals to help the world champions qualify for the top of Group F on Wednesday.
2-2 draw for Les Bleus against the current champions Portugal gave them five points and a round of 16 meeting with Switzerland on Monday.
Benzema, back in the squad after a nearly six-year absence, including a row with Deschamps, was disorganized in the first two games against Germany and Hungary.
Before the tournament, in a warm-up match, the Real Madrid striker had missed a third consecutive penalty for France.
France leads the group thanks to an apparatus of Karim Benzema.
Portugal finishes group F in third place.
Not a bad game, that … 👌
– BBC Sport (@BBCSport) June 23, 2021
However, it was Benzema who increased the penalty at halftime: instead of using strikers Kylian Mbappe or Antoine Griezmann, he mistaken Rui Patricio and made it 1-1 after the opening of Cristiano Ronaldo , also a one-time release.
“It’s nice to see him. I was looking for goals, but I had lost neither confidence in myself nor my faith, ”said Deschamps, who ignored calls to France for Olivier Giroud’s return to the starting line-up.
Paul Pogba’s clinical shot from Benzema through the ball caused France to advance again early in the second half, and Ronaldo’s second penalty was not enough to take them away from first in the Group F standings.
The ever-threatening Mbappe won the French penalty on Wednesday and Griezmann snatched a goal against Hungary in his last match, but Benzema is now the team’s top scorer in this tournament.
“I had a lot of pressure on myself, which is normal, but I never gave up and focused on creating space and possibilities,” he said. Benzema, a Muslim of Algerian origin who had accused Deschamps of bowing to racists when he left him out in 2016.
“I really had no doubts, but I knew there were a lot of expectations after being absent for five or six years.”
Benzema had not scored in France since October 8, 2015, when he took two in a 4-0 win over Armenia.
“He needed those goals, the country needed him to score,” 1998 world champion Youri Djorkaeff said.
French center-back Raphael Varane was delighted by his Real Madrid team-mate. “It was not easy for him. Now, he will be very safe and what we need is a self-confident Karim, ”he said.
A goal from Leon Goretzka saved a 2-2 draw for Germany against Hungary on Wednesday night in a sawmill contest that points to the Germans in a match on June 29 against England at Wembley.
Hungary it looked like they would impact Germany and drive them out of the tournament after Adam Szalai’s diving head in the 11th minute opened the scoring.
Kai Havertz equalized in the 66th minute, but Hungary regained the lead a few seconds after the restart when Andras Schafer passed the defenders and finished the ball into the net.
But with coach Joachim Loew throwing substitutes to earn the point needed to progress to the round of 16, Goretzka’s strike provided Germany with the end of life.
The Hungarians have spent more than half a century wondering if they would ever have a national team to be proud of again, but when their players stood in front of their fans, they sang the national anthem with tears running down their faces. , it became clear that this long wait was over.
The record will show that Hungary finished in the bottom of Group F of Euro 2020 without a win in their three matches and were eliminated from the tournament.
But another way of looking at Hungary’s results is that, despite being knocked out as non-hopers in the toughest group, they remained world champions and favorites for the France tournament and were six minutes away from qualifying. se with a victory in Germany – until the final draw of Leon Goretzka.
If it hadn’t been for the last six minutes of their first game against Portugal, when they conceded three goals, they would have been unbeaten, and as for their noisy and proud fans, they could have been too.
Hungary is proud to leave the tournament, although UEFA will investigate “possible cases” of discriminatory actions amid racist and anti-racist allegations.LGBTQ songs.