Hungary vs France: World Champions to enter the Budapest bear pit

France can make sure of qualification for the last 16, but they will have to battle the Budapest crowd as well as Hungary.

When: Saturday June 19, 14:00 BST

Where: Budapest

How to watch: BBC

Best Bets

Paul Pogba to score the first goal at 7/1

France to win both halves at 19/10

Red card in the match at 4/1

On paper, this one looks like a simple routine win for France, although there is a little more intrigue attached to it than that.

There is no doubting the almost obscene array of quality that the French have at their disposal, and they made an early statement of intent by beating Germany relatively comfortably in their own back yard in their opening match.

That said, the Budapest crowd has been one of the stars of the tournament so far in its own right, and they may just help make things interesting.

Previous three meetings

France 2-1 Hungary (Friendly - May 31, 2005)

You have to go back a long way to find the last clash between these two sides, who are both international powerhouses from very different eras.

France were a fading force in 2005, but they still had enough to earn a narrow home friendly win against the stubborn Hungarians in Metz.

Former Liverpool ace Djibril Cisse opened the scoring, and Chelsea alumni Florent Malouda added a second before half time. Zsombor Kerekes made it an interesting last 15 minutes.

Hungary 1-3 France (Friendly - March 28, 1990)

A certain Mr Eric Cantona ran the show the last time France played a match in Budapest. That's how long ago it is.

The French were coached by legend Michel Platini back then, and Cantona helped himself to two goals with captain Franck Sauzee adding the third.

Attila Pinter, meanwhile, scored from the spot for Hungary.

France 3-0 Hungary (World Cup finals - June 09, 1986)

While Platini was the French coach in 1990, he was the star of the team when these two countries met in Mexico at the 1986 World Cup.

Neither he nor fellow star-name Jean-Pierre Papin got on the scoresheet though, despite French dominance.

Yannick Stopyra gave France a first half lead and Jean Tigana and Dominique Rocheteau added some gloss later on.

France the team to beat

The French arrived at the tournament as the favourites and they certainly justified that tag in their opening match.

The Germany team they beat was not a vintage one, but it's still a very good one, and to beat them in Munich was something of a statement of intent.

It was also a match in which everything we expected from France was on full display: Rigidity at the back, power in midfield, and pace in attack.

The challenges that Hungary will pose them will likely not be as great, but they will be different. France are unlikely to be allowed to play their frightening counter-attacking football, so they onus may be on craft rather than power.

France squad

Goalkeepers: Hugo Lloris, Steve Mandanda, Mike Maignan

Defenders: Lucas Digne, Leo Dubois, Lucas Hernandez, Presnel Kimpembe, Jules Kounde, Clement Lenglet, Benjamin Pavard, Raphael Varane, Kurt Zouma

Midfielders: N'Golo Kante, Thomas Lemar, Paul Pogba, Adrien Rabiot, Moussa Sissoko, Corentin Tolisso

Forwards: Wissam Ben Yedder, Karim Benzema, Kingsley Coman, Ousmane Dembele, Olivier Giroud, Antoine Griezmann, Kylian Mbappe, Marcus Thuram


Hungary the spoilers

When you are drawn in a tournament group alongside France, Portugal, and Germany, no one is going to begrudge you playing defensive, spoiling football.

The simple fact is that Hungary don't have the talent to take on those teams in an open game of football, so it will probably be a case of sitting in and inviting their opposition to beat themselves.

Hungary came very close to getting a point out of Portugal, who needed to wait until the 84th minute to finally break them down, and even then they needed the help of a deflection.

The backing of an incredible crowd in Budapest helped them, although one does wonder how much energy that rear-guard action against Portugal sapped from them, especially since it came without reward.

Hungary squad

Goalkeepers: Peter Gulaasi, Denes Dibusz, Adam Bogdan

Defenders: Gergo Lovrencsics, Endre Botka, Adam Lang, Akos Kecskes, Attila Fiola , Willi Orban, Attila Szalai, Bendeguz Bolla

Midfielders: Loic Nego, Adam Nagy, Laszlo Kleinheisler, David Siger, Andras Schafer, Tamas Cseri, Filip Holender

Forwards: Adam Szalai, Roland Sallai, Nemanja Nikolic, Kevin Varga, Roland Varga , Szabolcs Schon, Janos Hahn

International head-to-head

Hungary wins: 12

Draws: 3

France wins: 8

Goalscorer bets

Paul Pogba avoids a challenge from Serge Gnabry
Paul Pogba avoids a challenge from Serge Gnabry

Space around the Hungary box is likely to be at a premium for France, and that may not suit Kylian Mbappe's considerable talents.

The emphasis may instead fall on the midfield to produce something special to break the deadlock, and that brings Paul Pogba into play in terms of the first goalscorer market.

The Manchester United man can be backed at 7/1 to open the scoring, and that should tempt many.

As far as Hungary are concerned, they may need to rely on set-pieces, so experienced schemer Adam Szalai at 10/1 for the first goal looks decent value.