The Blues’ 2-2 draw against defending champions Portugal gave them five points and a round of 16 encounter with Switzerland on Monday.
Benzema, back in the squad after an absence of almost six years including an argument with Deschamps, looked in a bad mood during the first two matches against Germany and Hungary.
Before the tournament, during a preparation match, the Real Madrid striker missed a third consecutive penalty for France.
France leads the group thanks to a double from Karim Benzema!
Portugal finish third in Group F and qualify.
Not a bad game, that … that
– BBC Sport (@BBCSport) June 23, 2021
Yet it was Benzema who stepped up the penalty at the stroke of half-time – rather than his fellow strikers Kylian Mbappe or Antoine Griezmann – to deceive Rui Patricio and bring the score to 1-1 after Cristiano Ronaldo’s opener. , also a shot on goal.
“It’s nice to see. He was looking for goals but he had not lost his self-confidence or my faith for that matter, “said Deschamps, who ignored calls in France for the return of Olivier Giroud in the starting XI.
Benzema’s clinical shot on Paul Pogba’s through pass put France back in the lead early in the second half, and Ronaldo’s second penalty was not enough to dislodge them from first place in the standings. of the group F.
The still menacing Mbappe won France’s penalty on Wednesday and Griezmann snatched a goal against Hungary in his last game – but Benzema is now the team’s top scorer in this tournament.
“There was a lot of pressure on me which is to be expected, but I never gave up and I focused on creating space and opportunity,” said Benzema, a Muslim of Algerian descent who had accused Deschamps of bowing to the racists by leaving him aside. 2016.
“I didn’t really have any doubts but I knew there were a lot of expectations after being out for five or six years.
Benzema hadn’t scored for France since October 8, 2015, when he scored two in a 4-0 win over Armenia.
“He needed those goals, the country needed him to score,” said 1998 world champion Yuri Djorkaeff.
French center-back Raphaël Varane was delighted for his Real Madrid teammate. “It wasn’t easy for him. Now he will be super confident and a confident Karim is what we need, ”he said.
A late goal from Leon Goretzka saved a 2-2 draw for Germany against Hungary on Wednesday night, in a whipping contest that prepares the Germans for a June 29 game against England at Wembley.
Hungary looked set to shock Germany and exclude them from the tournament after Adam Szalai’s diving header in the 11th minute opened the scoring.
Kai Havertz equalized Germany in the 66th minute, but Hungary regained the lead seconds after the restart when Andras Schafer passed defenders and directed the ball into the net.
But with coach Joachim Loew throwing in substitutes to earn the point needed to advance to the round of 16, Goretzka’s strike provided Germany with a lifeline late in the game.
The Hungarians have spent more than half a century wondering if they would once again have a national team they could be proud of, but as their players stood in front of their supporters, chanting the national anthem with tears streaming down their faces, it was clear that this long wait was over.
The record will show Hungary finished last in Euro 2020 Group F without a win in their three matches and were knocked out of the tournament.
But another way to look at the results for Hungary is that, although they were placed hopelessly in the toughest group, they held France, world champions and tournament favorites, and were six minutes away from the qualifying with a victory in Germany – until Leon Goretzka’s late equalizer. .
If it hadn’t been for the last six minutes of their opener against Portugal, when they conceded three goals they would have been unbeaten – and when it comes to their boisterous and proud supporters, they would have it all. might as well have been.
Hungary proudly leaves the tournament, although UEFA will investigate “possible cases” of discriminatory actions amid allegations of racist and anti-LGBTQ chanting.