Unconvincing England are held by Hungary

England v Hungary – FIFA World Cup Qualifying Group I – Wembley Stadium – Report

England 1-1 Hungary

Unconvincing England still have work to do after they were held by Hungary in an otherwise drab and dour FIFA World Cup Group I encounter at Wembley Stadium

Gareth Southgate’s healthy rotation policy was evident again – the England boss making nine changes to the side that had eased past Andorra by five unanswered goals three days previous.

England went into the game knowing that two victories from their final three games would ensure qualification for the Qatar tournament. And they were almost ahead inside the opening ten minutes – Harry Kane thwarted from close range after Luke Shaw had fashioned an opening from the left.

Having received a four-goal hammering from England in Budapest, the Hungarians spent much of the early stages on the back foot, defending deeply and in numbers. Meanwhile, attention focused largely on unsavoury scenes amongst the visiting supporters, who had jeered the Three Lions players whilst taking the knee and had then turned their attentions to battling with police and stewards.

Nevertheless, having taken the early blows, it was Hungary whole snatched a surprise lead – Roland Sallai sending Jordan Pickford the wrong way from the penalty spot after Shaw’s high boot towards Loic Nego was adjudged to be dangerous by Spanish referee, Alejandro Jose Hernandez Hernandez.

Hungary was making their presence felt. Adam Nagy was somewhat agricultural in his approach to Jack Grealish and Mason Mount, while Nagy again took the laws into his own hands – Grealish again the victim. But from the latter incident, England restored parity.

John Stones bundled home at the far post after Phil Foden’s deliciously delivered dead-ball had deflected into his path.

Raheem Sterling almost turned the contest on its head with the last action of the opening half – The Manchester City man prodding wide after Hungarian stopper, Peter Gulacsi had brilliantly saved his initial header goalwards.

Kane found Gulacsi’s midriff as the game took on a similar pattern after the restart. England, unconvincing – The Hungarians, unadventurous – A spark required.

Stones nodded Foden’s flag-kick the wrong side of an upright. Meanwhile, Southgate replaced the heavily guarded Grealish with Arsenal’s Bukayo Saka.

Gulacsi used his feet to rebuff Sterling – Kane having created the opening. Then, Kane blazed wide from a decent position as the home side continued to toil fruitlessly and without conviction.

That proved to be both Kane and Sterling’s last action – Tammy Abraham and Jordan Henderson replacing the strangely subdued duo for the final quarter of an hour.

Substitute, Filip Holender fired over from an angle after England carelessly conceded possession – Saka the guilty party.

The result leaves England three points clear of Poland at the top of Group I. They return to FIFA World Cup Qualifying Group I action on Friday, November 12 when Albania are the visitors to Wembley Stadium (7:45pm).

England: Jordan Pickford, Kyle Walker, Luke Shaw, Declan Rice, John Stones, Tyrone Mings, Jack Grealish (Bukayo Saka 62’), Phil Foden, Harry Kane (Capt) (Tammy Abraham 76’) (Ollie Watkins 90+1’), Raheem Sterling (Jordan Henderson 76’), Mason Mount Subs not used: Sam Johnstone (GK), Aaron Ramsdale (GK), Kieran Trippier, Conor Coady, Fikayo Tomori, Ben Chilwell, Jadon Sancho, James Ward-Prowse

Booked: Luke Shaw (foul)
Goals: John Stones 37’

Hungary: Peter Gulacsi, Adam Lang, Akos Kecskes, Attila Szalai, Zsolt Nagy, Loic Nego (Bendeguz Bolla 90+1’), Adam Nagy, Dominik Szoboszlai (Memanja Nikolic 90+1’), Andras Schafer (Balint Vecsel 80’), Szabolics Schon (Filip Holender 68’), Roland Sallai (Janos Hahn 80’) Subs not used: Adam Bogdan (GK), Botond Balogh, Daniel Salloi, Daniel Gazdag, Roland Varga

Booked: Andras Schafer (foul)
Goals: Roland Sallai (penalty) 24’

Referee: Alejandro Jose Hernandez Hernandez (Spain)
Assistants: Jose Enrique Naranjo Perez and Teodoro Sobrino Magan (Spain)
Fourth Official: Jose Luis Munuera Montero (Spain)

Attendance: 69,380


Brian Jeeves

Email: [email protected]