A second-half Dominik Szoboszlai penalty earned Hungary a shock 1-0 victory over England in the Nations League on Saturday – their first win against Gareth Southgate’s side in 60 years. Seeking to prepare for their preparations for the Qatar World Cup, which begins later this year, England were surprisingly second from the start in Budapest and were lucky enough to enter the break.
The hosts kept coming and made their pressure count as Szoboszlai converted from the penalty spot in the 66th minute after Zsolt Nagy was fouled by Chelsea defender Reece James – a decision which infuriated the English players.
England insisted as they searched for a leveler but could not create that killer chance as their Nations League campaign got off to a disappointing start. Testing continues with next League A Group 3 opponents Germany on Tuesday, while Hungary will seek a five-from-six win against European champions Italy.
“We have a huge game coming up on Tuesday,” England defender Conor Coady told Channel 4. “We have to look at this performance and learn from it very quickly.
“I think we’ve started pretty well. We have to tidy up and bounce back. We have to look at how we’ve performed and how we’re moving forward because these are big games for us.”
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Hungary were forced to host England ‘behind closed doors’ after being sanctioned by FIFA and UEFA for repeated racist behavior by their fans, but the Hungarian FA said last month that children could attend at the match at Puskas Arena.
Under Article 73 of UEFA’s disciplinary regulations, children up to the age of 14 from schools and/or football academies can be invited to a match ‘behind closed doors’ free of charge , provided they are accompanied by an adult, i.e. the stadium could be half full, especially with children.
Some in attendance chose to boo the England players as they took a knee in protest against racial injustice ahead of kick-off. The least fanciful side in the Nations League in League A, Group Three, Hungary almost gave their young backing something to shout for from the start as Coady was forced to clear the line after Szoboszlai put on the ball towards the goal.
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England, who debuted West Ham United’s Jarrod Bowen and Leicester City defender James Justin, failed to make a breakthrough in the first half as Adam Szalai nearly scored a sensational first game since the middle line.
The visitors improved after the break, with substitute Bukayo Saka seeing a well-saved effort, before Hungary took a deserved lead, but the Portuguese referee’s decision did not sit well with England.
James appeared to lead with his arm, which caught Nagy, who fell very easily. Szoboszlai’s arrival on the spot was emphatic.
England went further forward after falling behind, Coady eyeing an excruciatingly wide header from a free-kick. Otherwise, the hosts were comfortable seeing their win, the first in 15 attempts since winning the 1962 World Cup in Chile, with ease.
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Post expires at 8:29am on Wednesday June 15th, 2022