Below-par England held by Hungary in match marred by clashes between away fans and police

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Below-par England held by Hungary in match marred by clashes between away fans and police - GETTY IMAGES
Below-par England held by Hungary in match marred by clashes between away fans and police - GETTY IMAGES

This was one of those frustrating evenings when England looked far less than the sum of their parts and when Gareth Southgate leaves himself open to the accusation as to whether he really trusts flair players.

The main talking point, beyond the violence and disgraceful behaviour of Hungarian fans, was the early substitution of Jack Grealish. He had clearly been England’s best player, had propelled them back into the game with his bravery on the ball – and yet lasted just over an hour and looked as perplexed as everyone else, shaking his head as he slowly walked to the dug-out. It appeared a curious decision even if Southgate explained it was due to a change of system.

This draw did not really damage England’s chances of reaching next year’s World Cup Finals - they have two more qualification ties to go in Group I, at home to Albania and away to San Marino, and four points are needed. Second-placed Poland have to play Andorra away and Hungary at home and can be expected to win both.

But it was a disjointed performance and an underwhelming result that dented a little the hopes of what they will do when they get there. It had more than a hint of complacency. On this evidence, with England dropping points in a home qualifier for the first time since they drew 1-1 with Ukraine in 2012, they looked a notch below France, Spain, Belgium and Italy who were the four semi-finalists in the Nations League which was also played out in this international break.

Before kick-off England honoured two of their greatest strikers, with a minute’s applause following the passing of Jimmy Greaves and Roger Hunt, but Harry Kane could not add to his total – a goal would have taken him just two behind Greaves’s tally of 44 – as his run of scoring in consecutive qualifiers, going back five years, ended at 15.

Hungary fans clashed with police at the start of the match - GETTY IMAGES
Hungary fans clashed with police at the start of the match - GETTY IMAGES

In truth Kane, like Raheem Sterling who was also substituted, looked alarmingly off-form and with neither of them firing and with Grealish off the pitch then where is England’s threat? And this against opponents they brushed aside 4-0 in Budapest. All three forward players were withdrawn. In fairness, Tammy Abraham looked far sharper than Kane – which was not difficult - when he replaced him but hobbled off injured before the end.

The England captain was worryingly leaden. Time and again Kane was caught in possession, slow to get the ball out from under his feet, and when he was finally given a sight of goal he slashed his shot wildly wide. It was his last act before being substituted and he can have no complaints.

That is one debate – who can effectively understudy Kane when he is off-form and just why is he struggling so badly this season? The other is whether Southgate can effectively get more of his creative players into the team as he attempted here. Grealish, Mason Mount, Sterling, Kane and Phil Foden, retained in midfield ahead of Jordan Henderson, all started but it rarely worked. England looked vulnerable to the counter-attack. Against better opponents? Southgate will be concerned and may feel this, actually, was an endorsement of his usual reliance of a double pivot of Declan Rice, who did play, and Kalvin Phillips, who was absent injured.

Roland Sallai coolly slotted home from 12 yards - PA
Roland Sallai coolly slotted home from 12 yards - PA

England will point to the fact that they fell behind to a harshly awarded penalty – “silly” Rice called it – but these things happen and they still had plenty of time to turn the result around and equalised 14 minutes after conceding.

Southgate may have noted it was Grealish who was easily beaten as a cross was delivered which was nevertheless cut out by Luke Shaw. However, the ball flicked up into the air and as Shaw attempted to clear it on the edge of the area he caught Loic Nego in the face as the midfielder darted in. The penalty was given.

Was it harsh? Was there really contact? Nego’s reaction bought it and Shaw was cautioned before Roland Sallai drove his spot-kick to Jordan Pickford’s left. In the Hungarian end where, earlier, fans had attacked the police as they tried to arrest one of them for racially abusing a steward, a green flare was set off with the smoke trailing across the pitch as they celebrated. That will be something else on the Hungarian charge sheet.

England were shocked. The shape was not quite working but Grealish got on the ball and ran at the defence. Free-kicks were won and, from one, Foden’s whipped, inswinging free-kick was more accurate with first Tyrone Mings flicking it on, then the ball deflecting off Rice’s back before John Stones guided his volley home at the far post. England were level.

On half-time, Kyle Walker lofted a high ball from right to left which Grealish cushioned wonderfully before surging past Nego who did well to recover. It drew gasps. Soon after Sterling met Shaw’s scooped cross with goalkeeper Peter Gulacsi beating out his header at his left-hand post before the forward scuffed the rebound wide.

Surely England would press home their advantage in the second-half? Stones threatened again when he met Foden’s corner and with his header bouncing a yard wide but that was a close as they got. It then appeared Southgate was going to take Foden off but, instead, it was Grealish’s number seven that was shown. He looked surprised. Everyone was surprised.

Even so, there was still half an hour to go and Sterling should have won it, released by Kane, but Gulacsi rushed out to smother his shot. But after Kane’s miss that was it. Instead, England almost gifted Hungary a goal, with a loose pass from substitute Bukayo Saka intercepted, and that summed up a below-par, careless, even anxious night.

Southgate defends decision to sub Kane

By Mike McGrath

Gareth Southgate accused his England team of playing with anxiety and defended his decision to substitute Harry Kane.

Southgate took Kane off with 15 minutes left of the disjointed 1-1 draw after John Stones had cancelled out Roland Sallai’s penalty in the World Cup qualifier at Wembley.

The England manager says he will now analyse his change of system which saw Phil Foden play in a 4-3-3 - a shift from his usual 4-2-3-1 against higher-level opposition.

“Some of our quality was really poor, we gave unusual passes away, we got caught in possession several times, we overran the ball quite a few times,” Southgate said. “We forced things too often.

“We started the game that way and that bred anxiety in our play which is quite unusual. We wanted to try to get the spark, we struggled to create clear chances and we thought freshness might produce that.

“So we changed the system as we felt we were open to counter-attacks and weren't really opening them up with 4-3-3.”

Jack Grealish looked unhappy when he was taken off just after the hour mark after winning free-kicks and enjoying the ball against the Hungarians. With the game in the balance, he also took skipper Kane off.

“With any of the forwards there will always be a story if we take them off,” said Southgate.. “They are big players but we’ve got to be able to do that or we’ll never progress. I felt it was right at the time, but I'm not purposely singling out any of the player because were all responsible for the performance.

"We have to go away and reflect and should not judge things on one game and that experiment.

“Right across the board we weren't sharp with our play and we were overrunning things. I think we were just underneath. It was the first time in a long time but we have to hold our hands up to it.

“I don't think we should look at individuals because collectively we didn't perform at the level we should have and when that happens it is difficult for individuals as well.”

There were also injury concerns over Stones who needed his wrist strapped and Tammy Abraham who came off with an injury, although Hungary could celebrate a famous point.

"The guys followed the tactics from the beginning to the end and added their own skill and their hearts," said Hungary coach Marco Rossi. "We are out of the dream of reaching the World Cup but we are not the idiots that our false supporters were saying about us."

England vs Hungary - as it happened

08:57 PM

Jason Burt's match report will be at the top of the blog shortly

And we'll have more details on the crowd trouble for you coming on Telegraph Sport. Thanks for reading.

08:51 PM

That was an entertaining game

Between two decent sides. But it's so disappointing it has been overshadowed by the shocking scenes in the away end.

08:41 PM


Gareth Southgate's side drop points for just the second time in this World Cup qualifying campaign.

08:39 PM

90+3 min ENG 1 HUN 1

Watkins has a sniff of a chance straight away but slips as he tries a half-volley at the back post! The ball drops straight into the arms of the grateful Gulacsi.

08:38 PM

Another sub for England

Tammy Abraham has picked up a knock and is replaced by Ollie Watkins. The Roma striker is limping quite badly as he leaves the field.

08:36 PM

90 min ENG 1 HUN 1

Four minutes of time to be added on.

08:33 PM

86 min ENG 1 HUN 1

Decent chance for a counter-attack from the hosts, sparked by an incisive pass through the middle of the park from Jordan Henderson.

Shaw tries to find the rampaging Abraham with a chipped through ball but Hungary manage to get plenty of bodies back and shut the attack down.

08:30 PM

83 min ENG 1 HUN 1

Big chance for the visitors!

The ball is nicked off Saka's toe just outside the England box and substitute Holender has a clear sight of goal.

But his curling effort flies well over the crossbar. England are chasing the win but need to be careful they don't try to overplay too much in the process...

08:27 PM

80 min ENG 1 HUN 1

Another chance for Stones, who has been a real threat from attacking set pieces tonight.

Shaw whips a free-kick in from the left wing and Stones muscles past his marker and nods towards goal - but straight at Gulacsi who gathers.

Oh, the referee has penalised Stones for a push anyway. Not sure there was much in that.

08:21 PM

75 min ENG 1 HUN 1

And that is the end of Harry Kane's evening - he is replaced by Tammy Abraham, while Jordan Henderson comes on for Raheem Sterling.

England's Harry Kane shakes hands with manager Gareth Southgate after being substituted - ACTION IMAGES VIA REUTERS
England's Harry Kane shakes hands with manager Gareth Southgate after being substituted - ACTION IMAGES VIA REUTERS

08:20 PM

73 min ENG 1 HUN 1

Oh dear Harry!

Saka dinks a ball through for Kane who has a half-decent opening, but lashes his strike high, wide and not very handsome.

The replay shows the England No 9 was offside though, so no harm done.

08:17 PM

70 min ENG 1 HUN 1

Good chance...good save!

Sterling robs the ball in midfield and lays it off to Kane, who slips a piercing through-ball in behind the Hungarian defence for the Manchester City forward.

Sterling scampers on to it and pokes a shot towards goal but Gulacsi spreads himself to block. Decent keeping from the former Liverpool man.

Raheem Sterling of England has a shot saved by Peter Gulacsi of Hungary - GETTY IMAGES
Raheem Sterling of England has a shot saved by Peter Gulacsi of Hungary - GETTY IMAGES

08:11 PM

66 min ENG 1 HUN 1

The game has turned into attack v defence for the past couple of minutes.

Hungary have dropped into their defensive shape and England are dominating possession - but haven't managed to create a clear opportunity so far.

08:08 PM

62 min ENG 1 HUN 1

Close! Stones nearly has a second...but his header from the corner drops inches wide of the upright.

And Gareth Southgate has made his first substitution of the night - Saka replaces Grealish.

08:07 PM

61 min ENG 1 HUN 1

Some more decent stuff from the home side.

Grealish darts in from the left flank, offloads the ball to Foden who takes a touch and flicks the ball out to Sterling.

But his cross is blocked and it's out for a corner.

08:03 PM

57 min ENG 1 HUN 1

That's the first shot in anger from Harry Kane.

Grealish works a bit of space on the left corner of the box and then shovels the ball to Kane.

The England captain steps inside past a defender and tries to bend his shot into the far corner...but it's too close to keeper Gulacsi who gathers easily.

08:01 PM

54 min ENG 1 HUN 1

Lovely move from England! Foden waltzes forward before zipping a sublime ball in behind for Sterling to chase.

He crosses low towards Kane in the middle of the 18-yard box but a combination of two Hungarian defenders do enough to block before a third steps forward to hack the ball clear.

Much better from the hosts.

07:56 PM

50 min ENG 1 HUN 1

Lovely interplay in midfield between four Hungarian players. Superb movement and one-touch passing to work space on the right flank...but the cross aimed at Schon is half-cleared by Walker and the move breaks down.

07:52 PM

'Minor disorder broke out'

Here's what the Met had to say about those disturbances in the away end earlier.

07:51 PM

46 min ENG 1 HUN 1

England get the second half under way.

07:42 PM

Hooligans in running battles with police

Here's the full story on the clashes between Hungary fans and police which broke out at the start of the game.

07:37 PM


Plenty of room for improvement from England in the second half. You'd imagine Gareth Southgate will want to switch up the midfield as it's been much too easy for Hungary to play through them.

07:35 PM

45 min ENG 1 HUN 1

Good save! Sterling's header from Shaw's looping cross is palmed away by Gulacsi in the Hungary goal.

And then the England forward fluffs his lines with the rebound, sending it trickling out for a goal kick.

07:34 PM

44 min ENG 1 HUN 1

Oof what a touch from Grealish.

In one movement he controls a flighted ball with the outside of his boot and tickles it past the defender so he can dash past him.

But his attempted cross is blocked for a corner.

07:29 PM

More details on the crowd trouble

At the start of the game, from our man Matt Law at Wembley.

07:26 PM

37 min ENG 1 HUN 1

Foden whips a wonderful free-kick in from the right wing, it comes off a Hungarian defender's back and Stones taps into the empty net!

07:25 PM


England 1 Hungary 1

07:24 PM

36 min ENG 0 HUN 1

England starting to build a little bit of pressure. Grealish wins another free-kick on the edge of the box and the visitors are struggling to string passes together.

07:21 PM

Here's the penalty decision

07:20 PM

30 min ENG 0 HUN 1

England have a free-kick on the right flank, level with the 18-yard box, after Grealish is felled by a clumsy challenge.

07:18 PM

27 min ENG 0 HUN 1

Hungary growing in confidence and starting to play some decent stuff in and around the England midfielders.

Plenty to ponder for Gareth Southgate.

07:12 PM

And scores! ENG 0 HUN 1

Sallai sends Pickford the wrong way and the visitors lead!

07:12 PM

Check complete

Sallai steps up...

07:11 PM

Hungary penalty!

Shaw penalised for a high foot - and he gets a yellow card for his trouble!

It's on the very edge of the box...Var will check it.

07:09 PM

19 min ENG 0 HUN 0

England with plenty of possession and they probe patiently from one side of the pitch to the other, but it's all in front of Hungary who have two defensive lines close together.

With no clear openings, Rice opts to fling a long ball out towards Shaw and the full-back's cross is cleared. The visitors will be pleased with how this is going so far.

07:03 PM

15 min ENG 0 HUN 0

Another chance for a Hungary counter-attack after a sloppy ball across midfield from Mount is intercepted on the halfway line.

The ball drops to Szoboszlai on the edge of the box but England get enough men back and crowd him out.

07:01 PM

Another view

Of Hungary fans clashing with police. Not entirely sure what sparked things off - but it looks like things have calmed down now.

Hungary fans clash with police at Wembley - GETTY IMAGES
Hungary fans clash with police at Wembley - GETTY IMAGES

06:58 PM

9 min ENG 0 HUN 0

Close! What a lovely move from England. Shaw plays a cute little one-two with Grealish, rampages forward and then whips a delightful cross across the face of the six-yard box.

Kane and Sterling both lining up at the back post for a tap-in but it's diverted out for a corner by the Hungarian defender.

06:56 PM

There's a bit of trouble in the stands

In the away end...

06:55 PM

6 min ENG 0 HUN 0

This is a very attacking 4-3-3 from Gareth Southgate.

Rice is sitting with two attacking No 8s ahead of him in Foden and Mount.

Then Sterling wide right, Kane in the middle and Grealish on the left.

06:51 PM

3 min ENG 0 HUN 0

Walker storms up England's right flank but gives the ball away which gives the visitors a decent chance to counter-attack.

They work a dangerous looking position on the edge of England's box but Stones does well to block the cross and it's out for a throw-in.

06:48 PM

1 min ENG 0 HUN 0

The visitors get proceedings under way.

06:46 PM

A minute's applause being held

For two of England's finest forwards - Jimmy Greaves and Roger Hunt - who have both sadly passed away in recent weeks.

06:41 PM

The players are heading out

On to the Wembley turf. The national anthems are coming up.

06:35 PM

England players limbering up

Tyrone Mings, Harry Kane, Jack Grealish and Raheem Sterling warm up before England vs Hungary - PA
Tyrone Mings, Harry Kane, Jack Grealish and Raheem Sterling warm up before England vs Hungary - PA

06:31 PM

A win tonight

Would leave England needing one win from their final two games to secure qualification - Albania at home and San Marino away. Hopefully that shouldn't be too much of an issue...

06:26 PM

Gareth's pre-match thoughts

06:16 PM

Team news

Here's how both sides line up tonight for those of you who are just joining us. Gareth Southgate made nine changes from the XI that started against Andorra.

England: Pickford, Walker, Stones, Mings, Shaw, Foden, Rice, Mount, Sterling, Kane, Grealish.

Hungary: Gulacsi, Lang, Kecskes, Szalai, Nego, Adam Nagy, Schafer, Zsolt Nagy, Sallai, Szoboszlai, Schon.

06:02 PM

Dominik Szoboszlai is the Hungarian danger man

And, helpfully, he features on our list of the the top footballing stars born since January 1, 2000.

05:52 PM

Some pre-match reading

After Phil Foden's starring role at the weekend, Mike McGrath wrote this piece on why England must build a midfield around the Manchester City maestro.

05:42 PM

Hungary starting XI

Gulacsi, Lang, Kecskes, Szalai, Nego, Adam Nagy, Schafer, Zsolt Nagy, Sallai, Szoboszlai, Schon.

Subs: Varga, Szabo, Nikolic, Gazdag, Vecsei, Holender, Bogdan, Bolla, Salloi, Balogh.

05:35 PM

This is a decent record

05:24 PM

By my reckoning

Foden and Stones are the only players who started against Andorra who have retained their places for tonight's game.

Nine changes from Gareth Southgate.

05:23 PM

Here's the England starting XI

Phil Foden retains his place after starring against Andorra, while Harry Kane returns up front.

05:17 PM

Good evening and welcome

To our live coverage of England vs Hungary in World Cup qualifying Group I.

Gareth Southgate's side have 19 points from seven games so far, and a much-changed England team cruised past minnows Andorra 5-0 on Saturday night.

In the previous encounter between these two sides, England triumphed 4-0 in a match marred by Hungarian fans' racist behaviour inside the Puskas Arena. The disgraceful abuse - including monkey chants aimed at Raheem Sterling and Jude Bellingham - saw Hungary subsequently hit with a stadium ban and £158,000 by Fifa.

Turning back to on-field matters, and Southgate is expected to select a much stronger lineup than the XI he picked against Andorra - with Harry Kane starting up front.

Our chief football correspondent Jason Burt believes Kane currently appears much happier with England than with his club Tottenham. And the England manager appeared to agree in his pre-match press conference, saying: "In terms of what we ask him to do, I think we’ve obviously got a settled way of playing here.

"His team-mates know him, he knows his team-mates, he knows the patterns of play that we play towards.

"I can’t talk about the club but I think he feels settled in our environment. It’s an environment where he knows we have belief, but we have to push him. We want improvement from the team all the time."

Southgate, meanwhile, is planning to speak to the FA about his contract in the next few weeks after England secure World Cup qualification.

Southgate guided England to the 2018 World Cup semi-finals in Russia before securing a third-placed finish in the inaugural 2019 Uefa Nations League. The team were runners-up to Italy in the European Championship earlier this year.

The 51-year-old is under contract until after the 2022 World Cup but FA chief executive Mark Bullingham said in June they were keen to extend the deal.

"I said last month I had asked to put that (contract talks) further back into the autumn as I just wanted to focus on these games and also to give the time to make the right decision," Southgate said.

"After the Euros there's a huge amount of emotion and feeling and fatigue from going through a tournament like that. I want to make sure that I'm making the right decisions for the right reasons.

"Discussions are very much open and Mark has been really supportive but I've felt this task of getting the country to the World Cup was the priority. We can look at everything in the next few weeks."

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