Hungary 0 England 4: Three Lions win marred by trouble in Budapest

England brushed off their Euro 2020 final heartbreak with a convincing World Cup qualification victory in Hungary as Raheem Sterling shone with a goal and an assist.

Just 53 days after the pain of losing on penalties to Italy at Wembley, the Three Lions were back in action as their quest to qualify for the 2022 World Cup continued with a comfortable 4-0 victory in Budapest, where racist chanting was reportedly heard during the second half.

Sterling turned in the opener after the break before setting up Harry Kane, with Harry Maguire heading in soon after and Declan Rice scoring from distance to wrap up the win and maintain England’s perfect start to Group I.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Hungary had held both France and Germany to draws at the Puskas Arena during the European Championship and this always looked like England’s toughest test of qualification.

England's Harry Maguire celebrates scoring their side's third goal of the game, while a flare is thrown onto the pitch. Pictures: PAEngland's Harry Maguire celebrates scoring their side's third goal of the game, while a flare is thrown onto the pitch. Pictures: PA
England's Harry Maguire celebrates scoring their side's third goal of the game, while a flare is thrown onto the pitch. Pictures: PA

But they are now unbeaten in 14 games against Hungary and have not lost a World Cup qualifier since 2009.

This ground will be empty for the next two UEFA-organised matches following sanctions after racist and homophobic abuse marred Hungary’s Euro 2020 fixtures, with the third match of a stadium ban suspended.

With no away fans in attendance, the jeers that met England’s players taking the knee before kick-off in the now-familiar stance against racism and discrimination were deafening.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

There was a report of monkey chants during the second half, with cups thrown at Sterling following the opening goal and a flare tossed on after Maguire’s effort, surely meaning further sanctions await.

England's Raheem Sterling celebrates scoring as he pelted my missiles in Budapest.England's Raheem Sterling celebrates scoring as he pelted my missiles in Budapest.
England's Raheem Sterling celebrates scoring as he pelted my missiles in Budapest.

England boss Gareth Southgate refused to be drawn into criticising the Hungarian supporters ahead of the game after three of his own players – Jadon Sancho, Marcus Rashford and Bukayo Saka – were targets of online racist abuse following their penalty misses in the shoot-out against Italy.

Kane did not hear the racist abuse but hopes heavy sanctions are passed down.

“I didn’t hear that,” he told ITV. “I’ll talk to the boys and see if they heard any of it.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

“Look, we’ll have to report it to UEFA as the rules with it. If it’s the case then hopefully UEFA can come down strong.”

England's Declan Rice (left) celebrates scoring with Kalvin Phillips.England's Declan Rice (left) celebrates scoring with Kalvin Phillips.
England's Declan Rice (left) celebrates scoring with Kalvin Phillips.

England defender John Stones, who won his 50th cap in Budapest, echoed Kane’s comments.

“I think we definitely have the mindset of ‘let the football do the talking’ and tonight we did that,” said the former Barnsley defender. “We celebrated our goals as if it is the last one we will score and that is an incredible thing to have as a team and as players.

“We live the game and are so passionate for the shirt and how we conduct ourselves on the pitch. It is our passion, let our football do the talking and that showed tonight.”

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Southgate named 10 of the players who started the Euro final in his team here, with Manchester City’s £100m man Jack Grealish replacing Kieran Trippier as England reverted to a four-man defence.

Following the heights of the summer, England are now back at “base camp” according to Southgate as they aim to qualify for the World Cup in Qatar, but the ascent started smoothly enough.

They dominated possession in a first half bereft of clear-cut chances, Mason Mount shooting high and wide, Maguire heading over a corner and Kane missing the target from the edge of the box. Kane finally drew a save out of Peter Gulacsi but should have done better when he went through one-on-one with the Hungary goalkeeper early in the second half.

England took the lead shortly afterwards, Rice winning back possession and finding Grealish, whose ball to Mount was crossed in for Sterling to turn home.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

The forward peeled off his shirt to unveil a message which read ‘Love you forever Steffie Gregg’ – a friend of Sterling’s who died earlier this year.

He was pelted with drinks as his team-mates joined him in celebration by the corner flag, but it did not deter the Manchester City man. Just eight minutes later and he was teeing up Kane to double the lead, crossing to the near post for the skipper to score with a diving header.

England were suddenly looking much sharper and Kane was again denied by Gulacsi as he looked to kill off the game.

The third came from the resulting Luke Shaw corner, Maguire – the former Sheffield United and Hull City defender – seeing his header squirming in under Gulacsi, with a flare thrown on to the pitch close to where the England players celebrated.

Hide Ad
Hide Ad

Play resumed after a brief interlude, with Sterling flagged offside having burst in behind and Kane again kept out by Gulacsi, the former Liverpool keeper becoming increasingly busy as the game wore on.

He was beaten too easily again as Rice’s shot from distance added a fourth for the visitors in the closing stages as reports of racist abuse began to surface from broadcasters dotted around the stadium.

Hungary: Gulacsi, Kecskes, Orban, Attila Szalai, Bolla (Kevin Varga 70), Kleinheisler (Gazdag 82), Schafer, Fiola, Sallai (Salloi 66), Szoboszlai, Adam Szalai.

England: Pickford, Walker, Stones, Maguire, Shaw, Phillips, Rice (Henderson 88), Sterling, Mount (Lingard 84), Grealish (Saka 88),Kane. Unused substitutes: Johnstone, James, Mings, Bamford, Alexander-Arnold, Coady, Trippier, Bellingham, Pope.

Referee: C Cakir (Turkey).

Comment Guidelines

National World encourages reader discussion on our stories. User feedback, insights and back-and-forth exchanges add a rich layer of context to reporting. Please review our Community Guidelines before commenting.