Away fans fought police during the game after one was arrested for a racially aggravated offence, and there was booing of the England players taking the knee before kick-off, with a large banner protesting against it. Hungary fans also let off a flare after their team took the lead.
In July, Hungary were ordered to play two matches behind closed doors (with a further game’s ban suspended) because of discriminatory behaviour by supporters. The punishment only applied to UEFA competitions, and when they played their next game – against England in a FIFA World Cup qualifier – the stadium was open and the racist behaviour of their fans earned a further two-match suspension, although again, one was suspended.
As one of the England team’s most passionate and eloquent speakers on race issues, centre-back Mings hopes the latest incidents are dealt with properly and proportionately.
“Every time we speak about racial abuse the punishments that follow never seem to be quite in line with what has happened but I can’t speak too freely unless I know the facts,” said the Aston Villa player, who was unaware of the trouble as he played. “I sincerely hope any punishments this time fit what’s happened.”
Not that England have a spotless record either, fined £25,630 after the Danish national anthem was booed, a laser pen was shone in oppositon goalkeeper Kasper Schmeichel’s eyes and fireworks were set off in the European Championship semi-final. Crowd disorder at the final is still under investigation.
England fans chanted about Hungarian racism during their national anthem on Tuesday, and booed at the end of it. That away fans were able to bring a flare into the ground will be held against them too.
FIFA has opened disciplinary proceedings in relation to Wembley’s trouble, and the violent scenes at the Albania versus Poland match in the same group.
The game in Tirana was temporarily suspended. Bottles were thrown on to the pitch after Karol Swiderski scored for Poland.
A FIFA statement said: “Following an analysis of the match reports, FIFA has opened disciplinary proceedings in relation to yesterday’s England v Hungary and Albania v Poland FIFA World Cup qualifier matches.
“Once again, FIFA strongly condemns the incidents at both matches and would like to state that its position remains firm and resolute in rejecting any form of violence as well as any form of discrimination or abuse. FIFA has a very clear zero-tolerance stance against such abhorrent behaviour in football.”
It was a disappointing night in footballing terms too at Wembley, England labouring to a 1-1 draw after fielding a more attacking version of their usual 4-3-3. Mings did not think that was to blame.
“I don’t think we as individuals performed well enough and I think tactics are a very small part of winning and losing a game,” he argued. “We have to perform to the standards we’ve performed to before. We’re disappointed but we have a very good clean-sheet record and I don’t think that is solely down to tactics.”