Hungary devour shambolic England to heap pressure on Gareth Southgate at Wolves

PAROCHIAL Black Country chants of 'Hi Ho Wolverhampton' are the musical accompaniment to the sight of the all-gold jerseys of Wolves players entering the pitch on a match-day at Molineux


The song is of course adapted from Jeff Beck's smash Sixties' hit 'Hi Ho Silver Lining'. How those in the white shirts of England - not to mention Gareth Southgate - needed a silver lining in this famous Midlands venue on Tuesday evening.

Instead, the England manager witnessed the darkest night of his time in charge and certainly his most challenging period. Just the three games to sort it out before the World Cup in December. His haunted look towards the end of the game said it all.

Barnsley's Callum Styles, in action for Hungary, challenges England rival Bukayo Saka on a shambolic night for the hosts at Wolverhampton. Picture: PA.Barnsley's Callum Styles, in action for Hungary, challenges England rival Bukayo Saka on a shambolic night for the hosts at Wolverhampton. Picture: PA.
Barnsley's Callum Styles, in action for Hungary, challenges England rival Bukayo Saka on a shambolic night for the hosts at Wolverhampton. Picture: PA.
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In the words of Beck’s song, England were everywhere and nowhere after totally disintegrating defensively after Roland Sallai’s second goal of the game on 70 minutes.

A third goal from Zsolt Nagy was the prelude to damning chants of ‘You don’t know what you are doing’ directed towards the England chief.

Incredibly worse was to come when another replacement in Daniel Gazdag - whose reprehensible play-acting saw John Stones receive a second yellow card eight minutes from time - netted a fourth.

Molineux was stupefied except for 700 visiting fans with England and Southgate in danger of careering down a bumpy hillside.

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There will be those who talk about players running on empty and legs and minds being fatigued at the end of a season which had begun 311 days earlier. Others will point to the validity of the Nations League which seems another unwanted addition for many to the international calendar which has only extended an already hectic schedule.

Forget that. England - a side who reached a major final 11 months earlier - were woeful here and have bigger problems than that. They must now find solutions come autumn.

In four games this month, they have not scored from open play and are winless. It’s been a flaming June so far, but nothing to do with the weather..

During the Hungarian national anthem, England supporters acerbically made their feelings known towards the the 700-strong visiting contingent with the Magyars’ recent chargesheet regarding examples of racist and homophobic chants having seen them in the dock on too many occasions of late.

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At the end of the first half, the dissent from home followers was directed towards those in England jerseys following a sloppy first-half which deteriorated after intermittent brightness on a glorious summer evening.

Following the final whistle of Saturday’s forgettable draw with Italy at Molineux, those in white shirts had the ignominy of receiving some cursory jeers from a few thousand school-children at the conclusion. Here, the displeasure from many who have watched the nation over many years spoke greater volumes.

England were too lateral in possession and lacked wit, quick-thinking and an ability to mix the game up. Hungary sat deep and stopped the hosts’ flow and were comfortable.

On his first start on home soil, not too far from his Herefordshire roots, former Hull City player Jarrod Bowen will have wanted more. His one first-half chance saw his near-post header blocked by Zsolt Nagy when he should have done better. He was not alone and the contagion caught on.

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The game pitted Leeds United’s Kalvin Phillips - on the ground where he made his club debut just over seven years earlier - against Barnsley’s Callum Styles, who started in his homeland for Hungary. It would have been a proud day for the Styles’ family.

The pair were involved in the build-up to the opener. A foul by Phillips on Styles saw Adam Lang beat Stones too easily in the air. Kane could not clear and that was compounded by the sight of Sallai’s fierce shot getting past Ramsdale at his near post.

Some outstanding close control from Hungary captain Adam Szalai then drew a foul from Jude Bellingham, with the well-stationed Reece James on hand to clear after Phillips got a touch to a wicked delivery from Lang.

In his technical area, Southgate had much to ponder with the quality coming from those in red.

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One scare for Hungary saw keeper Denes Dibusz keep out a header from his own defender Will Orban from Bukayo Saka’s cross. The fact that Kane did not play in Saka earlier will have been noted by Southgate, even if his captain still represented his main hope up top. Again.

The sight of Jack Grealish and Mason Mount doing their stretches before the break was at least a reminder that the England manager had options.

Southgate may not be a manager to deliver the hair-dryer treatment and prefers more subtle ways. But his unhappiness when speaking to his players at the break will have been evident.

England did briefly raise the tempo on the restart with Kane almost getting on the end of good work by the midfielder and then James.

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They would go onto unravel. Phillips was outmuscled by Martin Adam in the prelude to Sallai's second. Zsolt Nagy's fierce blast added a third as Hungary filled their boots and the coup de grace came when Gazdag dinked the ball over Ramsdale.

England: Ramsdale, Walker, Guehi, Stones, James; Saka (Maguire (85), Phillips, Bellingham (Foden 68), Gallagher (Mount 56), Bowen (Sterling 45), Kane. Substitutes unused: Trippier, Pope, Grealish, Coady, Ward-Prowse, Rice, Pickford, Abraham.

Hungary: Dibusz, Attila Szalai, Orban, Lang; Nagy, Styles (A Nagy 56), Schafer, Fiola, Szoboszlai (Gazdag 56), Sallai (Nego 78), Adam Szalai (Adam 68). Substitutes unused: Kecskés, Schön, Bolla, Kerkez, Spandler, Szappanos.

Referee: Clement Turpin (France)