England’s 2022/23 Nations League campaign got off to a fairly limp start on Saturday as Gareth Southgate’s side lost 1-0 away to Hungary.
In a match that had a strange atmosphere, the hosts won with a 66th minute penalty converted by Dominik Szoboszlai.
The strange atmosphere was in part down to approximately 30,000 spectators attending, when there was a supposed stadium closure imposed on the Hungarians. This after the racist and homaphobic behaviour of their fans during Euro 2020.
Back to matters on the pitch, and the England team just never really got going. Southgate’s men huffed and puffed, and they had the bulk of the possession (58%) across the 90 minutes. But they never really looked like scoring, and never really threatened to take control of the match.
It had the feel of an end of season kickabout, and that must be alarming for Southgate. Especially with England’s next two matches being against Germany (away), and Italy (home).
From a Hungarian point of view, they will feel they were more than a match for England. And in a group alongside Southgate’s team, Italy, and Germany, Marco Rossi’s Hungary side will need all the help they can get.
Fortunately for Rossi, they got it on Saturday from England.
There’s also the added fact that some of these England players were supposedly trying to impress the manager with the 2022 World Cup on the horizon.
England will definitely have to up their game when they play in Germany on Tuesday. If they turn up with that attitude and level of performance in Munich, it could spell trouble.