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The Three Lions were handed a worst home defeat in 90 years by their Hungarian visitors
England slumped to their biggest home defeat since 1929 as they were routed 4-0 by Hungary in their UEFA Nations League encounter on Tuesday night, in a match marred by jeering from Three Lions fans during their opponents’ national anthem.
England’s recent woes continued as a goal in each half from Roland Sallai and late strikes from Zsolt Nagy and Daniel Gazdag ensured the Three Lions remain rooted to the bottom of UEFA Nations League Group A3 and facing relegation.
Compounding the misery for Gareth Southgate’s men was the red card for defender John Stones inside the last 10 minutes – by which point Hungary were already out of reach.
For the Hungarians – managed by Italian Marco Rossi – it was their most famous night on English soil since the historic 6-3 win at Wembley in 1953.
In contrast, the loss for England was their worst at home since a 5-1 thrashing by arch-rivals Scotland back in 1928.
Hungary celebrated wildly while England were left dejected. © Michael Regan / The FA via Getty Images
There were unsavory scenes before Tuesday’s game at Molineux Stadium had even got underway as England fans were heard booing the visitors’ national anthem and singing “you racist b*******, you know what you are.”
The chants were a response to the row dating from when Hungarian fans were accused of racially abusing black England stars Raheem Sterling and Jude Bellingham during their World Cup qualifying match in Budapest last year.
That led to FIFA handing Hungary a fine and a two-match stadium ban for fans, the second game of which was suspended for a probationary period of two years.
Separately, Hungary were given a three-match spectator ban by UEFA in July 2021 as punishment for racist abuse at Euro 2020.
When England and Hungary played in Budapest earlier this month, the match was attended mostly by schoolchildren who were allowed in under a UEFA loophole.
When the match did get underway on Tuesday night, England continued their winless run after four matches of their current UEFA Nations League campaign.
The Three Lions picked up draws against Italy and Germany but have suffered successive defeats against the impressive Hungarians, who top the group with 7 points from their four outings.
Despite the prospect of relegation from the UEFA Nations League top tier, of greater concern for England boss Gareth Southgate will be the fact that his team have just two more matches scheduled – away to Italy and at home to Germany, both in the Nations League in September – to find form before the World Cup gets underway in Qatar.
“It’s not pleasant,” admitted Southgate, whose team was booed off and who was subjected to chants of “you don’t know what you’re doing.”
“The irony is that the pressure we’ve had and the reputational comments have come in the two Nations League campaigns, and in neither campaign have we been anywhere near able to pick our strongest teams for the games,” added Southgate, who guided England to the World Cup semifinals in Russia four years ago and the European Championship final at Wembley last summer.
“But tonight, I can’t dress up what’s happened tonight in any way, shape or form. But if we’re judged on the matches with our full-strength players, then I think it’s a different assessment.
“So I’ve got to accept the next period is going to be unpleasant and uncomfortable. But that’s life as a football manager, you’re never going to have six years like we’ve had and not have bad nights.”
Southgate’s opposite number Rossi was understandably elated at his team’s heroics as Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban watched on from the stands at Molineux.
Orban watched his nation hammer England. © Naomi Baker / The FA via Getty Images
“I am sure England are really among the best in the world and the favorites for the world championship, so being able to have this result tonight is something that sounds like a miracle,” he told reporters.
“If a miracle in football happens, it is difficult it could be repeated. So we are happy but we need to keep our foot on the ground…
“When I took the job, I said to our [Hungary’s] president and prime minister that I would like to leave a sign of my presence before leaving.
“I think at this point, the sign could be seen… when I die, I am sure that in the stadiums in Hungary there will be one whole minute of silence. This is a great achievement for me,” added the Italian.
Elsewhere in the same Nations League group, Germany battered Italy 5-2 in Monchengladbach – a result which elevated Hansi Flick’s team to second in the table on six points, one ahead of the Italians.