Monday, November 29

Raheem Sterling on target as England overcome abuse to defeat Hungary | 2022 World Cup Qualifiers

England brought fireworks into the second half as they took a big step towards qualifying for the Qatar World Cup next year. Staunch Hungary fans, however, invited censorship by throwing one at the celebrating England players.

It was a dangerous moment after England’s third goal, headed by Harry Maguire from a Luke Shaw corner kick, and the only mercy was that he did not find his goal.

On an equally depressing note, ITV reported that Raheem Sterling, who scored the opening goal and scored the second for Harry Kane, was the target of monkey chants from the home crowd. The broadcaster said the noises were also directed at the understudy, Jude Bellingham.

UEFA has sanctioned Hungarian fans two games for racist and homophobic behavior in the final phase of Euro 2020 (they will serve it when the Nations League starts next summer), and this was another night when their worst excesses came out. to the surface. .

Sterling was tossed with paper cups after he opened the scoring early in the second half and ran to one of the corner flags, lifting his shirt to reveal a message to his friend, Steffie Gregg, who passed away. Thereafter the ultras had their backs turned, hurling insults when he appealed for a couple of penalties. They would go too far in the final stages.

England could have won by more, as Kane blew a hat-trick of clear chances before Peter Gulacsi hit a Declan Rice shot into the net. But in the end, it was a night where England had to deal with more than was thrown at them in football terms.

It was the first time England had played away from home in front of a packed stadium since November 2019: their only road trip at Euro 2020 had been to a practically empty Olympic Stadium in Rome for the quarter-final victory over Ukraine, and the pulsed atmosphere.

The Carpathian Brigade, a group of staunch Hungarians dressed in black jerseys, crowded behind one of the goals long before kick-off and the reaction as England’s players knelt led to deafening boos. As Southgate pointed out on Wednesday, this sort of thing is not exclusive to non-English crowds. It is worth reporting that the hosts respected the British national anthem when it was played.

Declan Rice pretends to drink from a cup thrown at him by Hungarian fans.
Declan Rice pretends to drink from a cup thrown at him by Hungarian fans. Photograph: Carl Recine / Reuters

England has a previous with Hungary. In the center of Budapest is the Borozo 6: 3 wine bar, once owned by Nandor Hidegkuti, one of the stars of the mighty Magyars who defeated England by that score at Wembley in 1953, while Hungary won 7-7. 1 in old Nepstadion the following year. it is still England’s toughest defeat.

Southgate wanted better here. One of their mantras has been that England can write their own history and their players tried to take the sting out of partisan local fans early on by grabbing the ball and squeezing. The starting system was 4-3-3 and you could see how Kalvin Phillips pressed high as a number 8 on the right when England had possession, as did Mason Mount on the left.

There is a well-being factor surrounding this Hungarian team, especially after their encouraging performances at the Euro, even if they were ultimately unable to escape a group that included Portugal, France and Germany. Their draws against the last couple shed light on their potential and they want to believe that a first World Cup qualification since Mexico 86 is possible.

Hungary were determined to keep their 3-4-2-1 form out of possession, and were out of it for long periods before the break. What could England do with the ball? They were neat and orderly, working their patterns patiently, but there was very little avant-garde.

Jack Grealish seemed the most likely to make something happen, working from the left and happy to take risks. He picked up a pass from Mount after 21 minutes before finding Kane who fired a high shot, while Grealish nearly dropped the overlapping Shaw with a cute chip into the area. Peter Gulacsi was quick to leave his line.

Maguire headed wide from an early corner and there was a moment in the 45th minute when Sterling shot toward the baseline to cut into Mount, whose shot was blocked. It was a meager selection in the first half, although at least Hungary was restricted.

John Stones, playing his first minutes of the season, misjudged a bouncing ball before recovering to get away from Roland Sallai, while Dominik Szoboszlai, the great hope of Hungarian football, lifted a high free kick after Rice fouled. against Adam Szalai.

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England pushed harder early in the second half, looking sharper, their intention more pronounced. They should have led before they did: Kane used his body to maneuver over Kyle Walker’s pass, straying away from Willi Orban only to fire too close to Gulacsi. It was an unusual foul.

The breakthrough was a beauty, it started when Rice won the ball atop Orban and Grealish playing on the overlapping mount after drawing a pair of red jerseys on him. The cross was true, and Sterling opened his body to finish inside the far corner.

Hungary was broken. They couldn’t get out and England turned the screw. The second goal followed an interception by Phillips and was created by Sterling, whose cross he deflected for Kane to bury a nose dive.

Kane should have scored again only to be rejected by Gulacsi after a pass from Grealish and then came the fireworks controversy. Shaw was tossed with paper cups before taking a corner and, as Maguire’s header passed Gulacsi’s hands and England celebrated, a fan behind the goal launched a missile.

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