This won’t have the historic resonance of 1953 – it can’t, it just can’t – but nevertheless it’s quite the footnote to one of football’s most famous stories. To be filed alongside Brazil’s Maracanazo and their 7-1 home defeat in the next World Cup finals they hosted. That sort of energy. Anyway, David Hytner was at Molineux to witness a thumping for the ages, and his report has landed. Thanks for reading this MBM. Nighty night.
More from Southgate on 4: “We’ve seen you have to be at full strength. It was an important experience for a lot of young players across this tranche of games. We’ve learned a lot, particularly against Germany and Italy. Hungary are a good side, we knew that, and I think I gave them too much for them to do tonight, and I understand the reaction to that in the stadium. What I would say is, this group of players have been unbelievable for the country, and it’s important that people stay with them. They are still going to be very strong going forward.”
... and can he understand the chants aimed at him by the Molineux crowd? “Yes of course. In the end, this is about winning matches with England. Tonight was the sort of night that a lot of my predecessors have had and experienced, and it’s difficult ... I’m not going to say it doesn’t hurt, but it’s very clear to me what we were trying to do across the four matches, and the irony is that the two Nations League campaigns have been the ones that have heaped negativity and pressure onto us. I’ve got to go with that and it’s my job to protect the players. The results are my responsibility.”
Gareth Southgate talks to the seemingly cursed Channel ‘England Nil, Hungary’ Four. “We picked a young team with energy, and when the game started to go against them, it started to look that way. That’s my responsibility in the end. I felt at half-time we needed to go for the game, we made changes that gave us more attacking impetus, but then we were a little more open as well. In the end, you’re pushing, and we had so many attacking players on the pitch, we left ourselves wide open. I’ve just said to the players that across the four matches, that’s my responsibility. I’ve tried to balance looking at new players, tried to rest players, we couldn’t keep flogging our more experienced and better players, but in the end the teams I’ve selected haven’t been good enough to get the results in the two Hungary games really. I think the other two performances have been more positive than perhaps the reaction to it. But I totally understand the reaction tonight, it’s a chastening experience.”
A stunned Harry Kane fronts up to Channel 4. “It’s a disappointing night. First half, I thought we created enough chances to score, but it’s been the story of our Nations League so far. We haven’t quite had the cutting edge. But the second half is unacceptable, once we went 2-0 down, to concede in the way we did. But it’s no time to panic, we need to keep our heads up, look forward to a break and come back stronger in September. It’s our first big defeat in a long time. Our defence has been the structure of our success in the last four or five years. It’s a night to forget, but you have to take it on the chin. We’re preparing for a big World Cup, and will learn a lot from this camp. Let’s not forget where we’ve come from: a first final in 60 years, and a semi-final at a World Cup. Compared to where we were over the last 50 years, it’s no time to panic. It’s not going to be perfect every game, the fans have to understand that.”
Then he’s asked how confident he is that England are on the right path under Gareth Southgate. “Yeah. Without any question. That’s not even a question I should be answering if I’m honest.”
The other notable full-times. The Netherlands have done another last-gasp number on Wales. Gareth Bale thought he’d salvaged a draw with an injury-time penalty, only for Memphis Depay to hit straight back, just as Wout Weghorst did in Cardiff six days ago. Meanwhile Artem Dovbyk equalised for Ukraine against Ireland. Results which, while important, pale into insignificance when compared to the historical shambles at Molineux – more of which in a minute – but there you are.
England 0-4! Hungary
Germany 5-2 Italy
Netherlands 3-2 Wales
Poland 0-1 Belgium
Armenia 1-4 Scotland
Ukraine 1-1 Republic of Ireland
“You don’t know what you’re doing!” That trenchant ditty can just about be heard above the extremely loud booing that pings around all four corners of Molineux. It’s the sort of result that can put a manager under all sorts of pressure. England, with just two points from four matches, are rooted to the bottom of Group A3, and in serious danger now of relegation to the second tier. Hungary meanwhile go top, on account of Germany finishing off Italy to the tune of 5-2, Timo Werner scoring a couple in as many minutes before Wilfried Gnonto and Alessandro Bastoni grabbed consolations for the Azzurri.
FULL TIME: England 0-4 Hungary
The whistle goes. Boos ring out after England’s worst home defeat since 1928, when they lost 5-1 to Scotland. Just like 1953, Hungary have come over to England and delivered a masterclass to stun the nation!
90 min: This is utterly astonishing! This will be Hungary’s first win in England since that 6-3 in 1953 ... and they’ve chalked it up with an even bigger margin of victory!
GOAL! England 0-4 Hungary (Gazdag 89)
You don’t need to imagine the noise they’d be making if Hidegkuti, Kocsis, Czibor and Puskas were doing their thing! They’re making it now! Adam Nagy splits the England defence with a forensic pass down the middle. He’s released Gazdag, who bides his time as Ramsdale rushes out, before dinking over the keeper and into the bottom right!
88 min: Hungary ping it around and their fans give it a few olés. Imagine the noise they’d be making if Hidegkuti, Kocsis, Czibor and Puskas were doing their thing!
86 min: Walker is booked for a fairly cynical trip on Nego.
85 min: Maguire comes on for Saka, to much derision it has to be said. Most of it aimed towards Southgate, who is again told that he doesn’t know what he’s doing. A mutinous atmosphere in Molineux now. It wasn’t like this after the Match of the Century in 1953.
84 min: James slides Foden in down the inside-right channel. Foden crosses to nobody in particular. Goal kick.
RED CARD! Stones (England)
82 min: A second yellow for Stones, who is penalised for checking Gazdag in the face with his shoulder. “It’s not a foul,” insists the stunned Stones, and that indeed is a harsh decision. It looked totally accidental, with little in the way of malice. But VAR can’t get involved with yellow-card decisions, so off he must go.
81 min: Hungary cavort. “You don’t know what you’re doing,” chant the home support at their beleaguered manager.
GOAL! England 0-3 Hungary (Z Nagy 80)
A cross into the England box from the right. Nego’s header is blocked by Stones and breaks to Adam, who tees up Zsolt Nagy on the edge of the box for a thunderstrike into the bottom left. What a pearler! This isn’t quite 1953, but it’s something all right!
79 min: Hungary’s two-goal hero Roland Sallai is replaced by Loïc Négo.
77 min: Mount swings in from the left. Kane’s looping header, aimed towards the top right, pings off the crossbar. He tries to latch onto the rebound, then goes over dramatically in the general environs of Zsolt Nagy. It’s a cynical dive, so nothing doing. Also, there’s a fair chance VAR would have chalked off the header for offside, had it gone in.
76 min: Foden drags a speculative shot wide right of goal from the edge of the box. Dibusz had it covered all the way.
75 min: James, who has kept going from the get-go, and has been England’s best hope of creating something, sticks a couple of crosses in from the right. There’s nobody there to meet the first one, while the second leads to some pinball, after which the flag pops up for offside. It’s a little better from England, but not by much.
74 min: The 700-strong Hungary section is making one hell of a racket. As you’d imagine. The rest of Molineux is pretty quiet.
72 min: England visibly pick up the pace. James is found in acres down the right, and curls towards Saka at the far stick. The cross bounds through the box, and Saka can’t judge the bounce, taking an air shot. Turns out he was offside anyway.
GOAL! England 0-2 Hungary (Sallai 70)
Out of nothing! A Hungary throw down the right. A speculative dink forward. Phillips fails to control the ball, and Adam makes off with it. He rolls a diagonal pass infield for Sallai, who from ten yards pokes first time under Ramsdale and in!
68 min: Jude Bellingham makes way for Phil Foden, while Hungary captain Adam Szalai makes way for Martin Adam.
67 min: Hungary coach Marco Rossi is booked for excessive touchline yap.
66 min: Hungary are holding their shape well at the moment. They’re quite happy to let England ping it around up until they reach the final third. Then all doors slam shut.
64 min: One long pass down the inside-left channel nearly opens England up. Had Sallai been able to kill the ball dropping over his shoulder, he’d have been in for his second goal of the evening. As it is, Ramsdale is able to hare off his line and collect on the edge of his box.
62 min: Hungary are slowing the game down now, while England are trying to force things, losing possession regularly as a result.
60 min: It’s all getting a bit scrappy, and the home fans are getting irritable again.
58 min: Germany are now 3-0 up at home against Italy, Thomas Müller with their latest.
57 min: England respond by swapping Conor Gallagher for Mason Mount.
56 min: Hungary make a double change, replacing Dominik Szoboszlai and Callum Styles with Dániel Gazdag and Ádám Nagy.
54 min: Kane, tight on the right touchline, finds Saka in the area on the left with a pinpoint long pass. Saka can’t decide whether to attempt a cross or to trap, and so achieves neither.
53 min: James delivers a glorious ball through the Hungary six-yard box from the right. Kane is inches away from poking home at the near post. England are looking a genuine consistent threat for the first time this evening.
52 min: Gallagher works his way along the right and slips a ball further down the channel for Sterling, who wins a corner. Nothing comes of it, but Sterling has looked lively since coming on.
50 min: Bellingham glides in from the left and very nearly finds Kane in the box with a cute diagonal through ball. A shame Kane trimmed his toenails last night, or he’d have trapped that and been clear on goal. Much better from England.
49 min: Adam Szalai strides calmly through the middle of the park with a lovely combo of strength and skill. He slips a pass down the left for Szoboszlai, who is forced to turn tail. For a second, until Walker and Guehi covered, England looked open at the back.
47 min: Gallagher’s drive and sheer determination earns a free kick out on the right. James shovels a disguised pass down the right for Kane, who traps, turns and shoots. His effort is blocked and cleared. He claims a penalty for very little reason. Nope!
England get the second half underway, having replaced Jarrod Bowen with Raheem Sterling. “Would you say that, for the goal, Kane was like a fireman pointing his hose at the wrong fire?” quips
Geoffrey Green Niall Mullen.
Some more on Scotland’s initially frantic but ultimately comfortable win in Armenia.
Other notable half-time scores. Nathan Collins has given the Republic of Ireland the lead in Ukraine; Wales went two down in short order in Rotterdam, Noa Lang and Cody Gakpo with the Netherlands’ goals, but Brennan Johnson pulled one back; Belgium lead the Poles thanks to Michy Batshuayi’s 16th-minute strike; and it’s now 2-0 to Germany against Italy, Ilkay Gundogan doubling the home side’s lead in the other game in England’s group.
England 0-1 Hungary
Germany 2-0 Italy
Netherlands 2-1 Wales
Poland 0-1 Belgium
Armenia 1-4 Scotland (FT)
Ukraine 0-1 Republic of Ireland
HALF TIME: England 0-1 Hungary
England depart to quite a few boos. They’ve got some thinking to do. An ersatz version of 1953, if you want to belabour the point.
45 min +2: Kane spins on the edge of the D and drags a shot wide right. The ball takes a little nick off Bellingham, but the referee thinks it came off a Hungarian, and it’s a corner. Nothing comes of it.
45 min: Phillips, quarterbacking in the centre circle, nearly releases Walker down teh right with a forensic rake. A little too much weight on the pass, and it’s a goal kick. There will be two additional first-half minutes.
43 min: Bowen swings it in, and Kane causes enough bother to win a corner on the right. James hoicks it in, and it’s another easy take for Dibusz.
42 min: Adam Szalai nicks Stones out on the England right. Free kick, and a chance for everyone to line up in front of the box. Bowen to take.
40 min: Bellingham turns Fiola in and out like an old sock, winning a corner down the left. James whips it into the mixer. As the ball is redirected wide left of the goal, the whistle goes, Stones adjudged to have done a little too much shoving.
38 min: Stones goes into the book for finding Adam Szalai’s temple with the point of his elbow as the pair contested a high ball. It looked accidental but here we are.
36 min: He plays it short to Schafer, and the chance to put the ball into the England box, where the hosts have looked uncertain, is gone. Gallagher sends England on the counter, Saka crossing from the left, Orban sending a diving header towards his own net. Dibusz does extremely well to parry. Hungary half clear. Gallagher, who has been England’s best player so far, returns the ball from the right. Bellingham heads wide from close range, put off by a light nudged in the back by Lang.
35 min: Adam Szalai purchases a free kick off Saka out on the right wing. Szoboszlai to take.
33 min: Walker gifts possession to Szoboszlai, who very nearly releases Sallai into the England box on the left. Sallai is forced to check back. Szoboszlai has a dig from distance that’s easily gathered by Ramsdale. Hungary look dangerous whenever they get a bit of momentum. England can’t afford to keep handing them some.
31 min: England play keep ball. Phillips then ships possession cheaply, with England light at the back, and is very lucky that Szoboszlai, who had intercepted, over-elaborates when trying to send Adam Szalai into space on the scamper. Phillips has been a wee bit off it so far.
29 min: Stones meets the corner with an effort that’s on target but easy for Dibusz. Better from England, though.
28 min: Szoboszlai whips the free kick viciously towards the far post. Attila Szalai is preparing to bundle home from close range when James bravely heads off the line! And having nearly gone two down, England counter at speed through Bowen and Gallagher. They’d have been clean through had Szoboszlai not hared back to get in the road and block out for a corner.
27 min: Adam Szalai jinks down the white line on the left, sashaying first past Phillips, then past Bellingham. Delightful close control. He’s then upended by a piqued Bellingham as he crosses. Free kick that’s effectively a corner from the left.
25 min: Meanwhile in the other game in Group A3, Germany have taken the lead at home to Italy, Joshua Kimmich bringing down a left-wing cross and steering it home calmly from six yards.
23 min: The home fans aren’t particularly calm, it has to be said. Stones mulls over a pass upfield, taking an inordinate length of time over what appears a simple decision. The crowd aren’t shy in making their agitation known.
21 min: After a slow start, Hungary are beginning to win more of the midfield battles. Phillips clips Styles again, irritating Fiola to such an extent that the referee has to have a quiet word to calm him down.
20 min: ... and so suddenly it’s the travelling Hungarian fans who are making their voices heard now. England try to respond quickly through James, but his floated cross from the left provides easy pickings for Dibusz.
18 min: That goal was met by plenty of annoyed whistles and boos. They could have been directed to anyone, couldn’t they. That was a fine finish by Sallai, but a defensive shambles from England’s perspective. So many white shirts, so little resistance.
GOAL! England 0-1 Hungary (Sallai 16)
The free kick’s swung diagonally into the England box. Stones rises under pressure from Lang, and can only skim a header towards Sallai, level with the left-hand post, ten yards out. Kane tries to clear but airkicks. Sallai takes a touch and thrashes into the top left. Hungary lead after their first visit into England’s final third!
15 min: Phillips fouls the Bury-born Styles out on the left. And from the resulting free kick ...
14 min: The pace drops a little bit. Understandably so. It’s warm, and it’s the end of a very long season. What’s that? STOP FOOTBALL, you say? Sign up now!
12 min: A free kick for England out on the left. Bowen takes it and loops diagonally towards Stones, haring in from the right. Stones flushes a header goalwards, but he’s so far out he can’t trouble Dibusz in the Hungary goal.
10 min: Schafer goes down, James having accidentally landed on his right leg as the pair tussled for a loose ball. It looks as though he’s tweaked his knee. After a slightly worrying pause in play, he’s checked over and helped back up onto his feet. He’ll continue.
8 min: England are very much in the ascendency during these early exchanges. Saka probes down the left. Gallagher down the right. Both sorties lead to goal kicks, but Gareth Southgate will be happy with the energy England are displaying.
6 min: James, patrolling the left flank tonight, makes excellent ground down the left and dinks a cross towards Bowen at the far post. It’s a bit high, and Bowen stretches every sinew to reach it. He manages to head down, but not with any great power, and Nagy blocks. England claim a penalty, and the ball did hit the top of Nagy’s arm, but intent, distance and position of arm are all in Hungary’s favour.
5 min: It’s a gorgeous sunny evening in Wolverhampton, by the way. No need for the famous Molineux floodlights just yet.
4 min: Saka makes ground down the left. The ball’s switched to Walker on the other flank. His shot is blocked. A confident start from England, but then they started well against Italy too. Can they keep it up this time?
2 min: England quickly take control of possession. They pass it around a bit. The crowd sing another chorus of their favourite new song.
It’s only England who take the knee before kick-off ... to warm applause from the home fans. Hungary get the ball rolling.
The players are out! England wear white, Hungary cherry red. A capacity crowd of 32,000 at Molineux roar heartily. Such a change of atmosphere from Saturday night and Italy, a match played technically behind closed doors due to the havoc wreaked at the Euro 2020 final. That’s not stopping England’s fans taking the moral high ground over Hungary, whose national anthem is jeered and momentarily drowned out with a chant of “You racist bastards, we know what you are.” We’ll be off in a minute.
Gareth Southgate talks to Channel 4. “The players have had real intense tests in the last couple of games, and we need to press well tonight, to really unsettle Hungary, and we’ve put energy in, players who like to do those sort of things. This role suits Conor Gallagher, him and Jude Bellingham, it’s probably their best position. They recover a lot of balls. We’ve got a crowd in tonight, and they’ll be raised by the team getting in and around Hungary. We’ve recovered from the defeat in Budapest and put in two good performances against top-level nations. Now we’ve got to get the win, there’s always that expectation with England. We saw people really excited in the streets coming in, and we want them to leave that way.”
There’s already been one big result in the Nations League this evening. Scotland, fresh from being totally undressed by the Republic of Ireland in Dublin last weekend, quickly went 1-0 down in Armenia, Grant Hanley falling over on six minutes and allowing Tigran Barseghyan to scoot down the right and cut back for Vahan Bichakhchyan to finish at the near post. But on 14 minutes, Stuart Armstrong latched onto a botched bicycle kick by Che Adams and slotted the equaliser, then one minute before the break, Arman Hovhannisyan was sent packing for a wild slide on Nathan Patterson, then putting the head on John McGinn in the incident’s aftermath.
It was pretty much all Scotland after that. Before the half-time whistle, Armstrong turned cutely in the Armenian box and swivelled his and Scotland’s second into the right-hand corner. On 50 minutes, McGinn steered home from close range, having been teed up by Patterson, then three minutes later Armstrong sent Adams away on the break for a fourth. Just before the end, Kamo Hovhannisyan was shown a straight red for a potential leg-breaker on Lewis Ferguson (who thankfully remains in tact). FULL TIME: Armenia 1-4 Scotland.
England make nine changes to the starting line-up named for the goalless draw with Italy. Aaron Ramsdale and Reece James are the only players to retain their places. There are recalls for Harry Kane, Kyle Walker, Bukayo Saka, Kalvin Phillips, Jude Bellingham, Jarrod Bowen, John Stones and Marc Guehi, while Conor Gallagher gets his first run-out of this international break. Barnsley’s attacking midfielder Callum Styles, who qualifies for Hungary through his grandmother, starts again for Hungary, having played 87 minutes of last Saturday’s 1-1 draw with Germany.
England versus Hungary! It can only mean this ...
... while the Hungarians rocking up to Molineux instantly brings to mind this ...
... so it’s a showdown with an awful lot of history, including some of the less sepia-toned variety ...
... and the latest instalment kicks off at 7.45pm BST. It’s on!