England suffered their first loss to Hungary in 60 years, with Dominik Szoboszlai’s controversial penalty meaning the Three Lions began their Nations League campaign with a 1-0 defeat in Budapest.
Gareth Southgate’s side had gone 22 games, excluding penalties, unbeaten but they produced a show without an identity 171 days from the start of the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
Jarrod Bowen and James Justin both made their senior England debuts while Harry Kane was also recalled to a squad showing eight changes since the friendly win over the Ivory Coast in March.
The decision to award the kick for recently introduced substitute Reece James’ challenge on Zsolt Nagy looked tough, but England could hardly argue with the result given how hard they worked throughout.
It was a demoralizing start to a four-game Nations League run in 11 days for Southgate’s men, who must recover for Tuesday’s difficult trip to Germany. sky sports provides England players’ ratings since the backhand at Puskas Arena…
Jordan Pickford – 6
Did just about enough to stretch his body and fend off Dominik Szoboszlai after 11 minutes in a first recall for England but called on Conor Coady to finish the job.
Another routine stoppage denied Nagy, but Pickford was given no chance by Szoboszlai’s precise penalty. Parried Laszlo Kleinheisler’s shot directly at Andras Schafer and was lucky the rebound was missed.
Kyle Walker – 6
Deployed as a right-back in possession behind Trent Alexander-Arnold, calmly handled a few devilish crosses but wasn’t bound to offer much going forward given the setup with Trent Alexander-Arnold. Replaced on the hour mark before England realized that the emergency was needed.
Conor Coady – 6
On his 10th senior cap, forced into drastic action to thwart Szoboszlai’s early chance and was vigilant in clearing his line. Took a presentable chance from a corner but defended his near post well.
Was too straight and too slow in his pass to Jarrod Bowen which led to a quick turnover and a bold effort from Adam Szalai with Pickford off his line. Headed up another good chance in the second half and conceded when he should have done better. Reserve.
Harry Maguire – 6
Blocked a Loïc Nego shot with his arm tight to his body in the second half. Calm in possession, he looked to launch attacks by penetrating midfield, but England’s form limited his options. Rose to meet an Alexander-Arnold corner in the second half but was unable to direct his effort on target and his long diagonals were hit and miss.
James Justin – 5
The 23rd Leicester player to represent England, Justin has consistently looked to cut inside Hungarian right-back Nego with mixed results.
Hungary targeted England’s left side, and the 24-year-old didn’t come close enough to Nego in the build-up for Szoboszlai who nearly broke the deadlock. Eleven months with an ACL injury, his England debut was cut short at the interval after feeling a pinch in the first half.
Declan Rice – 6
The next 10 days will shape Gareth Southgate’s vision for Qatar and while it’s hard not to see Rice as a central part of it, it was a delicate test at the end of a long campaign.
A box-to-box powerhouse for West Ham, Rice was used as the deepest of a double pivot in midfield and failed to show here that he can be Southgate’s senior midfielder. in the absence of Jordan Henderson.
Trent Alexandre-Arnold – 5
A game too far and yet a game that could have many consequences. The fact that the Liverpool full-back wears the No.7 shirt in some ways sums up Trent’s complex. He was rarely trusted under Southgate to play in his natural position at club level.
His growing blind spot, caught at the far post, was nearly exploited again when Nagy snuck past the far post, but he failed to make a good connection. Showed his passing range to change the game, but a fastball was too rarely seen, and his tired corners were hopelessly hit too hard.
Jude Bellingham – 6
Kalvin Phillips is the reigning England Player of the Year for his stellar performances at Euro 2020, but Bellingham offers something different. Occasional heavy touches meant he didn’t have everything in his way. When England looked to pass through the middle, they were often overtaken by the ball, but the 18-year-old held on.
Mature beyond his years, Bellingham’s 12-game winning streak for England came to an end, but that record was partly due to Southgate turning to him in favorable games. It was a timely bump to the nose, but with Italy and Germany to come, the Borussia Dortmund midfielder is ready to be tested by stiffer opponents in tighter spaces.
Harry Kane – 5
Led England for the 46th time as captain, Kane often did much of his work outside the box. Drift in depth, drift in width, to the delight of Hungarian defenders.
The hosts had only managed a clean sheet in two of their previous 12 internationals, but the Tottenham forward netted his first shot on target after 83 minutes. Wayne Rooney’s all-time goalscoring record never seemed to be troubled.
Jarrod Bowen – 7
Bowen had not played at any level of youth football for England but deserved the departure after scoring 18 goals in all competitions for West Ham. It was more than a club season afterthought for Hammer of the Year Bowen, it was an audition with a firmly lit 26-degree heat at Puskas Stadium.
Lively start as he clung to Kane’s flick to get a shot blocked by Attila Szalai, and another hooked shot didn’t bother Peter Gulacsi. Still on the last defender’s shoulder, he looked so comfortable as his older teammates withered.
Mason mount – 5
Often on the periphery, Mount’s inability to hold on to a Kane cross midway through the first half sparked a flurry of activity. Showed good tenacity to regain possession of his team, but was tasked with being part of an unknown left side with Justin – and a lack of synergy was evident. Scuffed a shot into the ground after being pushed back by a pass from Kane. Was unable to provide its usual spark.
Bukayo Saka – On the way to Justin, 45 – 6
Arsenal’s Player of the Year featured in all of his club’s games last season, and he was called up at half-time as Southgate sought more attacking thrust. It took just five minutes for him to drop his shoulder and force Gulacsi into a save after a threatening run. A chance generated on its own initiative, but England had little more to show from this abject display.
John Stones – Walk for Walker, 61 – 6
Was rarely tested with Hungary breaking a deadlock soon after its introduction. Part of a ragged defense as England looked to equalise.
Reece James – On for Alexander-Arnold, 61 – 5
England were adrift when James was introduced, but it was his lax judgment that was ultimately punished. It seemed innocuous, even harsh, but the Chelsea full-back was penalized and penalized for a foul in the box on Nagy.
Portuguese referee Artur Soares Dias ruled a clear shoulder pull after a loose first touch. England struggled with Hungary’s long diagonals and the lack of focus epitomized Southgate’s side as a whole.
Jack Grealish – On for Mount, 61 – 6
Southgate turned to Grealish at 0-0 as they looked for a change of gear. Well combined with Saka down the left as England looked to unlock the door for Hungary. Was involved in setting up Kane’s ferocious drive into the side netting on their last chance.
Kalvin Phillips – Running for Coady, 79 – n/a
England moved to four backs in the final 10 minutes as the introduction of Phillips allowed Bellingham to advance. Had little time to make an impact.
Ranking of Hungary: Gulacsi (6), Lang (6), Atilla Szalai (6), Orban (7), Nego (7), Adam Nagy (6), Adam Szalai (7), Szoboszlai (8), Schafer (6), Zsolt Nagy (7), Salai (6).
Subtitles: Kleinheisler (6), Styles, Viola, Vecsei, Adam (n/a).
England face an old foe in Germany when they travel to the Allianz Arena on Tuesday, kick-off at 7.45pm. Follow live construction and coverage through sky sports digital platforms from 6 p.m.