England’s Nations League campaign got off to a losing start as a disappointing display brought a deserved defeat by Hungary in Budapest.
This international was billed as taking place behind closed doors as Uefa punishment for racist and homophobic behaviour by Hungary’s fans during Euro 2020.
And yet it was played in front of a large crowd, consisting mainly of schoolchildren allowed in under Uefa rules – and the young supporters revelled in a poor England performance and Dominik Szoboszlai’s winning goal from the penalty spot after Reece James fouled Zsolt Nagy.
The start of the game was overshadowed by loud jeering of England’s players as they took the knee and what followed was a jaded, mediocre effort that carried all the hallmarks of the end of a long season.
West Ham’s Jarrod Bowen worked hard on his debut but Leicester defender James Justin, also making his first appearance, suffered an injury and had to be replaced by Bukayo Saka – though the Arsenal man produced a rare England threat with a fine run and shot that Hungary keeper Peter Gulacsi saved with his legs.
England now move on to Munich, where they face Germany in their second Nations League A3 game on Tuesday.