Published 12 October 2021 4 min read
England Men's Senior Team

Southgate: 'We have to hold our hands up'

Written by:

Frank Smith

Gareth Southgate and Declan Rice reflect on England's draw with Hungary

Gareth Southgate stated England’s players and staff will have to hold their hands up tonight after a performance during the 1-1 draw with Hungary which the Three Lions boss acknowledged was disappointing.

England enjoyed two-thirds of the possession and had five shots on target to Hungary’s one at Wembley Stadium connected by EE.

But as Southgate and midfielder Declan Rice acknowledged after the game, the Three Lions lacked the clinical edge needed to secure victory.

With Poland winning away in Albania, England’s lead in Group I has been cut to three points with two qualifying games remaining.

Next up for the Three Lions is a game with Albania at Wembley Stadium on Friday 12 November, before the final Group I game away to San Marino on Monday 15 November.

Southgate said: “It was a disappointing performance. Full credit to Hungary, they caused us a tactical problem. We weren’t fluid and we didn’t play at the level we needed to, simple as that.

“It’s difficult to pinpoint why. We’ll go away and think about the balance of the team but I think individually we can be better as well. We made lots of simple mistakes with the ball.”

Southgate started five of his most attacking players in Harry Kane, Raheem Sterling, Jack Grealish, Phil Foden and Mason Mount as the England boss looked to capitalise on the talent at his disposal.

John Stones opened the scoring for England in the first half
John Stones opened the scoring for England in the first half

When asked about the system used, Southgate replied: “We’ve got to go away and reflect, we shouldn’t just judge things on one game in terms of that sort of experiment. 

“Across the board, from the start, we weren’t sharp with our play. We gave the ball away and we were overrunning things. I just think we were underneath it. 

“It’s the first time for a long time but we have to hold our hands up.”

England went behind in the 24th minute when Luke Shaw was adjudged to have raised his boot too high when clearing the ball and a penalty was awarded, with Roland Sallai subsequently sending Jordan Pickford the wrong way with the spot-kick.

But the lead only lasted 13 minutes as John Stones equalised when he converted Foden’s in-swinging free-kick from close range.

England were unable to find the second goal they needed
England were unable to find the second goal they needed

England continued to dominate possession and had some decent chances – with Sterling having a header saved just before half time, Stones heading wide and Sterling being denied when one-on-one – but the Three Lions were unable to break down a compact Hungary defence.

“You can say it’s poor because we drew the game but we dominated,” Rice said.

“[It was a] silly penalty to give away, [but it was] good to get back into the game. We had to keep our heads, had to keep playing but we couldn’t find that killer touch at the end to get the win.

“You sometimes have to give credit to how the opposition set up. Hungary were much better than when we played them away, they were really tight, really compact, worked really hard and when you’re playing against low blocks, it’s hard for our attackers to create stuff. 

“But I still think we did enough to win the game.”