England suffer first defeat in 23 games as Hungary edge Nations League opener
- D. Szoboszlai (66′PEN)
- A. Schäfer (21′)
- P. Gulácsi (89′)
- H. Maguire (51′)
- R. James (64′)
Highlights: Hungary 1-0 England
Watch the best of the action from Budapest as the new Nations League campaign kicks-off
Dominik Szoboszlai’s second-half penalty ensured England started their 2022-23 UEFA Nations League campaign with a 1-0 defeat to Hungary.
The Three Lions controlled most of the possession but were unable to break down a stubborn Hungary defence, while the hosts looked a constant threat on the break in Budapest.
And 21-year-old Szobszlai kept his nerve to secure all three points for the home side as he fired home his penalty with 66 minutes played after Reece James was adjudged to have fouled Zsolt Nagy.
It was the first time England had lost a match in all competitions within regular time for 23 games, with the last coming against Belgium in the UEFA Nations League in November 2020.
Gareth Southgate’s starting XI included two debutants, as Leicester City defender James Justin and West Ham United forward Jarrod Bowen were rewarded with maiden England senior team outings.
Harry Kane had England’s first sight of goal after just four minutes, the captain cutting inside from the left and curling a shot just wide of the far post.
England continued to see plenty of the ball in the opening exchanges, with debutant Bowen firing a shot at goal that was well-blocked by Attila Szalai.
Hungary were a threat on the break throughout the first-half and nearly took the lead 12 minutes, as a dangerous cross into the England box was met by Szoboszlai, who slotted his shot under Jordan Pickford only for Conor Coady to intercept just in time.
The hosts grew in confidence and continued to create chances, wing-back Loic Nego putting in another cross that caused Trent Alexander-Arnold to take evasive action.
Possession was dominated by England before the break but the Three Lions were unable to create many clear-cut chances. Instead, it was the hosts carving out the better opportunities, with another coming on the half-hour, forcing Pickford to save from Nagy after a swift counter attack.
The early part of the second period was more balanced as both sides looked to break the deadlock in Budapest; Nagy firing a shot just wide before substitute Bukayo Saka saw his effort well-saved by Peter Gulacsi.
It was Hungary who opened the scoring after 66 minutes, Szoboszlai firing home from the penalty spot after James was adjudged to have felled Nagy in the box.
This seemed to spark England into life as Southgate’s men went in search of an equaliser.
Harry Maguire’s cross-field pass found Bowen in the box, but the West Ham man could only volley straight at Gulacsi, before Jude Bellingham’s shot from 18 yards was blocked by Szalai.
The Three Lions continued to push for a goal with the clock ticking down, Coady flashing a header inches wide of the post from a James free-kick, but Hungary remained dangerous on the counter, and England received a let off with nine minutes to play.
Laszlo Kleinheisler cut inside from the right and curled a shot that was saved by Pickford into the path of Andras Schafer, who could only fire over with the goal gaping.
England continued to press for a leveller, with skipper Kane firing two shots at the near post after being played in by James and then Jack Grealish, but the home defence held firm to see out the victory.
England (3-4-3): 1 Jordan Pickford (Everton); 2 Kyle Walker (Manchester City), 5 Conor Coady (Wolverhampton Wanderers), 6 Harry Maguire (Manchester United); 7 Trent Alexander-Arnold (Liverpool), 8 Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund), 4 Declan Rice (West Ham United), 3 James Justin (Leicester City); 10 Jarrod Bowen (West Ham United), 9 Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur), 11 Mason Mount (Chelsea)
Substitutes: 21 Bukayo Saka (Arsenal) for Justin 46', 14 John Stones (Manchester City) for Walker 62', 15 Reece James (Chelsea) for Alexander-Arnold 62', 16 Jack Grealish for Mount 62', 19 Kalvin Phillips (Leeds United) for Coady 79'
Substitutes not used: 12 Kieran Trippier (Newcastle United), 13 Nick Pope (Burnley), 17 James Ward-Prowse (Southampton), 18 Conor Gallagher (Crystal Palace on loan from Chelsea, 20 Raheem Sterling (Manchester City), 22 Aaron Ramsdale (Arsenal), 23 Tammy Abraham (Roma)
Yellow cards: Maguire 51', James 64'
Head coach: Gareth Southgate
Hungary (3-4-3): 1 Péter Gulácsi; 2 Ádám Lang, 6 Willi Orban, 4 Attila Szalai; 7 Loic Nego, 8 Ádám Nagy, 13 András Schäfer, 18 Zsolt Nagy; 20 Roland Sallai, 10 Dominik Szoboszlai, 9 Ádám Szalai
Substitutes: 15 Lászlo Kleinheisler for Sallai 71', 5 Attila Fiola for Szboszlai 82', 17 Callum Styles for Á. Nagy 82', 23 Bálint Vécsei for Z. Nagy 88', 19 Martin Adam for Ád. Szalai 88'
Substitutes not used: 3 Akos Kecskes, 11 Daniel Salloi, 12 Dénes Dibusz, 14 Bendeguz Bolla, 16 Zalan Vancsa, 21 Csaba Spandler, 22 Peter Szappanos
Goals: Szoboszlai 66'
Yellow cards: Schäfer 21', Gulácsi 89'
Head coach: Marco Rossi