England blunted as Stones rescues point in lacklustre Wembley draw with Hungary

Date published: Tuesday 12th October 2021 9:43 - Rob McCarthy

John Stones celebrates scoring for England against Hungary at Wembley

England produced one of their worst performances under Gareth Southgate as they were held to a 1-1 draw by Hungary at Wembley in World Cup qualifying.

The visitors took a deserved lead from the penalty spot through Roland Sallai after Luke Shaw was penalised for a high kick. However, John Stones volleyed home from close range to rescue a point for the Three Lions.

Southgate’s men still have qualification for Qatar in their own hands and face a home clash with Albania in November before they head to San Marino.

England made nine changes for their World Cup qualifier against Hungary as captain Harry Kane returned in attack.

The Three Lions won 5-0 in Andorra on Saturday with a much-changed line-up as only Manchester City pair Phil Foden and John Stones retained their places.

Kane came back in to lead the line, with Jordan Pickford in goal and Luke Shaw, Kyle Walker and Tyrone Mings recalled in defence.

Declan Rice, Jack Grealish, Raheem Sterling and Mason Mount also came in for the hosts.

The majority of Hungary fans in their corner of Wembley jeered as the England players took the knee before kick-off in their now-familiar stance against racism.

They were also making gestures towards the England supporters on the other side of the division with the police moving in as clashes between the authorities and a group of supporters marred the opening stages of the match.

Things were going better for Hungary on the pitch, the visitors awarded a penalty after Shaw was adjudged to have fouled Loic Nego with a high boot while attempting to clear.

A VAR check confirmed the spot-kick with Roland Sallai making no mistake from 12 yards to put Hungary 1-0 up.

England responded well, winning a number of free-kicks in and around the Hungary box.

Stones to the rescue

They would equalise from one such set-piece, Foden swinging the ball into the box after Grealish had been fouled by Attila Szalai and Stones on hand to turn home from close range.

Sterling should have put England ahead before the interval, seeing a header saved by Peter Gulacsi before turning the rebound meekly behind moments before the half-time whistle.

The second half started in a similar fashion to the first, with Hungary looking confident and playing on the front foot.

England, however, were still a danger from set-pieces and Stones saw another effort drift just wide from a corner.

Southgate rolled the dice by taking off England’s best player on the night Grealish and bringing on Bukayo Saka in what was a change of shape.

And the Three Lions went close to taking the lead with 20 minutes to go when Kane played in Sterling. However, the Manchester City striker’s flick did not beat Peter Gulacsi in the Hungarian goal.

Tammy Abraham and Jordan Henderson were introduced for a hugely disappointing Kane and a quiet Sterling with 14 minutes to go.

Hungary squandered a great chance to grab a winner late on when substitute Filip Holender curled over after Saka lost possession cheaply.

Ollie Watkins, on for the injured Abraham, then volleyed a late chance at Gulacsi as the game ended all square.

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