The Hungarian horror show proves the Three Lions have plenty to do or face a disastrous KO in the World Cup group stages

AT LEAST you can get something positive out of this shambles. At least the World Cup isn’t about to start yet.

Until Fifa came to their senses and rescheduled the Qatar tournament to later this year – the weather in Doha was 40C yesterday – the opening game would have taken place in a couple of days.

England suffered a 1-0 defeat by Hungary in the opening game of the Nations League

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England suffered a 1-0 defeat by Hungary in the opening game of the Nations LeaguePhoto credit: Reuters
Dominik Szoboszlai's penalty gave Hungary the three points

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Dominik Szoboszlai’s penalty gave Hungary the three pointsCredit: PA

Gareth Southgate got away with a big deal.

None of this is really his fault. But the England side, as they proved with that terrible performance, would have been completely unprepared for a major tournament.

Southgate’s team was rightly beaten by the 40th best team in the world.

The first World Cup match against Iran will take place on November 21st. If you act like that, you’ll be home before we even get into December.

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At various times, Southgate had three right-backs on the pitch, two centre-backs and two right wingers, with one playing at left-back.

This was a disorganized performance defensively and as for the English attack there was none.

The Three Lions looked broken and withered in front of 25,000 noisy children.

Jordan Henderson is probably grateful to have gotten this series of four Nations League games off after a draining season with Liverpool.

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Bowen impressed on his England debut

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Bowen impressed on his England debutPhoto credit: Getty

And there are so many players suffering from inconveniences that a World Cup now would have come at an awkward time.

Harry Maguire, such a key defender for Southgate, is on his way to finding his form again after a nightmare season for Manchester United. As he proved here, there is still a lot to do.

Playing in a three-man defense, he wasn’t good enough at that level alongside Conor Coady, who could be a brilliant backstage cheerleader for Southgate.

John Stones came on in the second half but struggled with injury, Fikayo Tomori would have played but wasn’t 100 per cent, while Ben White is out of the squad at all with a hamstring problem.

And then there’s this massive problem on the left side of defense. Leicester’s James Justin, naturally a right-back although he often plays on the left, was brought into the squad with injuries to Luke Shaw and Ben Chilwell.

One had to feel sorry for Justin, who suffered a truly terrible debut and unsurprisingly was put out of his misery at half-time and replaced by Bukayo Saka.

As for the other debutant besides Justin, Jarrod Bowen did well at lightning speed but didn’t really do enough and Harry Kane wasn’t on serve.

Jude Bellingham got a full 90 minutes in central midfield but on his 13th appearance, the 18-year-old tried a little too hard.

The winning penalty was a bit dodgy and Zsolt Nagy made the best use of contact from substitute Reece James.

Jordan Pickford guessed correctly, but couldn’t reach Dominik Szoboszlai’s free-kick.

Andras Schäfer should have made it 2-0, but missed a sitter.

In the end, Hungary’s enthusiastic players didn’t want to leave the pitch.

Reece James is said to have fouled Zsolt Nagy shortly after he was substituted on

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Reece James is said to have fouled Zsolt Nagy shortly after he was substituted onPhoto credit: AFP
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Southgate’s side couldn’t get through the tunnel fast enough and need to do much better on Tuesday in Munich, scene of a 5-1 win 21 years ago.

Play like this and the score will be reversed.

https://www.the-sun.com/sport/5491086/england-verdict-hungary-horror-show-three-lions-work/ The Hungarian horror show proves the Three Lions have plenty to do or face a disastrous KO in the World Cup group stages

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