England draw in game marred by violence of Hungary fans

Stumbling draw keeps England on track to qualify for Qatar World Cup

England's John Stones, front right, celebrates after scoring the equaliser against Hungary at Wembley. Photo: EPA
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England took another, somewhat faltering, step towards qualification for the 2022 Qatar World Cup with a 1-1 draw against Hungary at Wembley on Tuesday, leaving them three points clear at the top of the group with two matches remaining.

The game was marred by fighting in the stands between Hungary fans and baton-wielding police just after kick-off.

Riot police entered the fray when visiting supporters forced stewards and officers back down a tunnel.

On the pitch, the visitors went ahead with a Roland Sallai penalty after 24 minutes when England fullback Luke Shaw caught a stooping Loic Nego in the head as he tried to clear.

England equalised in the 37th minute when a Phil Foden free kick was flicked on by Tyrone Mings and the ball was then turned in by John Stones from close range.

"You can say it's poor because we drew the game but we dominated," said England midfielder Declan Rice. "Silly penalty to give away but we got back into the game and could not get that killer touch.

"You have to give credit to the opposition sometimes. Hungary were much better than when we played them away."

England were packed with attacking talent but failed to impose themselves on a team they beat 4-0 in Budapest last month, and created few further chances against the battling visitors.

The result leaves England top of the group on 20 points ahead of Poland, who beat Albania 1-0 away in another match hit by crowd trouble.

Euro 2020 runners-up England are still strong favourites to win the group with their remaining games against Albania and San Marino next month.

But they have left themselves with work to do after a display described as disappointing by coach Gareth Southgate.

"Hungary, full credit to them," Southgate said. "I thought they caused us a tactical problem. We weren’t fluid and I didn’t think we played at the level that we need to play.

"We’ll go away and think about the balance of the team a little bit, but I think individually we can do better as well.

"We made lots of simple mistakes with the ball. I think right across the board from the start we weren’t sharp with our play, gave the ball away. We were overrunning things.

"So I just think that we were underneath it. It’s the first time for a long time but we have to hold our hands up to that."

Hungary, in fourth place on 11 points, need a miracle to have a chance of snatching second place and a play-off berth, but still celebrated Tuesday's point as if they had won the World Cup.

Updated: October 12, 2021, 10:13 PM