Football Features

“We didn’t play at the level we need to play” – Five things learned as England slump to a 1-1 draw with Hungary

By Muhammad Butt

Published: 22:27, 12 October 2021

In a dour night of football, England were held to a 1-1 draw in their World Cup qualification match against Hungary at Wembley.

What did we learn?

This promotion is only valid for new UK QuinnBet customers aged 18 years and over who have yet to avail of a QuinnBet Welcome Offer. Customers can also avail of a QuinnCasino Welcome Offer. To activate your Sportsbook 50% Back as a Free Bet up to £25 and 10 Free Spins, deposit and bet on any Sportsbook markets of your choice at odds of evens (2.00) or greater. At least 3 bets (on different selections) must be placed to qualify for 50% back, 2 of which must be 50% in value of the largest bet you place. Provided you place at least 1 bet of £10 or greater at minimum odds evens (2.00) or greater you’re guaranteed a £5 Free Bet and 20 Free Spins either way. Sportsbook losses are calculated from the time of your first settled bet until 23:59 the same day. Only settled bets from the first day of Sportsbook bets qualify for inclusion. Casino losses qualify separately under QuinnCasino 50% Cashback Welcome Offer. If at the end of the day (23:59) your account has losses overall, you will get 50% back as a free bet up to a maximum of £25 plus 20 Free Spins. Customers who qualify for this Sportsbook Welcome Offer are also entitled to qualify for a QuinnCasino Welcome offer. Customers who deposit using Neteller/Skrill do not qualify for this offer.

Bet £10 and get £30 in free bets T&Cs apply

18+ only. New customers using Promo code H30 only, Min £10/€10 stake, min odds 1/2, free bets paid as 2 x £15/€15, free bets credited after settlement of first qualifying bet, free bets will expire 30 days after the qualifying bet is placed, payment method/player/country restrictions apply. Full terms apply. BeGambleAware.

18+ only. New customers using Promo code H30 only. T&Cs apply.

Claim Here
Get up to £100 in bet credits T&Cs apply

18+ only. New customers only. Min deposit £5. Bet Credits available for use upon settlement of bets to value of qualifying deposit. Min odds, bet and payment method exclusions apply. Returns exclude Bet Credits stake. Time limits and T&Cs apply. BeGambleAware.

18+ only. T&Cs apply.

Claim Here
£20 in Free Bets when you place a £5 bet T&Cs apply

18+ only. New customers only. First single & e/w bet only. Odds of 1/1 or greater. 2 x £10 bet tokens. Free bet stakes not included in returns. Free bets exclude virtuals. Free bets are non withdrawable. No free bet expiry. Eligibility restrictions and further T&Cs apply.

18+ only. New customers only. T&Cs apply.

Claim Here

1. The Kane Problem

The biggest, most consistent problem faced by England is the fact that Harry Kane is more often than not a bad fit for the way England want to play. He’s slow and sluggish on the ball, meaning when he gets it play automatically slows down as he labours to turn and find a pass.

He plays far too deep these days. Kane’s passing is superb but his best attribute remains his finishing yet he is only sporadically in a position to take advantage of it. This is particularly annoying when Jack Grealish starts as the Manchester City man is an incredible creative talent and he would only need Kane as a presence in the box to make the most of the chances he creates.

Southgate’s reluctance to take Kane off has often cost England, such as in the World Cup semi-final defeat and the Euro 2020 final defeat. In both cases a more mobile and dynamic forward could have helped England extend their lead rather than hold onto it for grim death.

The one positive is that Southgate did take Kane off, albeit with just 15 minutes of the match remaining. However it is a start, and if Southgate can become less beholden to his captain then there’s more chance that England can actually start to thrive.

2. Hungary show their class

When Hungary faced England in Budapest there was none of the hyper-aggressive pressing and defensive organisation that there was when they shook up Euro 2020. The Magyars got wiped out by the Three Lions, losing 0-4.

Tonight at Wembley they re-found that aggression and drive. They were exceptional in the defensive phases, dedicating one of their centre-backs to keep tabs on Harry Kane and then just working incredibly well to shut off passes lanes and basically dare England to beat them with dribblers. And when only Jack Grealish stepped up to try, Hungary knew they could shut England down.

Sure, their goal came from a fortunate penalty (fortunate in the sense that Luke Shaw decided to crane kick Loic Nego in the head for some reason) but you cannot argue that they didn’t deserve to at least draw the game, given how superbly they shut England down.

3. Grealish is still too much of a maverick for Southgate

For an hour of the game, Jack Grealish was comfortably the best player on the pitch for England. He was confident and assertive, he demanded the ball under all manner of pressure and drove the ball forward relentlessly.

Hungary never looked less comfortable than when Grealish was running at them. He was putting in an obviously talismanic performance and when he saw Bukayo Saka on the touchline ready to come on, it would have been reasonable to assume one of the midfielders was coming off to allow Saka to play wide and Grealish to take up a more focal central berth.

But no.

Grealish was subbed off.

It was an inexplicable sub and the Three Lions looked undeniably worse without Grealish. It was a move that seemed to carry with it the implication that even though he’s forced his way into the starting XI following his move to Manchester City, Jack Grealish is still too much of a maverick for Gareth Southgate’s tastes. Too much of an unpredictable, chaotic force where Bukayo Saka and Raheem Sterling are much more positionally disciplined and Harry Kane is the untouchable captain.

International break betting offer: Get £60 in free bets – when you place a £10 bet

CLICK HERE to claim. 18+ only. New customers only. Use code ZSKAKC. Place a £10 Sportsbook bet on Football 6th Oct – 12th Oct. Get £60 free bets. £30 in free bets on bet settlement and an extra £10 daily for the following 3 days (£60 in total). Payment restrictions apply. T&Cs apply.

4. Racism rears its ugly head again

The early parts of England’s game against Hungary were sadly more notable for reports that police were clashing with a section of Hungarian fans in the stands of Wembley. This violence was disappointing but became so much worse when a statement released by the police confirmed that the incident occurred due to an incident of racial abuse directed at a steward.

Racism has followed England around like a shadow in the last few months and it has only made it plain just how badly action needs to be taken. Fines are not doing the job, there needs to be harsher sanctions for these nations that allow and enable racial abuse.

5. Southgate gets it wrong

There’s no doubt that England were subpar against Hungary. As much as you have to credit Marco Rossi’s men for the way they approached the game, England should have done better, and even Gareth Southgate knows it. The England manager summed it up succinctly post-match, saying: “we didn’t play at the level we need to play.”

The way England switched to a 4-3-3 system was interesting and bold, but Declan Rice is a poor choice to play pivot in such a system. Kalvin Phillips plays it at Leeds and to first attempt it with the West Ham man rather than a student of Marcelo Bielsa is baffling.

So with Rice’s struggles, we also had Mason Mount disconnected from the area where he is the most dangerous in attack. The Chelsea player is a supreme link-man for playmakers like Jack Grealish, but when he’s deeper he can’t do that job properly.

And Phil Foden, who has been an electric force in attack for Manchester City was pushed into an unfamiliar deeper role, where he again failed to show his best self. Southgate said: “we’ve got to go away and reflect, we shouldn’t just judge things on one game.”

One hopes that includes some self-reflection on his part as to why he chose now to experiment with a midfield three and then did so in such a bizarre way with players who are ill-suited to play that role.


Sign up to the Best Football Offers

A valid email is required.

Invalid e-mail.

Yes I am over 18.
Yes, I would like to receive email updates on exciting offers from For more info on how we and our partners process your data, see Privacy and Cookie Policies.
You need to confirm that you are over 18 and that you want to receive updates.

*By subscribing you are confirming that you are over 18 years of age.

*All emails include an unsubscribe link, where you can opt out any time. *Please see our privacy and cookies policy..


Newsletter error