LONDON (Dispatches) - England took another, somewhat faltering, step towards 2022 World Cup qualification when they drew 1-1 with Hungary at Wembley on Tuesday and are now three points clear at the top of Group I with two matches remaining.
The game was marred by fighting in the stands between Hungary fans and baton-wielding police just after kickoff, with riot police entering the fray as visiting supporters forced stewards and police back down a tunnel.
On the pitch, the visitors went ahead with a Roland Sallai penalty in the 24th minute after England’s Luke Shaw caught a stooping Loci Nego in the head as he attempted a clearance.
England equalized after 37 minutes when a Phil Foden free kick was flicked on by Tyrone Mings and the ball was turned in by John Stones from close range.
The centre back came close to a second when he headed a corner just wide after an hour while Harry Kane miskicked when well placed in front of goal - the captain’s last contribution before being replaced by Tammy Abraham for the last 15 minutes.
That, and other changes, failed to swing the game England’s way as Gareth Southgate’s experiment of playing Foden, Jack Grealish and Mason Mount together in a miniature midfield proved something of a failure.
Hungary were certainly more energetic and looked more motivated than when they were swept aside 4-0 by England in Budapest last month and Southgate was quick to praise them, while accepting his own side’s shortcomings.