it didn’t have to be.
Just when you thought Southgate’s England couldn’t get any worse, they get far, far worse, in stumbling to their heaviest home defeat since 1928.
The Magic Magyars of ’53 became the first none British Isle team to beat England on home soil – they had lost to Ireland in ’49 – it was seen as a national embarrassment. That Hungary team though were seen as the best in the world.
The current Hungary side are ranked 40th in the World. Behind Canada and Scotland. Yet they have just inflicted the heaviest defeat for England on home soil since 1928, so the heaviest defeat on English soil by a non British team.
Southgate’s England now have to beat Italy in their next game, in September, to avoid relegation from their top group with a game to spare.
Four games. No wins. Two draws. One goal. And those two draws were lucky. Gareth’s media mates are still making excuses for him.
Harry Kane has racked up 50 international goals, while playing under Roy Hodgson – who put him on corner duty – and Gareth Southgate. Two managers who basically have shown no clue how to play the ball forward. Yet Kane has got 50 goals. Image what his numbers would be if he’d had a decent manager over those 70 odd games.
Southgate changed it around again, switching from matching Hungary’s back three in the first game, going to a back four but yet again sticking with a right footed right back playing at left back.
Then through the match he chopped and changed, going back to the back three at half-time, with the introduction of Sterling and eventually getting all his favourites on the pitch, yet funnily Hungary scored three of their goals after he did so. His little favourites, Sterling, Mount and Fodden, contributed nothing to proceedings. His defensive favourites, Stones, Walker, were atrocious for the goals.
While this Hungary side are workmanlike and functional, they’re obviously well coached. They know what they have to do and they do it. Meanwhile England look like they’re coached by someone who is clueless. Standing on the touchline Southgate just looked clueless. Epitomised in the 85th minute when after Stones’ dismissal for a second yellow card – that wasn’t a foul, never mind a card – he brought on another defender.
Why? Why when you’re 3-0 down and a couple of minutes to go, would you bring on a centreback to go back to a back four? I know you’re chances of scoring one, never mind the four required are nil, but you could at least go for it. But no, he brings on his favourite defender, Maguire, and they let another one in.
The crowd singing “you don’t know what you’re doing”. Just before I switched off C4’s coverage I heard Joe Cole – Joke Hole – disagree, saying Gareth did know what he was doing. Joe there, with his mouth open, tongue out, drool running down his chin, giving us the full range of his knowledge. The crowd were right.
Hungary had five shots, four on target and scored four. England with 73% of the ball managed two whole shots on target, from 8 attempts, hitting the bar from Kane’s header.
It took them being 3 down and down to nine men before anyone got behind the Hungary defence. Before a fullback finally made a run and the ball was played through the channel to them. before anyone put in a cross.
Poch is already in as the bookies second favourite to be the next England manager. But then they had England as second favourite to win the World Cup. Did anyone honestly put money on that? Don’t know who’d they’d go for, Poch would be interesting as would Graham Potter but honestly anyone would be better, just anyone. Please. Anyone.
Be interesting to see what happens to Southgate if he was sacked – which he won’t because he’s the archetypal FA appointment, they more than satisfied with him, says all the right things about box ticking. I’m guessing if anyone actually gives him a chance it’ll be the likes of Fulham or Ipswich. Can you really see any great clamour for his dullard services?
But Gareth will be leading them in the kneeling for the World Cup… and then into the second division of the Nations League…