Gareth Southgate blames weather conditions as the reason why England lost to Hungary in Budapest not fatigue

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Gareth Southgate blamed the heat in Hungary for England’s slow performance in the Nations League defeat in Budapest.

Gareth Southgate blames weather conditions as the reason why England lost to Hungary in Budapest

The hosts won 1-0 thanks to Dominik Szoboszlai’s second-half penalty after England’s players were jeered for kneeling before the match, which was seen by a crowd of over 30,000 despite being played behind closed doors.

England, with debutant Jarrod Bowen shining brightest among their attacking options, seldom attacked Hungary’s goal and toiled for much of the game, with Gareth Southgate blaming the weather for the lackluster performance.

“I think we knew it was going to be a very difficult game,” he said.

“We’ve had difficult games with them, with Hungary, as other big nations have had. They’re very difficult to break down.

“We probably lacked a half-yard I would say, in terms of our real incisiveness. I think that was more the heat than the length of the season.

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“The other factor is, we haven’t played together for three months and we have had three games in six months.”

As Leicester full-back James Justin made his senior debut, Southgate suggested he may have erred in balancing selecting a winning team with experimenting ahead of the World Cup later this year.

“Across these four games, we are trying to balance having a look at things, finding out about players and trying to win,” Gareth Southgate said.

“Maybe I didn’t quite get the balance of that right today but we’ve learned a lot from it and I have to accept you are not going to win matches and you’ve got to ride the criticism that comes from it with the learning that should help us further down the line.”

Gareth Southgate blames weather conditions as the reason why England lost to Hungary in Budapest

“We are disappointed because if we’re going to be a team that gets to the final stages of a World Cup, these are the types of games that we have to win.

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“We have a pretty good idea of what our strongest team probably is. Quite a few of those players are coming not from ideal preparation.”

The game was decided when Reece James, who had only been on the pitch for a few minutes after replacing Trent Alexander-Arnold, was adjudged to have fouled Zsolt Nagy.

Despite Southgate’s dissatisfaction with the award, Szoboszlai made no mistakes from the penalty spot.

“The game, on the balance of play, it is a draw. It [the penalty] is a harsh decision,” he added.

“But I knew when it was given it wouldn’t be overturned. But we didn’t create enough clear chances to win the game.

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“I don’t want to sit and criticise referees because I don’t think that is a route we should be going, it doesn’t gain anything and when you’ve lost, it sounds sour. The evidence is there for everyone to see the challenge.”

While the Puskas Arena’s lower two tiers were nearly filled due to UEFA regulations allowing kids under the age of 14 to attend games behind closed doors for free, Hungary coach Marco Rossi did not believe that was the reason for his team’s Group A3 victory.

“I don’t know if it was an advantage,” he said.

“I don’t think we really got an advantage off this. All in all I am really happy these kids had a wonderful treat to take away tonight. We are really happy to give them this win tonight.”

Busy June for England

OpponentDate
Germany (A)June 7, 7:45 pm
Italy (H)June 11, 7:45 pm
Hungary (H)June 14, 7:45 pm

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