England beat Hungary by four goals in the second half in Budapest on Thursday, prompting Gareth Southgate’s men to qualify for the 2022 World Cup in Qatar.
After missing the first half shots on target, Rahim Sterling broke the deadlock with a clip shot for 10 minutes in the second half before a pair of headers from Harry Kane and Harry McGuire hit a short and late Declan Rice strike. Sealed a 4-0 win.
England struggled to break the deadlock, but a second-half goal meant they easily passed their first Test after losing a Euro 2020 final to Italy on penalties.
“It was comfortable in the end,” Southgate said later. “I was very happy, even in the first half when we were in full control of the game, but we just weren’t able to get the final pass,” he said.
The Three Lions now have a maximum of 12 points from four games, five more than second-placed Poland, who beat Albania 4-1 on Thursday and will host England in Warsaw next Wednesday.
Since England supporters were unable to travel, more than 60,000 domestic fans pressured visitors to create a hostile atmosphere at Piscas Arena.
Before the game began, the England players knelt down to expose racial injustice, and were met despite calls from Hungarian coach Marco Rossi before the game for spectator behavior.
After the round, fans also launched plastic beer glasses towards Sterling, which were smashed throughout the day, as Maguire celebrated his strike. ۔
Southgate later called the incidents “completely unacceptable.”
“Athletes should not be subjected to any kind of racism … responsible people should be dealt with,” he said.
“Some people are stuck in their own way of thinking and their own prejudices, they are going to eventually become dinosaurs because the world is becoming more modern,” he added.
England started with 10 teams playing against Italy at Wembley, Bokayo Saka landed on the bench and Jack Grellish started from the left.
Excited by the encouraging performances at Euro 2020, Hungary, where only Germany’s late equalizer stopped them from reaching the knockout stage, wanted to win a third consecutive Group I.
But England at times dominated the complex game, failing to enter into a solid defense apart from the initial efforts of Mason Mount and Kane, on which both traveled.
England advanced about five minutes into the second half when Kane forced a point-blank save from home goalkeeper Peter Galaxy before Sterling opened the floodgates shortly after finishing a quick move.
Busy Gresh fed the mountain to the left of the area, cleverly cutting the cross for the Manchester City star.
Sterling became the provider for the second minute, firing into the diving header for Kane, before Maguire Lok Shaw reached home towards the corner.
Three minutes after the end, Rice teased England’s excellent performance with a rifle shot from a distance.
England, now unbeaten in their last 14 meetings with Hungary, have scored 13 times in four matches in qualifying so far.
Hungary, who last qualified for the World Cup in 1986, will play Albania on Sunday and Andorra in Budapest next week.