Southgate intrigued by Hungarian ‘boo boys’

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Young Hungarian fans cheer before the UEFA Nations League soccer match Hungary vs England at the Puskas Arena in Budapest, Hungary on June 4, 2022. Photo: AFP

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Hungary-England

Young Hungarian fans cheer before the UEFA Nations League soccer match Hungary vs England at the Puskas Arena in Budapest, Hungary on June 4, 2022. Photo: AFP

Gareth Southgate was puzzled as to why the Hungarian children booed the England players when they took a knee before the Three Lions’ shock Nations League defeat on Saturday. Dominik Szoboszlai’s second-half penalty gave Hungary a surprise 1-0 win at the Puskas Arena.

The League A Group 3 match was to be played behind closed doors as punishment for racist behavior at the same stadium during Euro 2020 last year. Still, children were allowed to watch the match and a crowd of 35,000 watched as England’s record 22 game unbeaten run ended in Budapest. There were boos when England players took the knee before kick-off at the same stadium where some Southgate players were racially abused during a World Cup qualifier in September .

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England manager Southgate told Channel 4: “The first thing is that’s why we’re doing it [take the knee], to try to educate people around the world. I don’t know why people would choose to boo that gesture. I think a lot of times, especially young people, they don’t really know why they’re doing it, so they’re influenced by older adults. UEFA’s decision [to allow people into the ground]it is up to others to decide.

“I think we have taken a stand as a team, everyone knows what we believe in and what we stand for. I think tonight I have to focus on football. When you lose you can’t not talk too much about other areas because I think that would be a lack of responsibility for the result.”

Southgate said there could be no excuse for England’s substandard display, although he questioned referee Artur Dias’ decision to award Hungary a penalty when Reece James was tried for committing a foul on Zsolt Nagy. “We have to accept that we didn’t do enough to win the game, a draw would have been the fair result,” he said. “We didn’t create too many clear chances and the actual outcome depended on a decision which is tough but probably won’t be overturned. Once it’s been awarded as a penalty he probably won’t overturn it. .

“You see challenges like that in the box, Reece James puts his body between the ball and the striker makes a meal out of it. Sometimes away from home you’ll get those calls. He has [been a long season]but the heat was a factor and took a lot of players out, and we tried to refresh the squad earlier than usual.

“The balance between discovering new things and being consistent with the regular team, I have to see if I got it right. I don’t want to be too hard on them, these are games we have to learn from. They are bitterly disappointed because we want to keep winning games. If we want to be a team at the top of football, we have to come here and win.”

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