England manager Gareth Southgate has criticised Hungary star Zsolt Nagy for “making a meal” of Reece James’ challenge on him in Saturday’s 1-0 Nations League defeat in Budapest. Southgate has also given his reaction to his players being booed for taking the knee at the Puskas Arena.
Dominik Szoboszlai scored the only goal of the game from the penalty spot after James was adjudged to have fouled Nagy midway through the second half. Referee Artur Dias had no hesitation in giving the penalty.
Southgate was disappointed with his team’s performance, claiming they did not do enough to win. But he says Nagy’s exaggeration caused the result to go the way it did.
Southgate told Channel 4: “We have to accept I don’t think we done enough to win the game, I thought a draw was the right outcome. I thought we weren’t incisive around the box, creating clear-cut chances although we had some dangerous possessions.
“The actual result hinges on a decision I think was harsh but probably wouldn’t have been overturned. Once it’s been given, he’s not going to overturn it.
“You see challenges like that in the box, he’s just gone across to get his body between him and the ball – the forward makes a meal of it. Look, away from home sometimes you’re going to get those decisions.”
The game was originally set to be played behind closed doors after the Hungarian Football Federation received a ban following discriminatory behaviour from their supporters at Euro 2020 last year. However, school children were allowed to attend the match free of charge.
But there were audible boos when England players took the knee just before kick-off. Southgate says the youngsters will have been influenced by adults in giving that reaction to his team’s stance of solidarity.
He added: “The first thing is that’s why we do it, to try and educate people around the world. I have no idea why people would choose to boo that gesture.
“I think very often the young people can’t know why they’re doing it so they’re being influenced by older adults. The UEFA decision is for other people to decide, we’ve made our stand as a team, everyone knows what we believe and what we stand for.
“I have to focus on the football, when you lose you can’t talk too much about other areas as that would be a lack of responsibility to the result.”
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