England suffer unexpected stumble on road to Qatar before young crowd | Nick Ames

Gareth Southgate’s team produce a flat performance despite a far less hostile environment than on their last visit to HungaryChild’s play? Anything but. England had toyed with Hungary amid the most unpleasant circumstances in September and might have expected a repeat in front of more than 30,000 energised youngsters. But a highly unusual setting brought what, by recent standards, was a thoroughly singular outcome: a no-show from Gareth Southgate’s players and a ripple in what had been a largely smooth path to Qatar.England went through the motions, as players facing four games in the immediate aftermath of an unforgiving domestic season might. Their opponents strained harder across all departments.