England will be in desperate need of a win when they take on Hungary at the Molineux Stadium on Tuesday.

The new edition of the UEFA Nations League has served us with a bag full of surprises so far. The likes of France and Germany have endured a disappointing start to the campaign, failing to even register a win in the three matches. England have not been any better either, collecting just two points thus far.

Tagged as one of the favourites to lift the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar, England had started their campaign with a 1-0 defeat to Hungary, before settling for a draw with both Germany and Italy. With just two points, the Three Lions are currently rock bottom of the Group 3 standings ahead of their upcoming clash against Hungary.

Against all odds, the Hungarians are currently second in the league table, ahead of both England and Germany. Barring a narrow defeat to Italy, the Magyarok have been able to perform quite well against the two other heavyweights in the group and are now threatening to further strengthen their position in the second place.

If Marco Rossi’s men can replicate their opening day win over England, they may even have a chance of becoming the Group 3 topper, provided Italy drop points against Germany. However, repeating the feat could be an extremely tricky challenge, especially as they travel to the Molineux, against a side desperate for their first win of the campaign.

Here, at The Hard Tackle, we will run the rule over these two sides ahead of their crucial match-up this midweek.

Team News & Tactics

England

Southgate has won over English football after a sterling show at the 2018 FIFA World Cup and the UEFA Nations League. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Southgate needs to muster a win. (Photo by Dan Mullan/Getty Images)

Gareth Southgate is facing a few selection dilemmas heading into this game, as he looks to field the strongest possible eleven in search of the team’s first win in the latest edition of the UEFA Nations League.

Phil Foden is not available, but Kalvin Phillips is in contention after quickly recovering from his dead leg. The Leeds United midfielder, though, might have to settle for a spot on the bench, in favour of Jude Bellingham. The youngster was rested at the weekend and is a favourite to start alongside Declan Rice in the double-pivot of the 4-2-3-1.

The same applies to both Kyle Walker and John Stones, who were rested in the last game and should return in contention against Hungary. Walker should displace Reece James at right-back, offering more solidity and guile out wide, whereas Stones could replace Harry Maguire, potentially partnering Marc Guehi at the heart of England’s back four.

Southgate faced criticism for his continued ignorance of England’s left-back options. But he won’t be deterred by criticism and may even continue deploying Kieran Trippier in the position, with the Newcastle United defender likely to be tasked with the responsibility of offering the width going forward.

Trippier’s partnership with Raheem Sterling out wide could go a long way in stretching Hungary’s backline. The same be said for Bukayo Saka on the opposite flank, as the two wide players look to provide crosses into the box for Harry Kane, with Conor Gallagher set to operate in the advanced midfield role.

Probable Lineup (4-2-3-1): Pickford; Walker, Stones, Guehi, Trippier; Bellingham, Rice; Saka, Gallagher, Sterling; Kane

Hungary

Hungary have appeared as a much more defensively astute side under the tactical leadership of Marco Rossi. They have contained the wide pressure extremely well, and the onus will once again be on the two wing-backs Attila Fiola and Zsolt Nagy to keep the opposition quiet out wide.

Nagy may enjoy a bit more freedom going forward as he is a technically astute operator who is capable of scoring the odd goal. His creativity alongside Dominik Szoboszlai and Roland Sallai could go a long way in offering the desired supply for veteran frontman Adam Szalai.

Martin Adam is a potential alternative for the ageing Szalai, although standing at 1.91m, the 27-year-old offers a similar skillset in the final third.

In midfield, Andras Schafer is back from his suspension and should operate in the double-pivot alongside Adam Nagy. The two will hope to minimise the influence of England’s ball-carriers such as Bellingham and Gallagher and break up the play in the middle.

Defensively, Peter Gulacsi will have to sit this one out due to suspension, thus paving the way for Denes Dibusz to start in goal. There might not be too many changes elsewhere in defence, as Rossi looks to continue with the tried and tested back three of Attila Szalai, Adam Lang and the experienced Willi Orban.

Probable Lineup (3-4-2-1): Dibusz; Lang, Orban, Attila Szalai; Fiola, Schafer, Adam Nagy, Zsolt Nagy; Sallai, Szoboszlai; Adam Szalai

Key Stats

  • Tuesday’s clash will be the 26th meeting between Hungary and England in all competitions. Hungary’s win over England in the opening fixture was their first victory against the Three Lions after failing to win any of their last 15 matches since a 2-1 victory at World Cup 1962.
  • Prior to their defeat to Hungary, England were unbeaten in their last 22 games in all competitions, winning 18 in the process (D4) – their longest ever unbeaten streak.
  • Five of Gareth Southgate’s eleven defeats as England manager have come in the UEFA Nations League, more than he has lost in any other competition in charge of the Three Lions.
  • Hungary have lost just one of their last 12 matches in the UEFA Nations League, picking up six wins in the process (D5).
  • With 25 goals in 83 matches, Hungary’s Adam Szalai is tied with Geza Toldi in the list of all-time goalscorers for the country. He is far behind the legendary Ferenc Puskas (81 goals) at the top.

Player to Watch

Harry Kane

England's biggest weapon in attack (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

England’s biggest weapon in attack (Photo by Justin Setterfield/Getty Images)

Harry Kane scored his landmark 50th goal for England when he fired a penalty to salvage a point against Germany. It is the only goal England have managed in their UEFA Nations League campaign so far, with the pressure seemingly on the Tottenham forward as he chases a record.

Currently on 50 goals, Kane is just three shy of matching Wayne Rooney as England’s all-time leading goalscorer mark. The England captain, though, certainly won’t be chasing a hat-trick against Hungary and will only hope to find an opener that could help his team get over the line.

The combination play between Kane and Sterling is going to be crucial for England as they look to breach the lines of Hungary’s defence that has appeared quite solid so far this tournament. Although the visitors do not have a world-class creative unit, the burden will once again be on Kane to convert the goalscoring opportunity and help his nation seal their first win of the Nations League campaign.

Prediction

England 1-1 Hungary

Hungary have looked like a sturdy team under Marco Rossi. They have appeared quite organised defensively, and the wing-back system works seamlessly, in both attack and defence.

However, their defences could be tested against an English team not only playing at home but also hungry for three points after scoring just one in three matches. Although we do not expect the hosts to score too many goals, they might just do enough to seal a narrow victory against the sturdy Hungary side and move up the standings.

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