A Dominik Szoboszlai penalty ended England's record 22-game unbeaten run as Gareth Southgate's side suffered a 1-0 loss to Hungary in their Nations League opener.

The Three Lions had not lost since 2020 outside of penalty shoot-outs – their best ever sequence – but left Budapest empty-handed in their first competitive match of a World Cup year.

The decisive goal came from the spot after substitute Reece James was penalised for a trailing arm on Zsolt Nagy in the box, allowing Szoboszlai to score 24 minutes from time and earn Hungary's first win against England since 1962.

It was a result welcomed by around 35,000 fans in a behind-closed-doors match, as children were allowed to attend in line with UEFA sanctions despite a stadium ban for racist behaviour at Euro 2020.

And there were audible boos from those in attendance as England took the knee ahead of kick-off, back in Budapest where their players were the subject of abuse last year.

Didier Deschamps has handed Liverpool centre-back Ibrahima Konate his first call-up to the France senior squad as a replacement for Raphael Varane.

Manchester United defender Varane sustained a hamstring injury during Les Bleus' 2-1 Nations League defeat to Denmark on Friday, and has had to withdraw from the squad ahead of the next three games.

Kylian Mbappe was also forced off with a knee problem at half-time in the game at the Stade de France, with assistant coach Guy Stephan saying the Paris Saint-Germain star would be assessed.

Konate has had an impressive first season at Liverpool after joining the Premier League side from RB Leipzig last year.

The 23-year-old made 29 appearances in all competitions for Jurgen Klopp's side in 2021-22, scoring three goals and helping to keep 10 clean sheets.

Konate also started the Champions League final against Real Madrid, which Liverpool lost 1-0, and that was the first game in which Konate had played that the Reds were defeated.

France play away to Croatia on Monday, before further games away to Austria and then the return game against Croatia.

Harry Kane is playing with a "freer mind" for England following a strong end to his club campaign with Tottenham.

The 28-year-old helped Spurs to topple fierce rivals Arsenal for fourth place in the Premier League, meaning the return of Champions League football next season.

He scored five goals in Tottenham's final five league games to take his tally to 17 for the campaign in the top flight.

That is Kane's joint-lowest tally in the competition in his eight seasons as a regular, alongside 2018-19, and is down on the 23 goals registered in 2020-21.

Kane's lower-than-usual goals return can be put down to a slow start to the campaign when failing to score in his first eight Premier League games of the season.

That came amid a backdrop of uncertainty regarding his future after expressing a desire to leave Spurs, only for the club to block a move to Manchester City.

With Tottenham now thriving under Antonio Conte and Kane seemingly settled once again, the England captain hopes that will be reflected in his performances.

"Whenever you finish strongly with your club there is always a freer mind going into the international stage," he said.

"It was a fantastic summer last year in terms of [Euro 2020]. It ended obviously very disappointingly, but going into these games I feel confident, I feel free.

"We had a good finish as a team towards the end of the season and I had a good season personally, which is always great.

"So I am looking forward to carrying that on into these games. Then, as I touched on earlier, getting a nice break over the summer."

England have four Nations League games in the space of 10 days to round off the 2021-22 campaign, beginning with Saturday's meeting against Hungary in Budapest.

It will be the 25th meeting between the sides in all competitions, with England unbeaten in the past 15 of those in a run stretching back to the 1962 World Cup.

Kane has scored eight goals in his past four international appearances and is now just four short of equalling Wayne Rooney (53) as England's all-time leading goalscorer.

While team honours remain the top priority for Kane, the 2018 World Cup Golden Boot winner admits overtaking former team-mate Rooney would mean a lot to him.

"Of course I think it would be an incredible achievement," he said. "I was lucky enough to be playing on the pitch and actually scored when Wayne broke the record himself.

"I saw how much it meant to him and his family. I did not really think that far ahead at that stage. 

"But to be where I am now – four goals behind Wayne with plenty of games coming up this year – it would be an incredible achievement.

"Whenever you are in among the names of Rooney and [Gary] Lineker and [Bobby] Charlton and players like that you are doing something worthwhile.

"But I am focused on trying to help the team. I always feel if I am doing my best for the team then the goals will come."

Former Manchester United manager Ralf Rangnick made a positive start to his tenure in charge of the Austrian national team, defeating Croatia 3-0 in their Nations League opener.

It was Croatia who enjoyed most of the possession early, controlling 60 per cent in the first half, but it would be the Austrians heading into the break as the happier side after Marko Arnautovic tucked his strike into the bottom corner 41 minutes in.

After being out-shot by the Croatians 10-4 in the first half – with Austria's only shot on target finding the back of the net – the second half was a much different story.

Of the seven shots on target in the second 45, all seven belonged to Austria, and they were rewarded with two more quick goals as Michael Gregoritsch made it 2-0 in the 54th minute, before Marcel Sabitzer struck from long-range to cap off the win in stunning style three minutes later.

With the win, Rangnick became the first manager to guide Austria to a win and a clean sheet in their debut since Hans Krankl in 2002.

Speaking after the game, Rangnick said he was pleased with how his side navigated some early pressure to come out on top.

"We had problems in the first 25 minutes, but getting the lead just before the break did us good," he said.

"In the second half we played really well and scored two wonderful goals – we could even have scored more. 

"I am very satisfied."

Striker Arnautovic added: "The players were full of energy. Croatia are an excellent team, but we played a great match. 

"We turned our chances to goals and deserved this win. We want to return to the top."

Austria continues their Nations League campaign against Denmark on Monday.

Louis van Gaal cannot understand why Steven Bergwijn has been used so sparingly by Tottenham, with the forward again highly influential for the Netherlands on Friday.

Bergwijn made only four Premier League starts this season, restricted to 547 minutes across 25 appearances while scoring three times.

It appears as though this could have been Bergwijn's last campaign at Spurs, given Ajax are said to be looking to bring the Oranje front man back to the Eredivisie.

On his form at international level, it is easy to see why Ajax would be interested.

Bergwijn scored the Netherlands' first goal in a 4-1 win in Belgium in the Nations League, having a hand in six of his side's 15 attempts.

The former PSV man has scored five goals and assisted another for his country since Van Gaal returned as coach last year.

And Bergwijn, along with Frenkie de Jong, was picked out for special praise for their roles in a "collective victory".

"You always have players who can excel in the collective," Van Gaal told NOS. "In this match, it was again Frenkie de Jong and Steven Bergwijn.

"Bergwijn played incredibly well. I don't understand why he never plays at Spurs, that's all I can say. Of course, they have a lot of choice there, but for us he is worth his weight in gold.

"Today he played his best game, and with Frenkie, in Oranje, he is always a hit."

This was the Netherlands' first win against Belgium – the world's second-ranked team – since September 1997, before the first of Van Gaal's three stints as coach.

But he is not getting carried away, explaining: "It may have seemed easy, but it wasn't that easy.

"We deserved to win, we created the most chances, but Belgium also had chances – if the first one goes in, you get a completely different game. We must not forget that.

"We are in a process towards the World Cup. I want to see a lot of players at work in the coming matches. A game against Belgium is the best game to judge players."

France's surprise 2-1 loss to Denmark in the opening game of their Nations League title defence was down to a lack of sharpness, according to assistant boss Guy Stephan.

Substitute Andreas Cornelius scored twice for Denmark in Friday's contest at Stade de France, where Les Blues had taken the lead through Karim Benzema's 51st-minute strike.

The defeat is France's first inside 90 minutes in a competitive game on home soil since losing 1-0 to Spain in March 2013.

It is also the first time the reigning World Cup winners have lost a game in which they have led since going down 3-2 to Colombia in a friendly a little over four years ago.

And at the end of a long season, France coach Stephan – filling in for Didier Deschamps, who is mourning the passing of his father – believes fatigue played a big part.

"We knew that Denmark were a good team, with a very good structure," Stephan told M6. 

"Without looking for an excuse, we're coming to the end of a season in which the players have played a lot. I have nothing to blame them for.

"It was a match between two good teams. We had some good spells and some less good spells.

"We just needed some freshness to be able to express ourselves and we didn't have that today."

 

The hosts had 19 shots to Denmark's eight, yet Cornelius' double – making him the first substitute to score twice against France – earned his side a shock win in Paris.

Cornelius volleyed in from a fine Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg pass for his opener and then thumped a winner past Hugo Lloris at his near post two minutes from time.

"There are never good times to suffer defeats," Lloris told M6. "There's still a long time to go until the World Cup, though of course it's never good to start a campaign with a defeat.

"We fell against a good, well-organised team. At 1-0 we had chances for a second, but we were so committed to the attack that there were also risks that Denmark exploited."

France replaced Kylian Mbappe with Christopher Nkunku at half-time, which Stephan confirmed was a precautionary measure after the Paris Saint-Germain star injured his knee.

Raphael Varane also hobbled off in the second half and will undergo a scan on his thigh ahead of Monday's trip to Croatia in Les Blues' second Group A1 outing.

Deschamps is set to return to the France camp on Saturday ahead of that game, which takes on added importance following Croatia's 3-0 loss to Austria elsewhere on Friday.

Roberto Martinez had reassuring words on Romelu Lukaku's status and even attempted to put a positive spin on Belgium's 4-1 defeat to the Netherlands following the stunning reverse.

Belgium are the world's second-ranked side but were completely outclassed on home turf by a team they had not lost to since 1997.

It had still been 0-0 when Lukaku hobbled off in the first half, however, with the Chelsea forward trying and failing to play on after sustaining an injury in a tangle with Nathan Ake.

However, with three more Nations League matches to come this month, Martinez could at least inform fans Lukaku's ailment was not as serious as might have been feared.

"Lukaku's problem was a knock," he said, although he accepted: "From then on, it became a more difficult match."

This was far from an ideal result in Belgium's first competitive match of a World Cup year, but Martinez believes his side can benefit from the experience.

"This is what we needed to prepare for the World Cup," he said. "It's a hard result, but it's clear what we need to work on.

"The World Cup does not start until November, but with the national team it is already within 17 days. We will have to work in a specific way."

 

The former Everton manager added: "It is clear what we need to work on. We have to use the Nations League to prepare for the World Cup.

"We started well and found spaces. After that, it became physically difficult for players who didn't play much. The result is the result of all these aspects."

Jan Vertonghen disagreed, however, with the Belgium defender identifying issues that were not purely physical.

"It's a very painful defeat," he said. "We didn't get off to a bad start, though. We made it through a few times, especially via the left side.

"We lacked momentum after Romelu's substitution. The Dutch have had just as tough a season as we have. That shouldn't be an excuse. The physical part is not tonight's shortcoming.

"In particular, we had difficulties controlling the deep striker.

"This defeat puts us with both feet on the ground. It is clear that we will have to keep working hard."

Simon Mignolet hopes Belgium can learn from their shock 4-1 defeat to the Netherlands, who outclassed the world's second-ranked team in Brussels.

The form book was on Belgium's side heading into their Nations League opener at home to the Oranje on Friday.

The Red Devils had not lost to their neighbours since September 1997 and had not lost to any side at home since September 2016.

But both of those runs came to an end as Belgium were blown away, with Mignolet – in for Champions League final hero Thibaut Courtois – left horribly exposed.

Nine of the Netherlands' 15 shots came over a 25-minute first-half stretch in which Belgium did not attempt one.

Steven Bergwijn netted the opener shortly after that onslaught, before Memphis Depay scored twice either side of a simple Denzel Dumfries finish in the second half.

It was the first time Belgium had conceded four goals at home since October 2010, but Mignolet had no complaints about the scoreline.

"There are no excuses for this defeat," the goalkeeper said. "You get the chance to play against the Netherlands and you have to grab that opportunity with both hands.

"In the run-up to the World Cup, tonight's game and the remaining matches in the Nations League were good opportunities to measure ourselves.

"We have to learn from this and take things forward to the preparations for the World Cup in Qatar."

The mood in the Dutch camp was rather more cheerful, as captain Virgil van Dijk told NOS: "It was a good win with good football. Everyone was good today.

"Steven Bergwijn in particular was excellent – they couldn't get a grip on him – but also Steven Berghuis and Frenkie de Jong. Actually, I can be positive about everyone. It was a great team performance.

"We did an excellent job, we forced them to make mistakes and we scored good goals."

Van Dijk came straight from playing against Courtois in the Champions League final and will now bring his long season to an end while the Netherlands turn their focus to further Nations League matches.

"It's time to recover," the centre-back added. "I'm going on holiday now and the rest can prepare for Wales [on Wednesday]."

Andreas Cornelius struck twice in the second half as France's Nations League title defence began with a shock 2-1 loss to Denmark in Paris.

France took the lead through Karim Benzema at the Stade de France, the venue where he lifted the Champions League with Real Madrid six days earlier, but they were unable to see out the win.

Trabzonspor striker Cornelius volleyed in a delightful equaliser and then fired in a winner two minutes from time to stun France, who lost Kylian Mbappe to a first-half injury.

Denmark join Austria, who beat Croatia 3-0 elsewhere on Friday, at the top of Group A1.

The visitors enjoyed a near-perfect campaign in qualifying for Qatar 2022, where they will meet France in the group stage, and started the brighter in this contest.

Kasper Dolberg got in behind the home defence inside the first three minutes and picked out Joakim Maehle, who hit the outside of the post with the angle against him.

France soon grew into the game, with Benzema having a goal-bound shot blocked by Jannik Vestergaard and a low strike past Kasper Schmeichel ruled out for offside.

Mbappe sustained an injury shortly before half-time and played no part after the break, but Didier Deschamps' men did not require long to open the scoring in the second half.

Benzema played a one-two with Mbappe's replacement Christopher Nkunku, took the ball past three opposition players and slid the ball away from Schmeichel for the 51st-minute opener.

Les Blues did not build on that lead, however, as Cornelius flashed a first-time finish past Hugo Lloris in the 68th minute with the side of his boot after being spotted by Pierre-Emile Hojbjerg.

N'Golo Kante hit the post with a curled effort, but it was Cornelius who had the final say in Paris with a thumping finish into the roof of the net at Lloris' near post.

The Netherlands deservedly defeated Belgium for the first time since September 1997 on Friday, sensationally winning 4-1 in Brussels in their Nations League opener.

A 25-year wait for an Oranje victory against their nearest neighbours was emphatically ended by Louis van Gaal's side.

Steven Bergwijn – reportedly set for a move back to the Netherlands with Ajax – set the visitors on their way, before Memphis Depay netted either side of a Denzel Dumfries goal in an outstanding display.

In their first competitive match of a World Cup year, the Netherlands hinted at a return to form against elite opponents, whose big names crumbled as both Romelu Lukaku and Eden Hazard were substituted early - Michy Batshuayi's last-gasp goal proving scant consolation.

Careless defending at either end contributed to a lively encounter, although Timothy Castagne's early effort against the angle of post and crossbar was one of Belgium's few threats in the game.

The Netherlands soon took control – aided by Lukaku's departure with an injury – and Simon Mignolet was finally beaten five minutes before half-time.

Bergwijn arrowed a fine finish into the bottom-right corner from 25 yards, although an Oranje penalty was struck off before half-time as a VAR review showed Dumfries' cross had struck Castagne's face and not his raised arm.

Depay, who had been set to take that spot-kick, had to wait only until six minutes after the restart for his goal, charging beyond the Belgium defence and firing past Mignolet.

A brief Belgium flurry was followed by a further two Dutch goals, as Mignolet parried Steven Berghuis' curler only as far as Daley Blind, who squared for Dumfries to score, then the left-back nodded down a long ball for Depay to control and lash in the fourth.

There was belatedly a Belgium response, after Castagne had been denied by an offside flag and Dries Mertens thumped against the post, but Batshuayi's stoppage-time strike came far too late to take the shine off a stunning Netherlands win.


What does it mean? Dutch domination

Belgium were in command for the opening quarter of an hour, but they soon bowed under a barrage of Netherlands attacks. The Oranje kept 70 per cent of the possession for the next 15 minutes and attempted the next nine shots, scoring through Bergwijn.

After waiting so long to beat Belgium, Van Gaal's men did not settle for the single goal, adding real gloss after the interval in a landmark result.

Memphis moving up

With two more goals, Depay now has 41 for his country and surely has his sights set on Robin van Persie's record of 50. Only Klaas Jan Huntelaar (42) now stands between the pair.

Van Gaal is getting the best out of Depay, who has now been involved in 17 Netherlands goals since the coach's return.

Boos for Belgium

It was little surprise to hear the home crowd turn on Belgium, who were completely outclassed by a side ranked eight places below them by FIFA.

The Red Devils were not helped by the departures of Lukaku and Hazard. The Chelsea forward tangled with Nathan Ake and could not shake a knock, while his captain followed at half-time – albeit without any obvious injury.

What's next?

Belgium must bounce back when they face Poland on Wednesday in the same stadium, while the Netherlands are at Wales next.

Kylian Mbappe was forced off the field at half-time in France's Nations League opener against Denmark on Friday.

The striker, who last month signed a new deal with Paris Saint-Germain despite interest from Real Madrid, sustained a knee injury towards the end of the goalless first half.

He pulled up with nobody around him and did not return to field for the start of the second period, with Christopher Nkunku introduced in his place.

Mbappe limping down the tunnel would have been a concern for Didier Deschamps, whose side have three more Nations League games to come in the next 10 days.

However, Deschamps' assistant Guy Stephan confirmed to French outlet M6 that the substitution was purely precautionary.

Mbappe watched the second half from the substitutes' bench at Stade de France with his leg heavily strapped.

Romelu Lukaku lasted less than half an hour of Belgium's Nations League opener against the Netherlands on Friday.

The Chelsea forward, who endured a difficult first season back at Stamford Bridge, started up front for Roberto Martinez's side in Brussels.

But Lukaku stayed down for an extended period after tangling with Manchester City defender Nathan Ake midway through the first half.

While his Belgium team-mates appealed for a red card – or at least a foul, with Ake, the last man, not penalised – Lukaku required lengthy treatment.

The striker eventually lifted himself and continued playing but pulled up soon after when attempting to close down Frenkie de Jong.

The former Manchester United and Inter man immediately signalled he would have to be replaced, with Martinez bringing on Leandro Trossard as a substitute.

Roberto Mancini vowed to start a new era with Italy as the Azzurri look to rediscover their Euro 2020 magic, but warned not to expect instant fixes as he cannot "invent players".

Italy lifted the European Championship last July, their first since 1968, with a penalty shoot-out victory over England at Wembley.

The Azzurri followed that up by failing to make a second straight World Cup, following play-off defeat to North Macedonia in March, which led to questions over coach Mancini's tenure.

Development problems were also cited with the Italian system, which was bemoaned for struggling to produce younger players for the national team with Serie A coaches reluctant to trust the youth.

Italy were 3-0 losers to Argentina in the 'Finalissima' on Wednesday, a meeting between the Euro 2020 winners and Copa America champions, and Mancini promised change after that game.

The former Manchester City coach reiterated his desire for new beginnings with Italy, although he does not expect quick solutions ahead of the Nations League opener at home to Germany on Saturday.

"The victory of the European Championship is part of the magic that are part of those tournaments. Now we have to start again and go back to that magic," he told reporters on Friday.

"I have never had this type of problem. In football, however, when you win everyone is with you and when you lose almost everyone against you. That's how it is.

"Against Argentina we paid for the loss of players, one after the other. We weren't such a huge group and the injuries affected us: Argentina were better than us, they had fresher players and maybe it's the first game in three and a half years where we find a team that has put us under pressure, even if we made two mistakes on goals in the first half.

"It takes time, we cannot invent players and we know that we will have to suffer enough.

"The restart is from now. The new cycle starts again from tomorrow.

"The common thread is the same: looking for players with quality, speed, who they will not be like [Marco] Verratti and Jorginho who played in certain teams and therefore it will take a little longer.

"If we can give some minutes to these guys who have never played in the national team, and see them integrated well, it would be better."

Italy host Germany and Hungary before visiting England on June 11, with a return trip to Hansi Flick's side three days later capping off the internationals for this month.

Mancini believes that England and Germany pose two of the toughest tasks in international football at the moment, and cited Brazil, France and Argentina among the favourites for the World Cup in Qatar.

"We face the two strongest teams at the moment, Germany and England," he added. "They are among the best, they have great players and we take a lot of risks by changing a lot, it could be a good start.

"The most important thing will be to defend well and attack better. We face one of the strongest teams in the world along with Brazil, Argentina, France...

"Germany are technical, very fast when they counter-attack and come to press. They will be among the favourites for the World Cup victory in Qatar.

"We must defend all together and attack and press as we did for three and a half years: we did it for three and a half years with players who didn't seem able to do it, yet they have done."

Gareth Southgate hopes Hungary being forced to play their Nations League opener against England behind closed doors will serve to demonstrate the unacceptability of racism to younger fans.

Saturday's sparse crowd at the Puskas Arena will be populated by children after UEFA issued Hungary with a three-match spectator ban due to racist abuse by supporters during Euro 2020 games in Budapest.

UEFA rules state children - along with one adult for every 10 young fans - can attend behind-closed-doors matches, which England will also take advantage of when they also serve a one-match spectator ban during their home game against Italy at Molineux on June 11.

England's punishment was handed down after crowd trouble broke out prior to the Three Lions' Euro 2020 final loss to Roberto Mancini's men last July.

Southgate's side have been faced with unsavoury scenes when visiting Hungary before, with Raheem Sterling and other black players the target of abuse during England's 4-0 win in Budapest in September 2021 – with FIFA giving the hosts a separate spectator ban after those events.

Speaking at his pre-match news conference, Southgate stated his hope that allowing young fans to attend in such circumstances will help to bring about a future free of discrimination.

"I imagine Hungary will have the same feelings about restrictions on their home games as us, they won't want it to happen again. Everybody learns from every experience," he said.

"Our players wanted to focus on the football after that night [last year's 4-0 win]. They played incredibly well, and we want to do that again.

"We've shown how we feel about these issues, in terms of racism and it's unacceptability. Hopefully the young people in the stadium will recognise why this opportunity has happened and, in some ways, maybe this will be part of the education for the next generation.

"Each generation that passes will bring more tolerance, and we have the same situation in our country, so we've got to keep setting the right example. All being well, the young people will enjoy the game and take a bigger message from it."

Meanwhile, England skipper Harry Kane, who scored during the dominant win in Hungary last year, says the Three Lions are focused on what they can do on the pitch.

"Obviously, the way the players responded during that game was a credit to themselves," he recalled.

"It's down to UEFA and what they see fit as the punishment. We can only perform to the best of our ability and try and get the three points. 

"We hope the game goes well for the fans watching, for the children coming to watch the players. We're concentrating on the game, and we want to get off to a good start."

England have faced Hungary regularly in recent years, also drawing 1-1 with Marco Rossi's team in a World Cup qualifier last October, and will encounter them twice more within the next fortnight.

Southgate believes that Wembley stalemate provided a better representation of Hungary's strength than the previous meeting in Budapest, and is prepared for a challenging contest.

"The match in Budapest was one of the more different performances I've seen from Hungary over the past two or three years," he added, "Normally they are very difficult to score goals against, we played very well too.

"At Wembley, it was more like the Hungarian side I've seen, against the bigger sides particularly. They are difficult to break down, and it will be a tough match."

Hansi Flick says Germany want 'to be among the best in the world again' as his side kick off their Qatar 2022 World Cup preparations in the Nations League against Italy.

Since defeat at Euro 2020 to England - in the final match of the Joachim Low era - Germany have gone unbeaten under their new coach.

That rich vein of form faces its sternest test yet in the shape of the incumbent European champions, who represent a major threat despite failing to reach Qatar 2022 themselves.

But speaking about the mood within his squad, Flick appears unfazed and says his team are ready to claim back their place at the summit of world football.

"The situation has been clear since the first meeting," he stated in his pre-match press conference. "We want to be among the best in the world again, where Germany belongs.

"It's important to get back into competition mode. We have to be careful what happens on the field. But I think everyone is very motivated. It will be a good game for us."

Elsewhere, Flick paid tribute to opposite number Roberto Mancini too, while admitting the Azzurri's failure to reach the World Cup took him by surprise.

"I have great respect for him and appreciate him very much," he added. "He has the quality, class and passion to bring Italy back to where it belongs.

"We all know how difficult it can be against supposedly small opponents. Nevertheless, we were all surprised that Italy was eliminated.

"It's certainly not easy to predict the opponent. He did a fantastic job after the World Cup in Russia. We were all fans during the European Championship.

"The team spirit and the way they played football was impressive. He will try to do the same thing again."

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