Hit for six
Coming off the back of an unbeaten World Cup qualifying campaign – admittedly in a group featuring the likes of San Marino, Andorra and Albania – and a four-match winning streak including friendlies, England would have gone into the Nations League with optimism.
Hungary were another of the teams dealt with in that qualifying group, albeit with a 1-1 draw at Wembley, but Dominik Szoboszlai’s penalty in Budapest led to a 1-0 England defeat and set the tone for a dismal slide to relegation.
Harry Kane’s late penalty secured a draw in Germany and there was a 0-0 stalemate with Italy behind closed doors at Molineux before the same venue witnessed the nadir of the campaign.
Roland Sallai scored twice as the Magyars inflicted a 4-0 defeat, avenging the World Cup qualifier in Hungary and leaving Southgate’s side – who had John Stones sent off late in the game – bottom of Group A3.
Giacomo Raspadori’s goal gave Italy a 1-0 win in Milan, confirming England’s relegation to League B, before a dramatic encounter with Germany at Wembley saw Southgate’s men battle back from 2-0 down to lead 3-2, only for the game to end all square after Kai Havertz took advantage of a late Nick Pope error.
Weight of history
Only once have England endured a seven-match winless run, under Walter Winterbottom in 1958 with defeats to Yugoslavia and the USSR among draws against the latter, twice, plus Brazil, Austria and Northern Ireland.
England’s next scheduled game is the World Cup opener against Iran, a pressurised occasion even without the threat of an unwanted record looming over it.
Graham Taylor oversaw England’s most recent run of six games without a win, in 1993, with three draws and three losses spanning World Cup qualifiers against the Netherlands, Poland and Norway and the United States Cup against Brazil, Germany and the hosts.
Ron Greenwood managed just two draws and four defeats across friendlies against Spain and Brazil, World Cup qualifiers against Romania and Switzerland and Home Championship games against Wales and Scotland in 1981 and also took charge for the last fixture in England’s other six-match winless run.
That came in 1977, when Don Revie’s side lost to Wales and Scotland and then drew with Brazil, Argentina and Uruguay before Greenwood oversaw a stalemate with Switzerland.
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