Pickford Impresses But England Beaten

Everton goalkeeper Jordan Pickford produced a faultless performance but his England side were beaten 1-0 by Hungary in their Nations League opener on Saturday evening.

Dominik Szoboszlai’s second-half penalty proved the difference in a tightly-contested battle in Budapest.

Both sides created chances in an entertaining first half, with the in-form Pickford forced into action early on when Roland Sallai fired at goal – the Everton stopper safely gathered his effort.

Pickford – who was recently crowned Everton’s 2021/22 Player of the Season – made an excellent save on the half-hour mark, diving full-stretch to tip Zsolt Nagy’s drive around the post.

The home side were given a golden opportunity to take the lead on 66 minutes when awarded a penalty after Reece James was adjudged to have bundled over Nagy in the box.

Szoboszlai stepped up to take the kick and duly rifled an unstoppable shot into the bottom corner.

England pushed for an equaliser and Conor Coady’s glancing header went agonisingly wide of the post.

Pickford then kept the game alive when he athletically kept out Laszlo Kleinheisler’s powerful strike.

Harry Kane hammered a shot into the side-netting in the game’s final moments, but Gareth Southgate’s side were unable to find a breakthrough.

The Three Lions will aim to get their Nations League campaign back on track on Tuesday night when they face Germany in a mouthwatering encounter in Munich.

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England's number one awarded 2021/22 Player of the Season.

Everton skipper Seamus Coleman, meanwhile, started as the Republic of Ireland were beaten 1-0 at Armenia in their Nations League curtain-raiser.

The right-back played for 81 minutes of the contest before being substituted for Will Keane, brother of Coleman’s Everton teammate Michael Keane.

Armenia’s Eduard Spertsyan scored the only goal of the game on 74 minutes.

Ireland’s next Nations League game is on Wednesday night when they host Ukraine in Dublin.