England's home schedule for 2022 has been confirmed with New Zealand, India and South Africa all set to tour during a hectic year.

The ECB released the men's international fixture list on Wednesday, which launches with a three-match Test series against world champions New Zealand in June.

The Black Caps – winners of the inaugural World Test Championship earlier this year – face England at Lord's (June 2-6), Trent Bridge (June 10-14) and Headingley (June 23-27).

Joe Root's side then welcome India for a three-match T20 series beginning at Old Trafford on July 1, before a three-match ODI series follows from July 9 at Edgbaston.

South Africa then arrive for a three-match ODI series starting at Riverside on July 19, before a three-match T20 series between the sides begins in Bristol eight days later.

The Proteas will also provide the opposition as England conclude their calendar year on home soil with a three-match Test series played at Lord's (August 17-21), Edgbaston (August 25-29) and the Oval (September 8-12). 

ECB chief executive officer, Tom Harrison, said: "It has been a scintillating summer of cricket and so good to see crowds back packing out venues later this summer. 

"For next summer, I am pleased to be able to confirm three high-quality men's international touring teams for 2022, starting with a three-Test series against World Test champions New Zealand.

"We also look forward to India returning for two white-ball series before we host South Africa for what promises to be hard-fought series across three formats, including three Test matches."

Gareth Southgate insists England will be prepared for another hostile atmosphere when they travel to Warsaw to face Poland.

England have enjoyed a productive international break thus far, coasting past Hungary and Andorra by an aggregate score of 8-0 to make it five wins in five games.

Last Thursday in Budapest, England players were subjected to racist abuse by the crowd, Raheem Sterling being the main target as he celebrated his opener.

Southgate expects a tough test on Wednesday, with five of the last seven games on Polish soil finishing as a draw between these two sides.

"We have to approach the game as we did the other night," said the England boss.

"We know keeping possession of the ball can be a big factor in managing those situations.

"But the flow of the game will be different and we are playing a level of opponent who I think is in a better moment.

"They have won their last two games and have good footballers in the team who will keep the ball a little bit better than Hungary were able to against us.

"Then there is a balance of not inflaming situations and giving a home crowd something to live off and get behind the team more.

"That's the balance and experience. I'm sure our players will manage that no problem."

 

Poland have failed to beat the Three Lions in their last 17 attempts and Southgate appreciates the visitors can take control of their World Cup qualification destiny.

"It's a big opportunity for us, we can take a really positive step to the World Cup if we win in Warsaw," he continued.

"There's a high level of motivation, but we're also guarding against any feeling that we're better than we are.

"The team is playing well and we have a squad, any of whom are more than comfortable coming into the side and playing well when they come into the team.

"But those moments can be dangerous if we get any sense of complacency, then we're going into a game where we can be really challenged."

England will make a late call on whether to include Ben Stokes in their T20 World Cup squad but he will not be put under pressure to play.

All-rounder Stokes took an "indefinite break from all cricket" in July for his mental wellbeing and to also allow an injured index finger to fully heal.

Stokes last played for England in a three-match one-day series against Pakistan in July.

His team-mates, including Test captain Joe Root and limited-overs skipper Eoin Morgan, spoke out to support Stokes' decision to take a break. 

The 30-year-old has been a key performer for England in all formats of the game and inspired them to the 50-over World Cup in 2019.

England head coach Chris Silverwood, who has not yet talked to Stokes, will name his squad for the T20 World Cup on Thursday.

 

"We are going to leave that one late, to give it our best chance," Silverwood said.

"I want to give him as much space as possible but there are people talking to him outside of me and it is something we will be revisiting shortly.

"I haven't spoken to him as yet. But I will not be putting pressure on him, will not be rushing him and whatever support he needs he will get.

"First and foremost my only concern is for him and make sure he's okay. That's the starting point I will be at and the rest of the questions will come.

"I need to make sure he is okay and that is my primary concern."

England's first game of the T20 World Cup, staged in United Arab Emirates and Oman, is against West Indies on October 23.

Wicketkeeper Jos Buttler has returned to England's squad for the fifth and final Test against India, which starts at Old Trafford on Friday.

Buttler missed the fourth Test, a 157-run loss to India at The Oval, to be present at the birth of his second child.

Jonny Bairstow took over wicketkeeping duties in Buttler's absence as England went 2-1 down in the five-match series.

Sam Billings, who was included in the squad for the fourth Test squad as cover for Bairstow, has now returned to Kent.

Left-arm spinner Jack Leach is also named in the 16-man party for the match.

He was in England's squad for the first two Tests against India but not selected, and has not featured in a Test match since March.

Leach would give England captain Joe Root another spin option alongside Moeen Ali.

Fast bowler Mark Wood, who has returned from a shoulder injury, and left-arm seamer Sam Curran, dropped for the fourth Test, are both available.

England coach Chris Silverwood acknowledged that, with James Anderson and Ollie Robinson having toiled at The Oval, he may need to freshen up a fatigued attack.

"We have got some aching bodies, I'm not going to deny that," Silverwood said.

"So we obviously have to keep an eye on that. He [Wood] could come back and if he does, he will obviously add that pace for us.

"If the pitch is abrasive as it usually is at Old Trafford there should be reverse swing."

Lancashire seamer Anderson, England's record wicket-taker, would be loathe to miss out on playing at his home ground.

Silverwood acknowledged that with a short turnaround between Tests he will need to have a discussion with the 39-year-old over his fitness. 

"James knows his own body. He will certainly give me an honest opinion of where he is at, and it's certainly something I will listen to," Silverwood explained.

"It'll be a discussion that he and I will have together. He will have input into that, without a shadow of a doubt.

"I know what it's like, he won't want to miss any cricket. We have to make sure we look after him.

"Although there is a gap between the final Test and what's in front of him, he's certainly someone I want to make sure is looked after."

England squad for the fifth Test against India at Old Trafford:  Joe Root (captain), Moeen Ali, James Anderson, Jonny Bairstow, Rory Burns, Jos Buttler, Sam Curran, Haseeb Hameed, Dan Lawrence, Jack Leach, Dawid Malan, Craig Overton, Ollie Pope, Ollie Robinson, Chris Woakes, Mark Wood.

Joe Root demanded England be more ruthless and promised improvements after a 157-run defeat on Monday handed India a 2-1 series lead with one Test to go. 

The tourists' five-man attack shone on day five to collect their first win at The Oval since 1971, Jasprit Bumrah impressing as he became the quickest India paceman to 100 wickets in the longest format. 

After Rory Burns and Haseeb Hameed shared England's first 100-run opening stand in the fourth innings since October 2016, Virat Kohli's bowlers ran riot as the hosts collapsed, losing six wickets for 47 runs. 

Bumrah and Shardul Thakur, whose first-innings half-century was the fastest in Test cricket in England, provided the impetus for India and Root pointed to the former as an example. 

"You look at this game, it's been frustrating today to lose 10 wickets," Root said post-match. 

"But I think, when you look where the game was lost, we should have got a bigger lead first time around with the bat. It would have been nice to have another 100 runs and then we're looking at a completely different game. 

"We have to be a bit more ruthless, with the first-innings runs costing us there. And with our catching, we did put down a few chances. Some were extremely difficult but when you give chances and half-chances to world-class players, they take them. 

"You look at that spell from Bumrah, he recognised the key moment in the game and turned it on its head. It's something we have to look at doing ourselves." 

Indeed, Bumrah has taken the second-most wickets in the series (18) behind Ollie Robinson (21), with England the 27-year-old's favourite opponents, striking 36 times at an average of 24.08. 

And it was his afternoon spell, coupled with Thakur's dismissal of Root, that got the ball rolling for Kohli's men. 

"I think it's something we have to get better at and keep looking to improve, recognising those key moments in games and forcing things a little bit more," Root continued. 

"We did it very well at Headingley but here we did not manage that and it's something we have to be more consistent with, looking at certain situations and getting us into that advantageous position. 

"It's hard to take but you have to look at how he responded from Lords to Headingley and we will look to do exactly the same at Old Trafford. We're more than capable of turning things around very quickly."

A mid-afternoon collapse proved England's downfall as Joe Root's team fell to a 157-run defeat against India at The Oval on day five, handing the tourists a 2-1 series lead with one Test to go.

The hosts were facing a record chase of 368, with 291 remaining by the close of play on day four, but succumbed to their first defeat at The Oval against India since 1971 after a collapse of six wickets for 47 runs left them teetering.

Umesh Yadav sealed the win but Shardul Thakur's two wickets proved key – the first of Rory Burns and second of the in-form Joe Root – while Ravindra Jadeja and Jasprit Bumrah both impressed for their two wickets.

After adding 77 without loss on Sunday, Burns brought up the 100-opening stand with Haseeb Hameed and his own half-century, the first time England's openers have reached the landmark in the fourth innings since October 2016.

However, Thakur removed Burns with the next ball caught behind and, after surviving an lbw scare from Jadeja on five, Dawid Malan was run out by substitute Mayank Agarwal.

Hameed – dropped on 55 by Mohammed Siraj – survived until lunch, only to be bowled by Jadeja for 63 before Bumrah became the quickest Indian pacer to 100 Test wickets by dismissing Ollie Pope.

Bumrah's crushing inswinging yorker accounted for Jonny Bairstow and after Jadeja had Moeen Ali caught at short leg for a duck, England were reeling at 147-6.

Root (36) offered resistance but England's captain chopped on to Thakur, with Woakes (18) following.

Craig Overton (10) was dropped on three by Ajinkya Rahane and overturned an lbw decision, but his charmed life ended when Yadav broke through his defences.

Ollie Robinson and James Anderson faced an impossible task, with the latter caught behind off Yadav to wrap up the game.

Brilliant Bumrah

Kapil Dev (25 matches) was the previous fastest Indian quick to reach 100 wickets but Bumrah achieved the feat in his 24th outing.

England are the 27-year-old's favourite Test opponents, with Bumrah taking 36 wickets at an average of 24.08, while striking 18 times in this series – only Robinson (21) has produced more wickets.

England no longer invincible at The Oval

The hosts had lost only one of their last 13 Tests against India at The Oval before Monday (W5, D7), their last loss coming in August 1971 by four wickets.

England had also won three of the last such fixtures, though this defeat has left them facing three consecutive Test series losses if they cannot triumph in the final meeting in Manchester.

Trent Alexander-Arnold conceded he struggled in the midfield experiment with England against Andorra on Sunday.

The Liverpool star has been a key asset for Jurgen Klopp at right-back, who allows Alexander-Arnold and left-back Andrew Robertson licence to attack.

However, with Reece James, Kieran Trippier and Kyle Walker offering Gareth Southgate a wealth of depth at right-back, England opted to move Alexander-Arnold, who has registered 40 assists in all competitions since the start of 2018-19.

The 22-year-old recorded an 81 per cent passing accuracy in the first half, which increased to 87.1 per cent at the end of the game after a second-half change back to the right flank.

He also produced a game-high six crosses and two key passes – only bettered by Jude Bellingham (three) – but was uneasy when asked to reflect on his performance.

"It's a new role for me, a bit different, I think there's been a lot of questions being asked whether I can or cannot play in there and a lot of opinions being voiced over the last few weeks," Alexander-Arnold said to talkSPORT.

"It was an experiment the manager wanted to try out, but it was difficult to get on the ball for me, I found it a lot more difficult to get on the ball in those spaces.

"But whether I'm starting in there or starting [at] right-back I think naturally I just find myself drifting into midfield, getting the ball and affecting the game."

 

Since his debut in October 2016, Alexander-Arnold has created two chances per 90 minutes across all competitions for Liverpool.

Given he also averages 76.95 passing accuracy in that time frame, his self-assessment of the performance against Andorra perhaps seems harsh.

Those numbers increase minimally to 2.45 chances created per 90 minutes and 77.58 accuracy since his standout season in 2019-20 but the Liverpool academy graduate remained frank in his opinions of his first international midfield outing.

"The only difference was I was starting in there [in midfield] and it was a bit more difficult to really find the space that I wanted to," he continued.

"The second half we changed the system a little bit and I was able to find a lot more space and get time on the ball and get in positions that were fairly similar to playing in midfield anyway."

England cannot just focus on Robert Lewandowski in Wednesday's World Cup qualifier with Poland, Three Lions boss Gareth Southgate has warned his players.

Lewandowski scored three times across Poland's victories over Albania and San Marino last week to make it 72 goals for his country in 124 caps.

Picking up from where he left off in 2020-21, when setting a new record for the most goals ever scored in a single Bundesliga campaign (41), the prolific striker has been in fine form this term.

He has scored in all six matches he has played for club and country, and netted 10 times in total to strengthen his status as arguably the finest striker on the planet.

The Bayern Munich man was injured when Poland lost 2-1 at Wembley in March but is fit and firing for this latest encounter between Group I's top two teams.

But while acknowledging Lewandowski's quality in front of goal, Southgate insists there is more to Poland than just one player, as Paulo Sousa's men showed in the reverse fixture six months ago.

"They played at Wembley without him and they gave a very good account of themselves," he said.

"We only scored really late on in the game to win it, so of course it's no different if we didn't have Harry Kane or Raheem [Sterling], then they would be a big loss to us.

"The very top players for any team in the world are a loss if you don’t have them and every coach will feel the same way.

"But when we're preparing the team to play against Poland, we're not just looking at Lewandowski.

"We absolutely respect what he brings and we know what a threat he is, but they've got some other very dangerous players as well."

 

Lewandowski's run of goals includes scoring in 13 successive Bundesliga matches stretching back into last season – only the late Gerd Muller (16 in 1969-70) found the net in more consecutive league games.

The 33-year-old surpassed 300 goals for Bayern with his recent hat-trick against Hertha Berlin, reaching 301 in just his 333rd appearance for the German giants. 

Again, that is a haul only bettered by Muller (566 goals in 607 matches) in Die Roten's history.

Lewandowski's goals in September's qualifiers have helped Poland to two wins from as many games, but they remain five points adrift of group leaders England at the midway point.

England have yet to drop any points and will be as good as assured of a place at Qatar 2022 should they extend that winning run in Warsaw this week.

"Clearly with Hungary's last result [losing 1-0 to Albania], Poland look like being the nearest challengers, which we probably thought when this group was drawn," Southgate said.

"It's a great incentive for us now. If we can go to Warsaw and win then we really are in control of the group."

England set up a tantalising fifth day of the fourth Test by making immediate inroads after India set them a record run chase at The Oval.

Rory Burns and Haseeb Hameed chipped away at the target of 368, reaching 31 and 43 respectively, as England advanced to 77-0 at stumps.

Armed with a 99-run first-innings lead, England's hopes of establishing a lead in this series were dealt a huge blow after India totted up 466 batting second time around.

However, there remains the possibility of a famous home victory. Should England pull this off, they will take a 2-1 lead heading to the final Test at Old Trafford, but they would have to beat the highest total ever posted by a team winning against India from a fourth-innings chase.

That is currently the 342-8 achieved by Australia in 1977 at Perth. Tony Mann hit a century for Australia in that win and England need at least one batsman to step up and make a big score to anchor this innings.

There were positive signs as openers Burns and Hameed put on a half-century partnership, with Haseeb surviving a late lbw appeal as India used up a review, but England are still 291 short.

Earlier on day four, Rishabh Pant made 50, ending a run of three single-figure scores. Shardul Thakur plundered his second half-century of this match, adding 60 to his first-innings 57, prospering with the bat in the fourth Test match of his career and second of this tour.

Pant rode his luck, with England blowing a glorious chance to run him out when he was on 37. Pant set off for a run before scampering back, and Moeen Ali had the first chance to throw down the stumps. He missed, and Hameed, backing up, fumbled the ball when Pant was still well short of his ground.

Home captain Joe Root broke up a partnership of 100 when he had Thakur caught by Craig Overton at slip, and Moeen struck moments later to remove Pant when he took a sharp return chance off his own bowling as the India batsman looked to go over the top.

India were eight down, but their lead was 315, and the runs kept coming, Umesh Yadav flogging Moeen for a brazen six over cow corner, before hoiking a delivery Woakes over the ropes too. His 25 from 23 balls, plus 24 from Jasprit Bumrah, left England staring at their daunting target.

BURNS SEES OFF DUCK DANGER

It has been a year of mixed fortunes at Test level for Burns, who has five ducks in 2021 on England duty. When he has got off the mark, however, it has often been a different story, with Burns, including this ongoing knock, making 460 at an average for those innings of 51.11.

HAMEED CAN COME OF AGE

There are Ashes places at stake, and the high-tension moments that await England on Monday can be considered comparable to those that may await in Australia. One-time boy wonder Hameed can book his place on the plane, surely, if he converts this strong start into something special. His Test best of 82 came almost five years ago, and to top that here would give England a terrific platform.

England kept up their 100 per cent record in World Cup qualifying with a 4-0 win over Andorra at Wembley on Sunday.

Gareth Southgate made 11 changes to the team that won in Hungary by the same scoreline, with Trent Alexander-Arnold starting in midfield and Patrick Bamford handed a full debut in attack.

Jesse Lingard broke the deadlock after 18 minutes but it was not until the final quarter of the game that the Euro 2020 finalists at last pulled clear on the scoresheet, Harry Kane scoring a penalty before Lingard prodded home a clever second.

Bukayo Saka headed in a late fourth from Lingard's cross after England caught Andorra napping with a quick corner.

Lingard, who has only played four minutes for Manchester United this season, was in the mood to impress from the off. He finished with aplomb with his left foot after Saka's cross was nodded into his path, and only the offside flag denied him a quick-fire second when he raced through and lobbed goalkeeper Josep Gomes.

Bamford almost provided a debut assist for Conor Coady, his header down hooked over by the Wolves defender from six yards.

Reece James crashed a fine effort off the crossbar early in the second half but, with Andorra keeping the home side at bay, Southgate turned to Kane, Jack Grealish and Mason Mount off the bench.

That was the trio that finally got England their second goal: Grealish and Mount combined well, the Chelsea man was bundled over in the box by Christian Garcia, and Kane converted from the spot.

Lingard had a quieter second half but made it 3-0 with 12 minutes remaining, a toe-poke from the edge of the box bamboozling goalkeeper Gomes and finding the bottom-right corner.

And it was the United man who delivered a pinpoint cross for Saka to nod in the fourth, the Arsenal winger marking his 20th birthday in style.

 

What does it mean? England comfortably on track for Qatar

With five wins from five games and just one goal conceded, England are six points clear at the top of Group I and their place at the World Cup is now well within reach.

This straightforward win also allowed Southgate to hand some fringe players the chance to impress while experimenting with his line-up, Alexander-Arnold's and James' credentials in midfield perhaps something to consider for tougher matches.

Andorra, with one win from their five qualifiers, are fifth in the group.

Lingard looking lively

Despite a lack of action at club level, Lingard looked sharp and eager to impress, taking his two chances extremely well and completing all but six of his passes.

He will hope to have caught the eye not just of Southgate, but also of United manager Ole Gunnar Solskjaer ahead of the resumption of the Premier League next weekend. There was something pointed about his Cristiano Ronaldo-esque celebration after his opener.

A missed chance to impress?

While the game was something of an exercise in possession – England had 90 per cent of the ball – there was an argument that some could have done more to grab Southgate's attention.

Bamford only had 17 touches in his 62 minutes on the pitch, while Alexander-Arnold failed to create a goalscoring chance until the 89th minute.

What's next?

England face a far sterner test on Wednesday against Poland in Warsaw. Andorra will visit the Ferenc Puskas Stadium to face Hungary.

India have announced head coach Ravi Shastri is isolating after testing positive for COVID-19 during the fourth Test against England.  

The Board of Control for Cricket in India (BCCI) issued a statement ahead of play on the fourth day of the game confirming Shastri will remain in the team hotel after undergoing further tests following the initial lateral flow result.  

Bowling coach Bharat Arun, fielding coach R Sridhar and physio Nitin Patel are also isolating as a precautionary measure, having been identified as close contacts.  

"They have undergone RT-PCR testing and shall remain in the team hotel and not travel with team India until confirmation from the medical team," a BCCI statement read.  

"The remaining members of the team India contingent underwent two lateral flow tests – one last night and another this morning. The members upon returning negative COVID reports were allowed to proceed for day four of the ongoing fourth Test at The Oval." 

India resumed on Sunday on 270-3 in their second innings, Rohit Sharma’s first Test century overseas helping them establish a 171-run lead over their hosts. 

The series is level at 1-1 after England won by an innings at Headingley last time out. The fifth and final Test begins at Old Trafford in Manchester on Friday. 

Bowler Isai Thorne claimed a three-for on debut, while Andel Gordon and McKenny Clarke took two each but the Windies U-19s found few answers to their English counterparts in a 166 runs loss in the first match of the Rising Stars U19 ODI tour of England.

After winning the toss and choosing to field, England posted 289-9 in their allotted 50 overs. The total was built around half-centuries by captain Jacob Bethell (69), James Rew (59) and wicket-keeper Alex Horton (53).

Bethell and Rew added 87 for the third wicket before the partnership was broken by the 16-year-old Thomas, who bowled with good pace throughout his 10-over spell. He later returned to get the wicket of Horton, who played a late cameo which included four fours and a six, as England scored 85 runs in the last 10 overs.

In reply, the West Indies total of 123 had its main contributions from openers Anderson Amurdan (33) and Matthew Nandu (21) who gave the West Indies a 46 run opening stand in the initial 10 over power play. Amurdan faced 47 balls and hit five boundaries, while left-hander Nandu faced 28 balls and hit two fours. But led by a five-wicket haul from off-spinner Tom Prest (6-2-18-5), who was well supported by the leg-spin of Rehan Ahmed (3-22) and left-arm orthodox Fateh Singh (1-28), they combined effectively to bowl out the visitors in the 30th over.

Gareth Southgate revealed his England stars are fed up of racism controversies overshadowing their strong performances – but vowed they would not back down.

England are on a high after reaching the semi-finals of the 2018 World Cup, the same stage in the Nations League, and then marching to the Euro 2020 final.

It should be a time when their achievements are being splashed across coverage of the team.

Yet the disgusting treatment that England's black players have frequently received at away games has meant the team's positive results have been accompanied by reporting of the problems they have encountered, often overshadowing on-field success.

FIFA has launched an investigation and opened disciplinary proceedings against the Hungarian FA after England players were targeted as Southgate's team won 4-0 in Budapest on Thursday.

England should be on safe ground in such regard when they face Andorra in a World Cup qualifier at Wembley on Sunday, which will come as a relief to the head coach, who says progress in banishing the bigots has been "very slow".

Asked about how well Raheem Sterling and Jude Bellingham had handled the abuse in Hungary, Southgate said: "I don't know how many camps we've had in the past four years, but I seem to have been talking about this subject almost every time we've been together. I can only reiterate our players are incredibly mature the way they deal with it.

"They feel supported by their team-mates, which is very important to them, and their team-mates recognise how challenging it must be for our black players and how disappointing it is in the modern world that we continue to have to answer these questions because of the incidents that happen.

"But we can only keep taking the stance that we have done and hope we continue to send the right messages, not only to people in football but across society, and that everybody keeps progressing.

 

"We know it's going to take time and we know it feels very slow for everybody, but we have to keep fighting that battle.

"There's a balance there that the lads want to get on with their football, and as much as it's important we talk about this publicly, they don't necessarily want it to be uppermost in the conversation.

"They want their performances on the pitch to be recognised, and when you've played as our lads did the other night, they want to be talking about how well they've played and that is the thing that they're here to do.

"They recognise their wider responsibilities and at the right moments they want to affect those things, but when they're playing they want to be judged on their play."

England have won all four of their previous matches against Andorra by an aggregate score of 16-0, with this their first match against them since a 6-0 home win under Fabio Capello in June 2009.

A typically comfortable England win can reasonably be expected for their latest meeting, with Andorra having lost 55 of their 57 away qualifying matches for the World Cup and European Championship, drawing against Macedonia in 2005 and against Albania in 2019 in the two games where they have avoided defeat.

Andorra did manage a 2-0 victory over San Marino on Thursday, however, while England were solidifying their status as Group I front-runners in Hungary.

Southgate confirmed Wolves defender Conor Coady would start against Andorra but declined to offer any further morsels about the make-up of his team.

Leeds United striker Patrick Bamford could make his England debut, and Southgate urged him to make the most of any opportunity he gets.

"It's a special moment for him and his family," said the England boss. "We want him to do what he does every week with his club. I think he's got a really clear picture of how we like to play.

"We just want him to go and enjoy his football. We know what he's capable of and we're looking forward to seeing him play."

England's big win in Hungary was even more remarkable because of the racist abuse directed at their players, according to Kick It Out head of development Troy Townsend.

A 4-0 World Cup qualifying success on Thursday was overshadowed by reports of monkey chanting in Budapest.

On Friday, Townsend hailed Three Lions manager Gareth Southgate and the "support system" around 18-year-old Jude Bellingham, one of the apparent victims. Bellingham said on Twitter the abuse was "part of the game and always will be until proper punishments are put in place by those with the power".

This sort of response has prompted widespread praise as England players have time and again taken a stand against discrimination. FIFA has opened disciplinary proceedings against Hungary, after receiving official reports of events at the Puskas Arena.

Townsend suggested racist chanting was "what we've come to expect" and the team would have thought likewise heading into Thursday's match, but he was again enthused by the players' reactions.

Raheem Sterling was surrounded by his team-mates as he celebrated the opening goal with a tribute to his late friend Steffie Gregg.

Objects were thrown at Sterling by a number of Hungary supporters, but England players including Declan Rice and Jack Grealish appeared to mock their actions by drinking from cups that landed at pitchside.

"In general, they dealt with it with class," Townsend told Stats Perform.

"Every goal, there's more meaning to it, isn't there? You see the ball go in the back of the net and you think, 'I'm disappointed with four'. I'm like, 'Oh, go and get five, go and get six'.

 

"But those players, I can't say this enough now about players who have been victimised and the support that they have of their team-mates.

"I would imagine that there will be certain elements of that squad last night that were expecting it.

"And when they targeted Raheem, who lost a close friend and that's what the inscription on his T-shirt was about, to his close friend... he's in a moment where he's paying homage to a friend, while having cups thrown at him and potentially hearing the monkey chants as well, this is what I mean about that mindset of our professionals.

"Now, they've got such a strong and positive mindset that they won't let those situations affect them.

"They know what they've got to do on the football pitch. They know what they want to achieve. And by the way, they know they're bloody good, and they're better than the opposition.

"So, actually, it makes them more determined, more steely to go and do it again, and go and do it again and go and do it again.

"And I would imagine that they would have walked off with a smile on their face while also going, 'Did you hear that? Did you hear that?'."

FIFA has opened disciplinary proceedings after England's players were allegedly subjected to racist abuse in Thursday's World Cup qualifying clash with Hungary.

England's 4-0 win at the Puskas Arena in Budapest was overshadowed by the alleged behaviour of certain sections of the home crowd.

Raheem Sterling and Jude Bellingham were reportedly subjected to abuse and missiles, including a flare, were launched towards the Three Lions' players during the match.

England condemned the abuse as "completely unacceptable", while United Kingdom prime minister Boris Johnson called on FIFA to take "strong action" against the perpetrators.

The world football governing body announced on Friday it will now look into the scenes.

"Following analysis of the match reports, FIFA has opened disciplinary proceedings concerning the incidents last night at the game Hungary-England," a statement read.

"Once again, FIFA would like to state that our position remains firm and resolute in rejecting any form of racism and violence as well as any other form of discrimination or abuse. 

"We have a very clear zero tolerance stance against such abhorrent behaviours in football."

The Hungarian Football Federation (MLSZ) was fined €100,000 in July and ordered to play three games behind closed doors, the third of those suspended, due to incidents of racism and homophobia from fans during the European Championship finals.

The MLSZ vowed earlier on Friday to "severely punish" fans who disrupted the England clash by launching missiles and entering the pitch, but the governing body steered clear of addressing the alleged racism incidents.

Following Thursday's latest incident, Bellingham has questioned whether enough is being done to eradicate racism from the sport.

Alongside a photo of himself smiling while warming up for the game in the Hungarian capital, Borussia Dortmund youngster Bellingham tweeted: "Thank you for all the messages of support from last night. 

"Part of the game and always will be until proper punishments are put in place by those with the power. We can't let hate win, keep smiling."

© 2022 SportsMaxTV All Rights Reserved.