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ENGLAND bosses have been given a huge headache after being drawn against Hungary in the Nations League.

Gareth Southgate must take his team back to Budapest, where players were subjected to racist abuse during a World Cup qualifier in September.

2England chiefs will have another home fixture with Hungary to deal with after trouble last time the teams met at WembleyCredit: Rex 2And the Three Lions will have to travel to Budapest where Raheem Sterling was racially abused

The Three Lions were yesterday handed a tough set of fixtures in their League A group, with Italy and Germany also featuring.

Matches will be played in June and September of next year, with the finals, which England reached two years ago, in 2023.

Hungary were hit with a fine of nearly £160,000 and a two-match ban, one of which was suspended, after the problems in September.

Fifa’s disciplinary committee acted after Jude Bellingham and Raheem Sterling were targeted with monkey chants, while objects were thrown at players during the Three Lions’ 4-0 win.

Hungary were subsequently forced to play their World Cup qualifier at home to Albania behind closed doors.

Equally, the FA faces security issues for the return home game.

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Hungary fans, aided by Polish supporters, caused problems in the away end at the start of the World Cup qualifier at Wembley in October, which finished 1-1.

The Metropolitan Police said there was 'minor disorder' from fans after officers entered the stand to make an arrest for a racially-aggravated public order offence.

The dates of the fixtures will be announced Friday.

The hope is that the home game against Hungary will be England's first scheduled one in June, as that will be played behind closed doors as punishment for disorder caused by supporters at the Euro 2020 final against Italy.

England boss Gareth Southgate said: “They are great fixtures to look forward to.

“The Nations League and its format is geared towards these types of games.

“Whoever we drew out of the first two pots were going to be high-level opposition and that is what we wanted leading into a World Cup year.

“We have had a tough fixture schedule through the last 12 months but the high quality of games is what helps the team to improve and they are the matches we have learned the most from.”

Potentially, the game in Budapest could also be played behind closed doors.

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Hungary were handed another three-match stadium ban, with one suspended, after racist chanting from fans during Euro 2020.

Asked about the clash, Southgate said: “We don’t know when that fixture will be played and if it’s one that might be behind closed doors, but we’ve got to understand that it could be a difficult fixture.

“They came to Wembley and played extremely well, made life difficult for us, so it is another challenge but one we’ve got to respond to in the right way.”


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Tags: nations league we’ve got world cup qualifier the nations league the nations league gareth southgate raheem sterling the three lions the three lions against hungary will be played in september problems to budapest a world cup

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Mets: Predicting playoff rotation with Jacob deGrom back in the fold

The New York Mets have been one of the best teams in MLB all season, and they’re likely to improve even more with Jacob deGrom back.

The New York Mets have been one of the best teams in the league all season. Their starting rotation has been above league average, and it’s likely only going to get better with Jacob deGrom officially back.

The veteran pitcher will most likely be used in the starting rotation during the playoffs. He made a late start to this season with his debut on Aug. 2, but he’s wasting no time and producing valuable results. Over 16.2 total innings pitched, he’s only given up three runs, one walk and has struck out 28.

His last full regular season was in 2019, and he produced an ERA of 2.43, batting average against of .207, and WHIP of 0.97. He’s easily one of the best options for the rotation.

There are some obvious candidates but, with the Mets heading toward the postseason, who will deGrom be joined by in the playoff rotation? Let’s take a look.

Predicting Mets playoff rotation with Jacob deGrom back

Frankly, the decision might be made easier — unfortunately so — given the recent early exits of Carlos Carrasco and Taijuan Walker, both of whom have pitched well this season.

Max Scherzer is clearly the 1A of the rotation to a healthy deGrom as 1B. Scherzer has been on a roll this season that lines up consistently with previous seasons. So far, he’s produced an ERA of 1.93, BAA of .209 and WHIP of 0.93.

Beyond that, Chris Bassitt would be the next obvious choice as the No. 3 man in the rotation. Coming over to the Big Apple this offseason via trade. He’s not been on the level of deGrom or Scherzer, but few are. He has been enjoying a great season with an ERA of 3.27, BAA of .229 and WHIP of 1.13. He’s a reliable third option who could be valuable in the postseason.

If the Mets were to deploy a four-man rotation for the playoffs, it would likely be Walker getting the nod, assuming he’s healthy. In his second season with the club, he’s enjoyed one of the best seasons of his career with a 3.36 ERAand 1.202 WHIP. As long as he is able to take the mound, he’s a fantastic fourth option as Carrasco could make a spot start or relief outing if needed.

Among the league, the Mets have the fifth-best ERA (3.52), eighth-best opponent batting average (.234) and fifth-best WHIP (1.19). Their numbers will likely get better with deGrom in the rotation, so they may have an advantage going into the playoffs.

Next: Braves: 3 roster moves keeping Atlanta from World Series contention

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