On the same day the Hungarian football team recorded a historic and resounding victory over England, the team’s fans also sent a clear message as to who they are willing to take the knee for.
Some of the several hundred Hungarian supporters who traveled to Wolverhampton for the Nations League match carried a banner referring to the Virgin Mary, which read “Hungary Loves Mary,” along with the acronym “HLM” — a clear reference to the ubiquitous Black Lives Matter (BLM) campaign.
“Hungarians kneel in three cases: before God, before the homeland, and before the woman they love,” the Hungarian team’s Facebook fan page Ultrasliberi wrote in a short post accompanying a photo showing the banner. The line is a direct quote from Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orbán last June, after the national team was criticized for not taking the knee before its matches.
During the previous match in Budapest, Hungary was blamed for its fans, almost entirely children, booing the English players when they took the knee before the match began. England’s supporters responded in kind with hostility and vociferous chanting as the Hungarian national anthem was played before kick-off.
Hungary went on to win the match 4-0, inflicting on England their worst home defeat since 1928. A first-half goal by Roland Sallai gave the Hungarians a 1-0 lead at half-time. Sallai scored another goal in the second half before goals from Zsolt Nagy and Dániel Gazdag completed the rout.
The win is arguably the second most important victory of the Hungarian national team over England — 69 years ago Hungary’s “golden generation” beat a previously undefeated (at home) England 6-3 in a match later dubbed “the match of the century.”
Hungary now leads its Nations League Group A3 with seven points after three matches, followed by Germany (6 points), Italy (5) and England (2).