England humiliated in Euro 2016 exit

Dele Alli

England have suffered their most embarrassing defeat in history as they were eliminated from Euro 2016 by debutants Iceland last night.

The Nordic country came from behind to win 2-1 in Nice with all the goals coming in the opening 18 minutes.

Wayne Rooney had given England the lead after only four minutes from the penalty spot after goalkeeper Hannes Þór Halldórsson had brought down Raheem Sterling.

The Three Lions were ahead for less than two minutes as man of the match candidate Ragnar Sigurðsson was left unmarked at the back pot to tap in from a flick on off a long throw.

Iceland then caused a surprise when Kolbeinn Sigþórsson’s effort from the edge of the penalty sneaked past England goalkeeper Joe Hart.

England had more than 70 minutes to get back into the game and tournament but barely tested the opposition goalkeeper who had his quietest day of the tournament so far.  England’s lack of productivity in and around the penalty area has been the story of their tournament.  Three of the four goals scored by the team during their short tournament were scored from set pieces.

A Harry Kane volley down the middle was about the only save Halldórsson had to make as Daniel Sturridge, Wayne Rooney and co failed to prosper in the final third once again.

Jack Wilshere was a surprise half-time substitute whilst Jamie Vardy was eventually thrown on for Raheem Sterling on the hour.  The Manchester City forward had done nothing since winning the early penalty whilst the Leicester City striker at least shown some heart.

To many people’s amusements Marcus Rashford was introduced in the final five minutes and still managed more threatening runs than any England player had all game.  Question marks certainly have to be raised over manager Roy Hodgson’s decision for making the substitution so late in the game.

Those questions will not be answered as Hodgson announced his resignation in his post-match interview.  Many feel four years too late.

Credit to Iceland who were excellent in defence and whom could have added to their score but for two decent saves from the England goalkeeper in the second half.  Lars Lagerbäck was clearly the more knowledgeable when it came to tactics between the two managers.

Iceland march onto the Stade de France to face the hosts on Sunday 3 July.

Where do England go from here?

Gareth Southgate has been installed as the bookmakers’ favourite to be the next England manager.  His CV reads one relegation from one job at club level, and despite working with the England under-21s many feel he is certainly not ready to take the senior job, if indeed he ever will be.

These are new lows for England – even as a nation that did not qualify for the tournament eight years ago in Austria and Switzerland.  Losing to a country the size of Leicester is humiliating and embarrassing for a country with such rich traditions, the most watched league in the world and with the money they invest in the game.

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