ENGLAND suffered one of the worst defeats in their history as they were bundled out of Euro 2016 by tournament debutants Iceland.
Wayne Rooney gave England the perfect start when he converted a fourth-minute penalty, but the lead lasted just 34 seconds as the first signs of what will go down as one of the greatest days in Iceland’s history was struck.
Ragnar Sigurdsson was left alone from a long throw to equalise almost immediately and then on 18 minutes Joe Hart let Kolbeinn Sigthorsson’s shot wriggle past his outstretched hand. From there England barely fired a shot as Iceland held on to leave manager Roy Hodgson with no option but to quit his post immediately after the match.
Wayne Rooney penalty (four minutes). England got the start they were after as Raheem Sterling was felled in the area – cue currency gags – and Rooney converted from the penalty spot. Iceland now had to come out. This was just what England wanted, right?
Ragnar Sigurdsson equalises from a long throw (five minutes). The lead didn’t last a minute as England’s defence ignored pre-match warnings about Iceland’s strength from long throws and allowed Sigurdsson a simple tap-in to make it 1-1.
Joe Hart lets Kolbeinn Sigthorsson’s shot wriggle past him (18 minutes). The unthinkable. Iceland take the lead when Hart makes his second gaff of the tournament, again low to his right, as Sigthorsson’s shot from the edge of the area trickles across the line.
Was it the right result?
No England fan could feel they got the rough end of the result. Before the game everyone was expecting a grind to wear down 11 men behind the ball. When Rooney converted the early spot-kick it appeared the pathway was cleared. That all changed 34 seconds later and when Iceland went ahead, England simply froze.
Who played well?
Iceland’s players will draw all the plaudits for a performance that will go down in folklore in the history of the small island nation. They had never been to a major tournament before so making the knockout phase was a dream. To then beat England, a country that boasts the richest club competition in the world, is out of this world for a nation without a professional team.
Who played badly?
He won’t need telling, but Hart had a game to forget. After failing to keep out Gareth Bale’s free-kick during the group stage he was again beaten low to his right. Sigthorsson’s strike was more straightforward than Bale’s effort and while Hart got something on it the shot had enough to trickle over the line. The goalkeeper won’t be the only one feeling pretty low about his performance though.
England had plenty of warning about Iceland’s ability from long throws so to allow them to equalise was hard to stomach. The fact that the ball was allowed to run all the way to the back post for a tap-in understandably left manager Roy Hodgson with head bowed on the touchline. England still had 70 minutes to turn the game around, but couldn’t muster any sort of momentum to suggest an equaliser was on the way.
2 – #ENG have progressed in just 2 of their last 10 knockout ties at major finals tournaments (Denmark – WC 2002, Ecuador – WC 2006). Frozen
— OptaJoe (@OptaJoe) June 27, 2016
Picture of the day
As low as England might feel right now the Iceland players are on the highest of highs. Where’s that hysterical commentator?
The fall-out has already begun with Hodgson resigning moments after the final whistle in the press conference. His assistants Ray Lewington and Gary Neville also left their posts and you can bet the post-mortem into the state of English football, right down to grassroots level, will be raked over. England have been here before, but never after a failing quite like this. For Iceland their glorious run takes them to a meeting with hosts France.//