When England were humiliated by Iceland at Euro 2016

5 September 2020 0 By Total Football News

By Tom RostanceBBC Sport

Dan Roan: "Possibly the greatest calamity in English football history"
Venue: Laugardalsvollur, Reykjavik Date: Saturday 5 September (17:00 BST)
Coverage: Full match commentary on BBC Radio 5 Live, live text commentary and report on BBC Sport website and app

"I'm sorry it will have to end this way but these things happen.

"There can be no doubt about the result. I believe we've made great steps, but we have to confront big decisions, not duck them.

"I would have loved to stay on for another two years. However, I am pragmatic and I know we are in the results business. It's been a fantastic journey.

"The country requires fresh leadership. Although leaving Europe was not the path I recommended, I am the first to praise our incredible strengths."

The last week of June 2016 was not what you would call a quiet one on the news front. A stormy week saw first the Prime Minister, David Cameron, step down after the UK voted to leave the European Union, and then Roy Hodgson, England manager, resign after a humiliating defeat by Iceland at Euro 2016.

Both men had pre-prepared resignation speeches, which we've knitted together there. It feels a lifetime ago doesn't it?

Much has changed as England prepare to face Iceland once again this weekend - but what did go so drastically wrong on that night in Nice, and what happened next?

'Playing a Championship side'

England were streaky in the group but an injury-time Daniel Sturridge winner against Wales helped book the last-16 tie with minnows Iceland.

Backed in France by nearly 10% of the nation's tiny population of 330,000 - the same as Coventry, as we were told on a daily basis during the tournament - Iceland, with their thunder-clapping supporters, were everyone's second team.

A draw with eventual winners Portugal and a stoppage-time winner against Austria put Iceland through, but they started as huge underdogs against England, even if it had been 10 years since the Three Lions had won a knockout match at a major tournament and only won two of their past 13 knockout games in 90 minutes.

"Let's be realistic, England are playing a Championship side tonight," Chris Waddle said over the radio as the sides emerged.

"I'll be very, very surprised if England don't win this game 2-0, 3-1," chimed in Danny Mills.

"Iceland have done very well but they have a limited pool of players to pick from. If England don't win this game then it will be a massive embarrassment."

Quite right Danny...

All the gear, no idea

Hodgson's England side had dominated possession in all of their games in France, without being clinical.

England Xi v Iceland
How Hodgson's England lined up in Nice

And so when the recalled Raheem Sterling was fouled for a fourth-minute penalty which captain Wayne Rooney dispatched for his 53rd and final goal for his country, the nation relaxed and began to dream of a quarter-final against hosts France.

Nobody had given Iceland that script though. Just two minutes later, a huge throw-in was launched, Kari Arnason nodded it on and Kyle Walker lost Ragnar Sigurdsson who tapped in the equaliser.

Joe Hart
"Aahhhh I should have saved that one shouldn't I?'

Kolbeinn Sigthorsson then hit a tame shot which England keeper Joe Hart failed to keep out and Iceland were on the verge of sporting nirvana.

The second half saw England muster just two shots on target, barely testing goalkeeper Hannes Thor Halldorsson, who would have had more testing days directing music videos in his other life.

"I'm just lost for words," said Waddle at the final whistle. "I know England have had bad results, but this is the worst result I've ever known."

As England fans in the stadium threw away shirts and flags of St George, Hodgson was already prepared for his farewell, announcing his pre-written resignation just 19 minutes after the full-time whistle.

England v Iceland
Jermaine Jenas said Roy Hodgson "didn't know" what he was doing, adding: "He didn't know his best team or system."

Icelandic TV commentator Gudmundur Benediktsson went viral with his reaction, tying in the shock with the aforementioned EU referendum result...

"Never wake me from this amazing dream!" he bellowed. "Live the way you want England! Iceland is going to play France. France-Iceland! You can go home. You can go out of Europe.

"You can go wherever the hell you want. The fairytale continues."

'They're all just headphones'

The BBC Sport pundits and former players did not miss out on a chance to weigh in on a truly abysmal night for England's footballers. Here's a taste:

Former England captain Alan Shearer: "That was the worst performance I've ever seen from an England team. Ever. It was tactically inept.

"We were out-fought, out-thought, out-battled and totally hopeless for 90 minutes.

"Our players caved tonight. We've all played under pressure, they caved and the manager caved. He gave Manchester United's teenage striker Marcus Rashford four minutes and he still did more than anyone else.

"We are blinded by the Premier League. We think it's the best in the world for talent. It's not. We are totally reliant on foreign players and managers for excitement. We are not as good as we think we are."

Former England winger Chris Waddle on BBC Radio 5 Live: "They've not turned up. They go 1-0 up, but then concede a Sunday morning goal.

"We haven't got leaders, they're all pampered, they're all just headphones and you can't get anything out of them.

"I would never pay to watch Iceland, but they've got great camaraderie. England will now say 'we're building a team for Qatar', then we'll be building a team for Timbuktu."


This news item was provided by the BBC Sport - Football website - the original link is: http://www.bbc.co.uk/sport/football/53990757