England vs Iceland Review
Where do we start? The dream is over yet again. After years of watching England, I feel as though we should be better prepared for disappointment in tournament football, but that doesn't make it feel any less depressing.
We lost to Iceland. Iceland. A nation with the same population as Leicester. That isn't to take anything from them though, they thoroughly deserved it. As Alan Shearer put it last night:'They out-fought and out-thought England.'
Roy Hodgson announced his resignation shortly after the final whistle and refused to take any more questions on the match, so I've tried to dissect some of the reasons it went so painfully wrong for the Three Lions.
The fears over England's defence pre-tournament had almost been forgotten about after they weren't tested during the group stages. However, England's backline was badly exposed in defeat last night.
Supposedly England knew what to expect and how to deal with Iceland's long throw weapon. Yet, moments after taking the lead, England conceded from an Aron Gunnarsson throw, with Ragnar Sigurdsson scoring. England's defending was shambolic and non-existent.
As was the case just 12 minutes later; Iceland were allowed time and space on the edge of England's box and Kolbeinn Sigthorsson scored. The Icelandic striker eased past Gary Cahill far too easily and saw his tame effort beat Joe Hart. It was Hart's second major blunder of the tournament and his place will be under threat next time England meet up.
Square Pegs'Round Holes
Coming into the tournament it became apparent that Roy Hodgson didn't know his best system or best XI. In all three friendly matches prior to Euro 2016, different tactics and personnel were used with varying success.
Daniel Sturridge is clearly a central striker, yet he was deployed on the right wing, and as the game wore on, it was clear the England management team had ran out of ideas. It says it all that Marcus Rashford was probably England's man of the match despite only being introduced for the final five minutes!
Pre-match, Hodgson spoke about the need to get at Iceland in wide areas, which highlighted the lack of wingers in the squad. The only natural wide player, Raheem Sterling, was completely shot of confidence, with the likes of Andros Townsend, Jesse Lingard and Michail Antonio all left at home despite having strong second halves of the season. The mind boggles!
No Repeat of Club Form
A lot of the England squad enjoyed outstanding Premier League seasons, in particular the five man Spurs contingent of Kyle Walker, Danny Rose, Eric Dier, Dele Alli and Harry Kane.
All five started last night and all five looked a shadow of the player who performed so well last season. The two full-backs and Dier can come out of the tournament with some credit after some good performances. Alli is still a young man, and showed glimpses of his talent, but Harry Kane was the real concern.
After being substituted at half-time against Wales, the forward was left out against Slovakia and was a surprise inclusion last night. Unfortunately for Kane, he did nothing to silence his doubters as he put in an abject performance. His touch was off; he was on set pieces again. Why!?
England will now look towards the successor to Roy Hodgson and already the list of candidates looks threadbare. Who will the FA turn to this time?
Image credits: Sky Sports, Liverpool FC Photos, UEFA Euro 2016