KEIR RADNEDGE REPORTS —- England suffered their most humiliating defeat since the 1950 World Cup exit against the United States when they collapsed out of Euro 2016 after a 2-1 defeat by the minnows of Iceland.
“You’re not fit to wear the shirt,” sang furious and disbelieving fans after goals from Ragnar Sigurdsson and Kolbeinn Sigthorsson cancelled out the perfect start of a fourth-minute penalty converted by England skipper Wayne Rooney.
At least back in Brazil all of 66 years ago there were no live televison pictures being beamed not only back home but all around the planet. This time England’s shame was witnessed in full colour all throughout the football world.
The defeat stands comparison with Brazil’s 7-1 hammering in front of their own fans by Germany in the 2014 World Cup. At least Brazil had the consolation of having reached the semi-finals.
England barely scraped out of their group here in France after selection blundering by manager Roy Hodgson for the crucial third game against Slovakia.
Within minutes Hodgson had announced his inevitable departure though most of his player failures will be back under a new manager for the World Cup qualifying competition next season. They are the best of a depressingly uninspired bunch.
The soul-seeking aftermath may even fuel a belief among some football fans within the 52pc who voted for the United Kingdom to leave the European Union that shutting the ‘freedom of movement of labour’ door to foreign players who dominate the Premier League may offer a helping hand to England’s own.
On the other hand, many millions of fans up and down the length and breadth of the country may turn their back on the national team altogether and focus their support ever more around the clubs.
It was not as if England were unlucky. They failed to string passes together in every sector of the pitch and were both outplayed and outfought. They created next to nothing in terms of chances.
Iceland worked Joe Hart harder than England tested Hannes Halldorsson.
Roy Hodgson’s resignation statement:
I’m extremely disappointed of course about tonight’s result and ultimately our exit from the competition. We haven’t progressed as far as I thought we were capable of, and that’s obviously not acceptable.
I’m actually proud of the work my coaching staff and I have achieved over our time at the helm of England. The transition from the squad whose average age was 30 to now being the youngest in the tournament is both remarkable and exciting for the future of English football. I would have loved to stay on for another two years.
However, I am pragmatic and I know we are in the results business. My contract was always up after the Euros, so now is the time for someone else to oversee the progress of this young, hungry and extremely talented group of players.
They have been fantastic and have done everything that has been asked of them. When I arrived I was told players didn’t turn up to play for their country or that they pulled out at the last minute. I have not seen any of that. These players love to play for their country and their commitment has been unquestioned.
Ray [Lewington] and Gary [Neville] arrived with me as part of my coaching team and will leave with me. I’d like to thank them for their dedicated support and for the major part they’ve played in our team preparation.
I’d like to thank all the support staff, players, the FA and of course the fans. It’s been a fantastic journey, these four years, and it’s one I’ll look back on or remember with pride.
Finally I’d like to thank the media for the support you’ve given me over the four years. I’m sorry it’s had to end this way with another exit from the tournament. These things happen.
All I can do is wish everybody all the very best and hope that you will still be able to see an Egland team in a final of a major tournamenet fairly soon. We’ve been unable to deliver. Thank you very much.
Football Association statement:
Like the nation, we are disappointed to lose this evening and that our run in Euro 2016 has come to a premature end.
We had high hopes of progressing through to the latter stages of the competition and accept that we have not met our own expectations or those of the country.
We back Roy Hodgson’s decision to step down as England manager and will discuss next steps imminently.