England exit Euro 2016 as impressive Iceland battle back to record shock success
Lee Gormley | June 27, 2016
England 1-2 Iceland
- Wayne Rooney scores penalty on four minutes after Raheem Sterling was fouled
- Ragnar Sigurdsson nets leveller two minutes later from a long throw in
- Kolbeinn Sigthorsson puts Iceland ahead on 18 minutes after Joe Hart error
- England crash out of Euro 2016 at last 16 stage
England crash out to Iceland
Iceland produced a major shock at the Allianz Riviera as they sent England crashing out of Euro 2016 at the last 16 stage with a 2-1 victory, thanks to first-half goals from Ragnar Sigurdsson and Kolbeinn Sigthorsson.
Captain Wayne Rooney had successfully converted an early penalty after just four minutes, but the Three Lions’ lead was swiftly undone as Sigurdsson netted an immediate equaliser from a flicked-on trademark Aron Gunnarsson long throw.
Iceland then added further misery when Sigthorsson struck to gift them a shock advantage, with Manchester City number one Joe Hart majorly slipping up as he let the tame effort from range trickle underneath his arm. The Three Lions were unable to fight back in the dying moments as they endured a stunning defeat, with the Nordic nation now set to face France in the quarter-finals.
Rooney and Sigurdsson strike early
Both nations began the last 16 clash knowing that the tournament hosts awaited the winner next, and it was England that started brightest at the Allianz Riviera, with Liverpool’s Daniel Sturridge cutting from his right flank before letting a tamed shot go wide.
Just like the Republic of Ireland in their defeat to France, England were awarded a very early penalty, as Manchester City wideman Raheem Sterling dashed into the box and hit the ball beyond Hannes Thor Halldorsson, who blatantly brought him down.
Three Lions skipper Rooney stepped up to take the spot-kick and fired it low into the bottom left corner to hand Hodgson’s men the lead after just four minutes. Although their lead lasted less than two minutes, with England conceding an instant equaliser from another Gunnarsson long throw.
Only 34 seconds after the restart following England’s opener, defender Sigurdsson connected with a flick on from fellow centre back Kari Arnasson to level the encounter, with Tottenham full back Kyle Walker the man who was caught out with slack marking.
Spurs midfielder Dele Alli developed a great talent for scoring from distance during the course of the past season and he almost did it again on the international stage, firing a thumping effort towards goal with quarter of an hour played, but it fizzed narrowly too high.
Sigthorsson strike creeps past Hart
The game’s blistering start continued into the 19th minute, as Iceland attacker Sigthorsson piled the pressure on England with a low-driven effort which Hart failed to deal with properly, as the ball then trickled past him into the bottom right corner.
Iceland’s second came on the back of a great team move, with another lofted throw from Gunnarsson getting proceedings rolling before Swansea City playmaker Gylfi Sigurdsson took a touch and rolled it off nicely for the goalscorer, who feinted then fired home.
Kane was reinstated in the starting line-up by Hodgson for this match and he was showing glimpses of his club form in the first-half, launching a volley on goal to sting the hands of Halldorsson following a Sturridge delivery from the right wing.
The Tottenham forward later whipped in a dangerous free-kick from deep and picked out Manchester United’s Chris Smalling, but the centre back could only direct his header wide right with plenty of close pressure on him from the Icelandic backline.
England’s all-time leading marksman Rooney was urging his teammates to move the ball around a lot more swiftly on the Allianz Riviera turf, but they were unable to force an opening as the half-time whistle was met by a chorus of moans and groans from the Three Lions faithful in Nice.
Hart denies spectacular Sigurdsson effort
Hodgson thrust Arsenal anchorman Jack Wilshere into proceedings after the break in place of Eric Dier, with the hope being the Gunners star could inject some life, fluidity and creative spark into England’s so far lacklustre midfield.
A darting run down the left flank from Danny Rose led to a promising England free-kick, though Kane’s delivery was easily dealt with and his eventual header from a lofted punt forward was comfortably saved too by Halldorsson.
England’s problems were almost worsened before the hour mark, as the opening goalscorer Sigurdsson pulled off an acrobatic overhead kick on target, but quick reflexes from Hart meant the advantage was kept at just one goal.
Leicester City frontman Jamie Vardy struck just 11 minutes into his appearance off the bench against Wales previously, and Hodgson was hoping for more of the same this time out as he sent the Premier League winner on for Sterling.
Iceland backline holding strong
Vardy found himself through towards goal after 69 minutes and subsequently won a corner, with his pace helping him get in behind the Iceland defence, but Rooney’s set-piece and eventual cross after the clearance were both poor.
Right back Birkir Mar Saevarsson stormed forward moments later and unleashed a thunderous left-footed effort on goal as England were backtracking, though his effort sailed over the crossbar, but it was a reminder that Iceland were still a threat on the counter.
The Iceland rearguard were holding strong and showing exactly why Cristiano Ronaldo has been frustrated in their group clash with Portugal. Arnarson in particular was solid, which didn’t bode well for Kane, as the defender that played for Rotherham in League Two a few years ago was keeping out the Premier League Golden Boot winner.
With England pushing hard for a late equaliser, the Three Lions were almost caught out at the back as Iceland skipper Gunnarsson wriggled free of Smalling and got a shot away which Hart strongly saved. Meanwhile, Hodgson sent Red Devils starlet Marcus Rashford on for Rooney in search of a very late leveller.
Although he wasn’t able to save England as they haplessly crashed out at the hands of a defiant Iceland outfit. They will now face hosts France in the quarter-final, who are 14/5 favourites with Coral to go all the way on home soil.