Iceland played to their strengths and overcame a dull and toothless English side as they won the game 2-1 to advance to the next round. What now for England?
England started the game with plenty of promising attacks as they allowed their opponents little or no touches on the ball and it didn’t take them long to get a glorious opportunity as Raheem Sterling was brought down inside the box under the challenge of the Iceland keeper, Hannes Thor Halldorsson in the 4th minute. Penalty to England.
Wayne Rooney stepped up to the occasion as he confidently dispatched the resulting spot kick hard into the bottom corner as the keeper couldn’t get a hand to it. It was undoubtedly a well-taken penalty and England were ahead. Or so they thought.
Just when they thought that it was going to be child’s play against Iceland, their opponents hit back instantly with a reply in the 6th minute as Kyle Walker failed to mark Ragnar Sigurdsson and the latter shot from the edge of the 6-yard box past Joe Hart following a long throw by Aron Gunnarsson. 1-1. Game on. England needed a goal, again.
With some efforts flying here and there for England as they tried to search for the leading goal, they were in for a shocker. Iceland took the lead as Joe Hart was unable to save Kolbein Sigthorsson’s shot in the 20th minute. Gunnarsson’s long throw was initially cleared but it fell to Sigthorsson on the edge of the areas and after a little left and right movement, he fired a low shot which Hart got a hand to but couldn’t save properly as the ball clawed itself past the goal-line. 2-1 to Iceland. They had come back from behind in 15 minutes to haunt England.
England tried to push forward and make it 2-2 as Harry Kane upped the ante by ripping a volley which was saved by the keeper and then Sturridge tried to play him on with a swift dink from the edge of the box but the Iceland defense stood resolute and cleared it.
England could’ve had a penalty in the 38th minute and had a few long shots going wide and into the distance but other than that, they proved to be no real threat as the match went into half time.
England again started the second half with long shots which were almost unnecessary and showed no signs of conversion.
Iceland threatened England again and ALMOST had a 3rd goal as Ragnar Sigurdsson tried to smash an over head kick into the net but Joe Hart was quick to make the save.
England played some of the most bizarre football which we’ve seen so far in this tournament with utterly meaningless passes and long shots as one of the rare moments of a hope came via Jamie Vardy whose first touch let him down after he was put through on goal by Dele Alli.
Wayne Rooney, the England captain who had almost no impact in the game in the second half cut up a frustrated figure on the pitch as he kept shouting at his teammates to play the ball forward faster whereas Harry Kane sent two free kicks sailing harmlessly over the bar. Iceland weren’t allowing their opponents much space to conjure up any sort of magic from their midfield as they were pegged back after a disastrous 75 minutes or so.
4 minutes of added time proved of no worth to England as they had themselves to blame after a resilient Iceland side held their cool and played smart football to maintain their lead and push on till the final whistle.
Post-match, reports showed that Roy Hodgson’s tenure as the manager of the English side had come to an end and England had “exited” Europe for the second time in two weeks.
Congratulations to Iceland for being the underdogs and yet overcoming the so-called big teams to advance to the quarter finals.
As for England, let the trolling begin.
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Views presented in the article are those of the author and not of ED.