Eng­land is floored by loss to Ice­land

San Francisco Chronicle - - SPORT­ING GREEN -

Eng­land goal­keeper Joe Hart (left) and two team­mates are dev­as­tated by their 2-1 loss to Ice­land in the round of 16 at the Euro 2016 soc­cer tour­na­ment. The loss is be­ing called Eng­land’s most hu­mil­i­at­ing since fall­ing 1-0 to the U.S. in the 1950 World Cup.

Ice­land pulled off one of the big­gest shocks in Euro­pean Cham­pi­onship his­tory by beat­ing Eng­land 2-1 in the round of 16 on Mon­day, ex­tend­ing the as­ton­ish­ing run of the small­est na­tion at the tour­na­ment.

Eng­land slumped to its most em­bar­rass­ing loss in a gen­er­a­tion af­ter tak­ing the lead in the fourth minute through Wayne Rooney’s penalty in Nice, France.

Rag­nar Sig­urds­son and Kol­beinn Sigth­ors­son took ad­van­tage of de­fen­sive short­com­ings by Eng­land to put Ice­land ahead by the 18th minute, and the Ice­landers de­fended su­perbly in the sec­ond half to earn the big­gest vic­tory in their his­tory and a quar­ter­fi­nal match against France in Saint-De­nis.

“They thought that this would be a walk in the park,” Sig­urds­son said. “We had faith in our abil­ity.”

Ice­land, a coun­try of 330,000 peo­ple, is fea­tur­ing in its first-ever ma­jor tour­na­ment.

It proved to the last match of the fouryear reign of Eng­land coach Roy Hodg­son, whose con­tract was up af­ter the tour­na­ment, any­way.

“Now is the time for some­one else to over­see the progress of this young, hun­gry and ex­tremely tal­ented group of play­ers,” Hodg­son said. “They have been fan­tas­tic.”

The Eng­land fans who booed the team off the pitch at half­time and af­ter­ward prob­a­bly have a dif­fer­ent opin­ion. The play­ers head home again for another post-tour­na­ment in­quest. Their play­ers slumped to the ground, their heads in their hands, in front of their jeer­ing fans af­ter the fi­nal whis­tle.

For a soc­cer na­tion of Eng­land’s stand­ing, its record in ma­jor tour­na­ments is woe­ful. The English have not won a knock­out-stage game abroad in the Euro­pean Cham­pi­onship in eight at­tempts and haven’t won a match beyond the group stage of a ma­jor tour­na­ment since 2006.

This de­feat prob­a­bly will go down as Eng­land’s big­gest hu­mil­i­a­tion since los­ing 1-0 to the United States in 1950 World Cup.

Italy 2, Spain 0: Spain’s era of dom­i­nance at the Euro­pean Cham­pi­onship came to an end when Italy beat the twotime de­fend­ing cham­pion in the round of 16 in Saint-De­nis, France.

Italy de­served its vic­tory and was im­pres­sive from the start at Stade de France, sti­fling Spain’s at­tack­ing and cre­at­ing sev­eral scor­ing op­por­tu­ni­ties with its slick in­ter­play. The vic­tory meant Italy se­cured a quar­ter­fi­nal matchup against another old foe, Ger­many.

Briefly: Ju­ven­tus signed Brazil wing back Dani Alves from Barcelona on a two-year con­tract. Alves won 23 ti­tles with Barcelona . ... Paris Saint-Ger­main fired coach Lau­rent Blanc, only months af­ter he signed a two-year con­tract . ... Ro­ma­nia coach Anghel Ior­danescu quit, end­ing his third term.

Ariel Schalit / As­so­ci­ated Press

Claude Paris / As­so­ci­ated Press

Kol­beinn Sigth­ors­son cel­e­brates af­ter scor­ing. Eng­land “thought that this would be a walk in the park,” he said.

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