England is floored by loss to Iceland
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.
Kolbeinn Sigthorsson celebrates after scoring. England “thought that this would be a walk in the park,” he said.