ENGLAND SUNK BY ICELAND MINNOWS
ENGLAND’S Euro 2016 dreams ended in heartbreak and humiliation last night after a devastating defeat at the hands of footballing minnows Iceland.
The hopes of the nation were agonisingly swept away on a night of disappointment in Nice.
The 2-1 loss to a country with no professional teams means Roy Hodgson’s four-year reign as manager is surely at an end.
The 68-year-old faced a wave of criticism during the group stage after his bizarre team selections.
After England beat Wales, Hodgson made six changes, including dropping inspirational captain Wayne Rooney for the final match against Slovakia.
England failed to win and finished the group in second place putting them in the half of the draw featuring Spain, Italy, Germany and France. Before the championships began few would have given Iceland any chance of reaching the knockout stages of the tournament.
The tiny country has a population of just 333,000 – around the same as the city of Leicester.
Iceland coach Heimir Hallgrimsson, 49, took time off work for this tournament as he juggles his role with the national team with a job as a part-time dentist.
And just four years ago goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson, 32, was a filmmaker who shot the video that accompanied Iceland’s entry to the 2012 Eurovision song contest. Yesterday both sets of fans were in good voice as they packed into the streets of the sun-kissed Cote d’Azur resort to enjoy a carnival atmosphere ahead of the game.
Some 30,000 England supporters then packed into the Allianz Riviera stadium to watch the drama unfold.
The match kicked off despite a bomb scare. Experts were called in to defuse a “makeshift device” found in an abandoned bag at a shopping centre around two miles from the stadium.
England and Iceland supporters were among 2,000 people evacuated by armed police from the Carrefour Lingostiere centre following the discovery of two gas cylinders and “a detonator”.
Bomb disposal experts later said the bag contained “tools used for routine maintenance”.