CoaCh’s fu­ture

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A col­lec­tion of tal­ented in­di­vid­u­als who coach Marc Wil­mots was un­able to mould into an ef­fec­tive team. Crit­i­cal com­ments by keeper Thibaut Cour­tois, who placed the blame at the coach’s door, were dis­missed by Wil­mots as “con­struc­tive crit­i­cism”, but it clearly was not a happy camp. Out­ma­noeu­vred by Italy in their open­ing game, they found their feet against the Repub­lic of Ire­land, Swe­den and Hun­gary as Eden Haz­ard re­dis­cov­ered the form that went miss­ing last term at Chelsea. But An­to­nio Conte demon­strated why Chelsea were so keen to hire him as he man­aged to ex­tract the best from a squad of lim­ited tal­ents and the Ital­ians played a full part in two of the best games of the tour­na­ment, against Spain and Ger­many. Conte set his side up bril­liantly against Belgium, who were on paper the more tal­ented team but fell into the Az­zurri’s trap. Swe­den proved harder to break down, but Eder’s late goal al­layed fears that Italy would lack a cut­ting edge. A com­pletely changed team were beaten by The tour­na­ment’s fairy tale was ended in Paris by the hosts – but not be­fore the Ice­landers had charmed the con­ti­nent and an­gered Cris­tiano Ron­aldo along the way. By beat­ing Eng­land, they pulled off one of the big­gest (but de­served) up­sets in the his­tory of the tour­na­ment. They were un­apolo­getic about their tactics; they played to their strengths, with a well ex­e­cuted game­plan, and the play­ers showed plenty of tech­ni­cal ex­per­tise. They froze in the first-half of the semi, al­low­ing France to race into a 4-0 lead, but showed com­mend­able char­ac­ter to score twice af­ter the break and give their army of fans fur­ther rea­sons to cel­e­brate.

Hannes Hall­dors­son, Rag­nar Sig­urds­son, Birkir Bjar­na­son.

None.

smile…ice­land en­joyed their trip to france

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