Apologetic England manager Roy Hodgson has fallen on his sword after the Three Lions suffered a humiliating exit from Euro 2016 following a wretched showing against minnows Iceland in Nice.
Hodgson wasted little time in ending his four-year reign and confirming his departure, as well as that of assistants Ray Lewington and Gary Neville, although his side’s embarrassing performance left him with little option. England Under-21 boss Gareth Southgate is the early favourite to succeed him.
The Three Lions were simply pitiful against a side ranked No34 in the world and had little reply once Iceland had overturned skipper Wayne Rooney’s early penalty courtesy of strikes from Ragnar Sigurdsson and Kolbeinn Sigthorsson – the latter a consequence of another blunder from goalkeeper Joe Hart.
There was no mystery to Iceland’s tactics yet England, who boast the world’s wealthiest domestic league, were out-fought and out-witted by a nation which has a population of just 300,000 and no professional football clubs.
“I’m sorry it’s had to end this way with another exit from a tournament, but these things happen,” said Hodgson. “I hope that you will still be able to see an England team in the final of a major tournament very soon. We’ve been unable to deliver it.
“Now is the time for someone else to oversee the progress of this young, hungry and extremely talented group of players. They have been fantastic and done everything asked of them.
“It’s been a fantastic journey in these four years and one I will look back on and remember with pride.”
There was little hint of the avalanche of despair that was to engulf England when Rooney confidently lashed home a fourth-minute penalty after recalled winger Raheem Sterling was felled by Iceland goalkeeper Hannes Thor Halldorsson.
But England’s buoyancy lasted only a matter of moments as Aron Gunnarsson’s hurled long throw was flicked on by former Rotherham centre-half Kari Arnason and volleyed past Hart by Sigurdsson, who was allowed to advance by a dallying Kyle Walker.
The extraordinary start to the game continued as Iceland took a shock 18th minute lead as a neat exchange preceded frontman Sigthorsson’s shot squirming through the limp grasp of Hart and trickling over the goal-line.
A chorus of boos greeted the Three Lions at the half-time whistle but it was Iceland who posed the greater threatened after the restart as goalscorer Sigurdsson’s overhead kick was instinctively repelled by Hart.
Gunnarsson drew another save from Hart as England wilted and limped out of the tournament with barely a whimper. A tame header from Harry Kane, easily plucked by Halldorsson, was all they could muster.