The wheat has once again been separated from the chaff and for the umpteenth time the Three Lions find themselves on the lighter part, being blown by the wind, away from France. It seems the 50 year of hurt will continue. this is the worst defeat England has ever faced. To put it into perspective, Iceland has a population of about 330,000. 8% of their population was in Iceland. Their manager is a part time dentist. This is their first Euro as participants. Yet they gunned down a bunch of overpaid nonces as stated by British media.
However their victory was well deserved. they gave us a perfect rendition of a team sport. No stars in the team but everybody does their job and also stands up for the other; comradeship. There has been a real motivation within the team. They just cannot be shaken.
In the press conference before the game Hodgson stressed about how his assistant coaches had watched Iceland play Austria and how his video analyst had gone over numerous clips on their style of play. (he opted to go sailing instead of watching the Austria game mind you) therefore he knew their strength emanated not only from their set piece ability but from Gunnarsson’s long throw. So it came as a real shocker to see them concede in similar fashion…. The long throw, a flick on from the edge of the area with Rooney beaten all ends up and Ragnar(Lawthbrok?) guiding the ball past a hapless Hart. Walker failed to track his man and Hart failed to rush out in good time: basic closing down actually. According to the script we had, Iceland were at this point supposed to sit back and invite pressure. Surprise surprise when they threw the script out of the window and threw their players right up there… With Gylfi in particular playing God in the middle of the pack dictating play almost at will. The ‘mighty’ England panicked and sat deep allowing that beautiful ball to be sprayed down that right hand side. A quick passage of play outside the area before the ball was lashed past the ignominy we have who by the way apparently doubles up as the first choice England keeper.. Apparently. However Joe Hart is not the only one going to take credit for the goal despite playing a heavy hand in it(sic). The two centre halves stood rooted, as if amazed at Iceland’s passing ability in front of them. They were so undecided about who should go down for the tackle. The end result? A lot of space on the edge of the area for a quit set up and shot.
England has been facing opponents who have been simply put parking the bus and Iceland were not going to be any different. There was simply no space meaning England’s attackers were not going to go anywhere.
The Iceland commentator lost his head once again instructing England to leave Europe and go wherever they like. The Iceland Prime Minister declared today a public holiday. The joke going round is how England have left Europe twice in one week. Well Roy has also left England. He’s overstayed his welcome in my opinion. Hodgson’s four years will best be remembered for the huge overhype yet underwhelming performance that has been categorized with his tenure building up to major tournaments. Perhaps the only credit that can be attributed to him is turning the squad average from 30 to about 25. That’s just about it. Well that’s how far my keyboard allows me to go. In the three major tournaments he has only won three out of eleven games. Utter disgrace. To make it worse he resigned about 15 minutes after the final whistle. Is it possible he had already drafted his resignation letter prior to the match?? That would be a really cowardice act and resigning was a desperate attempt at avoiding blame.
In Hodgson, what England had was a very conservative coach. Too often scared to make a move that will elicit reaction. Harry Kane was a phenomenon last season don’t get me wrong but Roy’s decision to stick by him when Vardy and Sturridge were often offered peripheral roles yet they had already scored in France came as a real shocker to me. If a change works everyone praises you, take the risk!! Kane never showed up for this tournament. He will be remembered for his smart volley against Iceland and also for how many balls he lost blasting them into the stands. (I’d rather not regurgitate the set piece issue)
His decision to also take out Eric Dier and replace him with Wilshere was the most panicky sub I have ever seen. You take out England’s player of the tournament *future captain* and replace him with an alleged attacking player. Who barely featured for his club. England’s midfield was in shambles especially the last quarter of the game. There was no shape. The centrebacks were continously exposed because Wilshere simply can’t hold! He simply left too much space for balls to be threaded through for attackers.
What next for England then? Well the lack of a manager will hang above the FA like a cloud so the sooner it’s sorted, the better for everyone. My position from nine months ago has not changed. My money is still on Gareth Southgate. But we all know he won’t get it. Apparently he’s not ‘qualified enough’. I would really love someone to explain that fact to me. He’s not qualified enough to lose? That’s the part I don’t get. Sterling’s position in the team also needs to be identified. Roy didn’t seem to have a clue on his best position. Left? Right? Bench? Home?
The next manager better bring in the attacking injection that England is missing. So much potency at the front that Roy didn’t know how to work with. It’s time to move on from the possession without intent style of play.
The next manager also has to make up his mind as regards his first choice goalkeeper. Experience aside. Well if you keep making schoolboy errors there’s not much show of experience huh? Time and time again Hart’s has singlehandedly thwarted England’s hopes(pun). In the last three tournaments he has been at fault for at least one of the goals England have conceded with the latest proving no different. Against Wales and Against Iceland, Hart truly showed up. For how long will his carelessness cost a whole nation? Perhaps things would have been different had Jack Butland not got injured.
Another important point is on how to manage the youth. Rashford an 85th minute sub and England’s latest rave completed more dribbles than his entire team. Unreal! Care should be taken to strike the balance between youth and experience. But for now, I couldn’t differ with the “you’re not fit to wear the shirt.” chants that were going around the stadium at full time.
Sidebar : That Will Grigg tune is lit yo!!!