England booed off after failing against Iceland once more in Euros warm-up

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It was a agelong measurement from being nan triumphant Euro 2024 send-off for Gareth Southgate and his England players astatine a sold-out and progressively fretful Wembley. Never mind nan consequence because it was not nan main thing, nevertheless overmuch it stirred memories of you-know-when against Iceland.

It was nan capacity that raised nan difficult questions, nan worst 1 for rather immoderate clip and astatine precisely nan incorrect time. The location fans, thousands of whom made for nan exits earlier nan end, were forced to watch nan 2nd half – from astir infinitesimal 55 onwards – done nan gaps betwixt their fingers. And it had not been awesome earlier that.

Iceland scored early done Jon Dagur Thorsteinsson, nan visitors uncovering clip and abstraction pinch easiness and it would beryllium a taxable of what followed successful nan 2nd half, England’s defending truthful welcoming. With nary Harry Maguire and John Stones withdrawn astatine half-time, it was an inexperienced cardinal defence and an unconvincing one, Marc Guéhi struggling successful particular. It was reliable to azygous him out. Kobbie Mainoo and Phil Foden could get small going successful midfield.

There were boos astatine half-time and they returned pinch plentifulness much unit aft nan last whistle. England did not look arsenic though they believed they would equalise arsenic nan second-half minutes ticked down and nan truth was they could person conceded again.

In imaginative terms, Southgate’s squad flattered to deceive; tons of flicks, not capable powerfulness and conviction. It was mostly confused and nan post-match thigh of appreciation could not person been flatter. Like overmuch of nan performance.

The ghosts of 2016 will ever beryllium location erstwhile England look Iceland – and we are not only talking astir Brexit. The fateful nighttime nether Roy Hodgson features prominently connected nan all-time database of England disasters and Southgate included a fewer survivors from it successful his line-up present – Kyle Walker and Harry Kane, some starters successful Nice, positive Stones, who was an unused substitute.

It was surely nan worst imaginable commencement for England. Southgate had taken a fewer uneasy breaths wrong nan first infinitesimal erstwhile Stones went down and stayed down, having sewage his ft tangled underneath Thorsteinsson aft they tussled pinch each different and went to ground. One of nan main things for England was that they did not prime up injuries.

Stones would proceed but he was a portion of nan protect inquest erstwhile Thorsteinsson stunned Wembley pinch nan opening extremity connected 12 minutes. It was uncomfortable to spot really overmuch abstraction Hakon Arnar Haraldsson had successful Kobbie Mainoo’s area of midfield and he went near for Thorsteinsson.

With Walker not successful nan picture, Stones was slow to get crossed and adjacent down erstwhile Thorsteinsson trim wrong and unloaded for nan adjacent post, Aaron Ramsdale – fixed nan opportunity up of Jordan Pickford – was besides slow to react. The shot flashed past him and it was not precisely flush successful nan corner. Ramsdale looked disappointed pinch himself.

John Stones fails to forestall Jon Dagur Thorsteinsson giving Iceland nan lead.
John Stones fails to forestall Jon Dagur Thorsteinsson giving Iceland nan lead. Photograph: Tolga Akmen/EPA

There was a infinitesimal midway done nan first-half erstwhile Southgate had to impulse his players to enactment calm. He had conscionable seen Phil Foden play a walk up nan statement to nobody, soon aft drafting a sigh from nan crowd pinch an overhit cross. Southgate had started Foden successful nan No 10 role, Cole Palmer to nan right, Anthony Gordon to nan left. Palmer had plentifulness of licence to roam. Gordon’s expertise to tally pinch nan shot and hit his man was pleasing.

England’s adjacent passing was sometimes a small excessively intricate earlier nan interval, Iceland capable to wide bodies down nan shot and make life difficult. That said, Southgate’s squad did person first-half chances, including 2 large ones, nan biggest for Kane successful nan 28th minute. Palmer picked him retired pinch a bully transverse only for nan captain, unmarked connected nan separator of nan six-yard box, to blaze nan volley disconnected target.

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Before that, Palmer had seen a changeable turned distant by nan defender, Daniel Leo Grétarsson, aft Declan Rice had harried nan goalkeeper, Hakon Rafn Valdimarsson, into a loose pass. Palmer had plentifulness of nan extremity to purpose astatine pinch Valdimarsson retired of position. Gordon besides sewage a curler for nan acold area each incorrect connected 15 minutes aft a flowing move. The first-half would extremity pinch Guéhi making an important artifact connected a changeable from Arnor Ingvi Traustason. And pinch immoderate boos from nan location support.

Southgate brought Ezri Konsa connected successful cardinal defence for nan second-half, Stones making way. Having played connected for 44 minutes aft his knock, nan dream had to beryllium that Stones was not injured.

It was a psychological trial for Southgate’s young players, arsenic overmuch arsenic thing other – a statement that is apt to beryllium written regularly successful nan weeks ahead. Konsa’s preamble took nan number of outfield players pinch nary acquisition of a awesome world tourney to five.

England hinted astatine nan equaliser. Foden dragged wide aft a Gordon pull-back while Palmer tried and grounded to information Valdimarsson aft a Rice walk that looked to person been meant for Kane. And yet pinch England pushing up, Iceland mightiness person plundered a 2nd connected nan break. When Haraldsson ran successful down from halfway, Iceland had 2 connected one. His transverse was made to measurement for Thorsteinsson and he had to people only to gaffe astatine nan important moment.

Iceland would person different large chance erstwhile Sverrir Ingason escaped Guéhi connected a area only to caput excessively adjacent to Ramsdale. Some of England’s defending was measurement excessively generous. The protect statement was precocious and open.

Southgate made much changes and 2 of them – Ivan Toney and Trent Alexander-Arnold, who played astatine right-back – would spell close. In betwixt times, Kolbeinn Finnsson almost caught retired Ramsdale from distance. It could person been worse.

Source theguardian