England suffered their worst humiliation since they were knocked out of the 1950 World Cup by USA in Brazil as Iceland shocked them in the last 16 of Euro 2016 with a 2-1 win in Nice today.
Manager Roy Hodgson resigned after the abject embarrassment of losing to a nation ranked 34th in the world – and with a population of just 330,000 – despite taking the lead through Wayne Rooney’s fourth-minute penalty.
Iceland equalised within a minute as England failed to deal with a trademark long throw and Ragnar Sigurdsson bundled home from close range.
England’s shameful performance was summed up by Iceland’s 18th-minute winner when goalkeeper Joe Hart was badly at fault – just as in the win over Wales – as he let Kolbeinn Sigthorsson’s shot through his hand.
Hodgson made changes as Iceland dug in, but the underdogs had as many chances as England before the final whistle blew on their Euro 2016 hopes and his four-year tenure as manager.
Past players were not sad to see Roy Hodgson go. The humiliating result triggered Hodgson – who won 33 of 56 games in charge after replacing Fabio Capello in 2012 – to walk away post-match, with his contract due to expire at the conclusion of the finals.
Former striker Gary Lineker – third on England’s all-time goal-scoring list – was quick to react to Hodgson’s departure, writing via Twitter: “The worst defeat in our history. England beaten by a country with more volcanoes than professional footballers. Well played Iceland.”
“Roy Hodgson resigns as England manager. A decent and dignified man but will forever be remembered for losing to tiny Iceland,” he continued.
Rio Ferdinand and Alan Shearer were far more scathing of Hodgson and the England set-up.
Ferdinand said: “What a sporting achievement for Iceland. But gone into a tournament not knowing the best team. Did the shape suit our players?? Not for me.
Shearer added: “England – shocking. Pathetic. Inept. Well done Iceland, you were brilliant. #ENGICE #EURO2016.”
Ex-England defender Jamie Carragher, though, was quick to praise Iceland.
“Credit to Iceland excellently organised, not lost yet at #EURO2016. Finished above Holland & Turkey in qualifying. Unbelievable achievement.”
Former France star Thierry Henry also voiced his thoughts, saying: “I have to say I thought @England would win and could deal with Iceland’s long approach but credit to Iceland. Wow. Well done.”
Meanwhile, Italy put in a dominant performance as they beat the defending champions Spain 2-0 in Paris and set up a quarter-final tie against Germany at Euro 2016.
Antonio Conte’s side took the lead in the 33rd minute through defender Giorgio Chiellini and they could have had more but for three superb saves from David de Gea.
De Gea continued to deny Italy in the second half with the Manchester United goalkeeper stopping Eder and substitute Lorenzo Insigne.
Spain had a golden chance to equalise right at the death through Gerard Pique but Gianluigi Buffon was alert to the danger, making a brilliant save before Graziano Pelle’s strike sealed victory in injury-time.