Tuesday, June 25, 2024

England lose against Iceland in dampener for Euro 2024 hopes – 5 talking points

Must read

ENGLAND 0-1 ICELAND: Gareth Southgate’s men endured a frustrating night at Wembley as they fell to a shock defeat in their final warm-up match ahead of Euro 2024

England players fell to a chastening 1-0 loss against Iceland at Wembley(Ryan Pierse/The FA)

England will head into Euro 2024 off the back of a damaging and demoralising 1-0 defeat against Iceland.

The Three Lions headed into Friday night’s fresh from a comprehensive 3-0 win over Bosnia & Herzegovina. But there was to be no repeat against the nation who inflicted one of the darkest days in England’s recent history upon them back in 2016.

After a bright start from England, it was the visitors who took the lead in the 12th minute. Jon Dagur Thorsteinsson cut in from the left-hand side and lashed a powerful low strike past Aaron Ramsdale at his near post, silencing Wembley.

England enjoyed the lions’ share of the ball without ever really troubling Iceland as they went in search of goals, but ultimately, their final tune-up match ended with a whimper. Here, Mirror Football goes over the talking points…

1. A case for the defence

England will have an abundance of attacking quality in their ranks in Germany next weekend, but there are already issues in defence. Some are beyond control, such as Harry Maguire‘s absence through injury. But this was one area of the England squad that could have done with producing a convincing display against inferior opposition. There will be question marks over whether or not Ramsdale should have done better with Iceland’s goal at his near post, but the bigger concern will be how Iceland cut their way through England to fashion the chance in the first place. It was all far, far too easy.

A back four of Kyle Walker, John Stones, Marc Guehi and Kieran Trippier is likely to be England’s first-choice defence at the Euros. Both Stones and Guehi have missed time with injury during the second-half of last season and the former was replaced by Ezri Konsa at the break after taking a heavy blow to his ankle in the first-half. Lewis Dunk is also yet to return to full fitness. It already feels like England’s defence could give Southgate – and fans – sleepless nights both in the build-up to and beyond next Sunday’s match against Serbia.

England have issues in defence(Eddie Keogh/The FA)

2. Iceland provide the perfect test

Although things didn’t go exactly to plan for England, Iceland were compact and challenged them to break them down after taking the lead. Given similar challenges are likely to await England in Germany, this was, at least, a useful exercise. England struggled to get at Iceland down the middle but did find joy out wide with Anthony Gordon, although he – like others – was let down by his end product. The experience of a match like this may not give England much when they come up against the competition’s big guns but it should prove a useful test for the group stage – even if they didn’t manage to come up with the required answers on this occasion.

Latest article