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England lose their Euro send off 1-0 to Unqualified Iceland

England faced Iceland at Wembley Stadium last night in their last game before their Euro campaign begins next Sunday in Germany. However with boos ringing around the stadium, it was not the send off the three lions would've hoped for.

Spirits were high pre-match as England prepared to take on 72nd Fifa ranked side Iceland at Wembley. The national side took on Bosnia and Herzegovina on Monday night winning 3-0, however yesterday’s game was very different as Gareth Southgate’s team struggled to look convincing in attack facilitating only one shot on target all game at Iceland’s keeper, Valdimarsson. 

England kicked off with a starting eleven of Ramsdale (GK), Trippier, Stones, Guéhi, Walker, Rice, Mainoo, Palmer, Foden, Gordon and Kane. Not far from the eleven we’d expect to see start the tournament next week. However, England struggled to hit the ground running for the majority of the first half. 

Iceland’s deciding goal came in just the twelfth minute from Thorsteinsson who took the ball well and slid it past Arsenal’s Aaron Ramsdale into the home side’s net. Despite only having 32% of the possession, Iceland managed to keep England's attackers at bay for the full ninety minutes.

At Half Time, England made just one substitution with City’s John Stones taking a knock therefore making way for Villa’s Ezri Konsa who’s versatility has shone recently playing ninety minutes in Monday’s game filling in at centre back and left back when required. At full time, Southgate touched on the Stones’ early departure saying "We think he is probably OK. We didn't want to take the chance." making the sensible decision to rest possibly his starting centre back ahead of the three lions opening game against Slovenia on Sunday the 16th of June. 

Further into the second half, three more changes came for the home side as Gordon, Trippier, Walker and Kane all left the pitch for Starboy Saka, Alexander Arnold, Toney and Gomez. However this made little difference to England’s attacking threat overall. Saka providing the most promise but  England still struggling to find the net even with the new additions.

Finally, Palmer made way for Eze and with their four England men, Crystal Palace are the most represented side within the England squad this year. Unsurprising with how the likes of Eze and Guéhi have performed this season in the Premier League for the eagles.

The game finished 1-0 to Iceland (despite them not qualifying for Euro 2024) with England’s hopes of going into the tournament with a win, gone.

Yesterday’s game marked the first time since 1968 that England have lost their final game before a major tournament, not the news that boss Gareth Southgate would want to hear. 

Instead in his post match press conference he looked to the positives saying "We learned a lot. We know the performance wasn’t good enough. Equally, I think we needed the game. So many of the players needed the game. There are a lot of players whose minutes we are managing, who have had a break since the end of the Premier League, where you are trying to refresh them but they are out of the rhythm of playing.” 

England kick off their Euros campaign next Sunday against Serbia. Kick off is at 8pm.



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