In their first-ever major tournament appearance, Iceland has reached the quarterfinals of EURO 2016.
The tiny island nation of just more than 300,000 people stunned England in Nice on Monday, winning 2-1 in one of the biggest upsets in EURO history. After winning a perfect ten of ten in qualifying, England has been eliminated in the Round of 16.
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With so much talk about the late goals at EURO 2016, England and Iceland started the scoring immediately in Nice, trading goals within the opening six minutes.
England got on the scoresheet first when Raheem Sterling was taken down in the box by Icelandic goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson. Captain Wayne Rooney stepped up to the spot and buried this penalty kick, putting England ahead in the fourth minute.
Conceding an early goal could have unraveled Iceland, but the islanders answered with an equalizer less than two minutes later. An long throw-in was flicked on by Kari Arnason to Ragnar Sigurdsson, who smashed one home from close range.
With the clock yet to reach the 20-minute mark it was Iceland scoring again as Kolbeinn Sigthorsson gave his side a 2-1 lead. A quick sequence of passing ended with Sigthorsson on the ball, firing a low shot that squeezed under the arm of Joe Hart. Hart surely should have done better, but England’s defense afforded Sigthorsson far too much time on the ball from such a dangerous position.
Unable to break down Iceland’s strong defensive shape, England’s attack became very sloppy, failing to string together passes while rushing long-distance shots. Despite packing ten men behind the ball, Iceland looked the more likely side to find another goal.
Roy Hodgson will have plenty of questions to answer after this one, as Monday’s embarrassing showing will likely be his last match as the England manager. For Iceland, the celebrations will go on for days as the unlikely quarterfinalists now face host nation France in the next round.