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Three things we learned from Iceland’s incredible win vs. England

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NICE — Iceland beat England 2-1 at the Stade de Nice on Monday as the greatest moment in their soccer history arrived.

[ MORE: England in ruins after exit ]

The Three Lions were the victims of one of the most incredible upsets in European Championship history and they didn’t deserve to advance.

[ MORE: Iceland “shocked the world”

The smallest nation to ever compete in the Euros has made it the quarterfinals.

Here’s what we learned from a dramatic, historical night in Nice.


HART, ROONEY COST ENGLAND

England’s two most experienced players on the pitch let them down badly. Yes, captain Wayne Rooney scored a penalty kick after five minutes but that’s all he did. His touch was heavy, he overplayed, gave away possession and England’s captain and talisman had a woeful game which summed up the performance of his team. He was subbed out with 2 minutes to go for teenager Marcus Rashford and was jeered off the pitch.

Plus, yet again in a major tournament a goalkeeping error led to England’s downfall. In 2002 it was David Seaman who misjudged Ronaldinho’s cross. In 2010 it was Robert Green who somehow let Clint Dempsey‘s daisy-cutter dribble through him and into the net.

Now, Hart’s mistake may not have been quite as bad as those but its impact was catastrophic. In the 18th minute Kolbeinn Sigthorsson sent a tame effort towards the bottom corner. It went through Hart’s grasp and in. There wasn’t much pace on the effort and the Manchester City goalkeeper knew he’d dropped a clanger. Hart, for the first time in a long time, has held off strong competition to keep his starting spot as England’s first-choice goalkeeper. This won’t help him in the long term. He, alongside Rooney, will be blamed most for England’s exit.


ICELAND DESERVE GREATEST MOMENT

“We are going in with a mindset that we are going to win the game. I think it is the perfect time for Iceland not to upset because we have a good team with self confidence, it is the best time ever to beat England at a big tournament. We are going in it tomorrow to win it.”

Those were the words of one Iceland fan on the eve of the biggest game in their history. It echoed the views of the fans, staff and players. Iceland may be the biggest underdog story in the history of the Euros but they are in the quarterfinals and deservedly so.

In the qualifying stages they finished above Holland, Turkey and the Czech Republic. They finished ahead of Portugal in Group F and the incredibly well-organized side — a penchant of their Swedish coach Lars Lagerback — drag themselves in front after going behind in the fifth minute. Sure, there was a touch of fortune about their second but as soon as they went ahead they sat back, soaked up the pressure and frustrated England.

They had a game plan and all 11 players believed it would work. All 320,000 Icelandic citizens believed and a statement from their joint manager Heimer Hallgrimsson summed it up beautifully before the game began.

“If we beat England their lives will change, and all of our lives will change, significantly. Icelandic football will go up in reputation and the way we approach football will be different. It’ll look different for us.”

They did beat England and the greatest moment in Icelandic soccer history arrived.

Their fans were incredible in the Stade de Nice with their rhythmic chants spurring their players on. There will be scenes like never before in Reykjavik. In the land of the Midnight Sun, they won’t stop partying until it goes dark as they face France in the quarterfinals in Paris this Sunday.


MESSY END FOR HODGSON

Roy Hodgson’s side let him down badly and now he will pay the ultimate price. Hodgson, 68, only had a contract as England manager until the end of EURO 2016. Now that is over, he knows his time as England’s boss is over.

UPDATE: He announced his resignation minutes after England lost to Iceland.

Strolling around the Promenade des Anglais and mixing with fans on the day of the game, Hodgson looked calm and relaxed. By the end of the day he was looking hot under the collar as he stood on the steamy sideline in Nice.

This is where it ends.

Even though Hodgson’s four years in charge have offered plenty of moments of hope, his legacy will be one of underachievement and disappointment. He tried to rebuild England into a team full of young, dynamic atrack-minded players. They didn’t show up when it mattered most.

NICE, FRANCE - JUNE 27: Roy Hodgson manager of England looks on prior to the UEFA EURO 2016 round of 16 match between England and Iceland at Allianz Riviera Stadium on June 27, 2016 in Nice, France. (Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)
(Photo by Lars Baron/Getty Images)

England haven’t won a knockout game in 10 years at a major tournament and that unwanted stat will now be extended to 12. Hodgson won’t be in charge in Russia at the 2018 World Cup, if England gets there. There are no outstanding contenders to replace him and that leaves England in a real mess. This crop promised so much, especially in attack, but they’ve floundered once again in a major tournament. It is an all too familiar sight for England’s fans.

Hodgson’s side made too many basic defensive errors. Aron Gunnarrsson has a long throw. England pinpointed that long throw as a major strength for Iceland. So, of course Iceland scores from their first long throw of the game, just 60 seconds after Rooney had put them ahead. Rooney lost the initial flick on to Gylfi Sigurdsson and Kyle Walker lost Ragnar Sigurdsson after the flick. Then came Hart’s howler and here we are.

This has to go down as the biggest embarrassment in English soccer history since they lost to the USA at the 1950 World Cup. England have now played 20 knockout ties in major competitions since they won the World Cup in 1966. They’ve won just six of those.

There have been plenty of defeats and penalty shootout heartbreak along the way but this was difference. This was a team which was outfought and went home with a whimper.

Sounders top Dallas in all-time, extra-time playoffs classic (video)

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The game in 200 words (or less): How about one word? Insanity. Simply put, an all-time classic in MLS Cup Playoffs history. It’s a small sample size, no doubt about it, but MLS’s new single-elimination playoff format appears to have solved the problem of uninspiring early-round action. Seattle advanced to the Western Conference semifinals, where they’ll face the winner of Real Salt Lake versus Portland Timbers, with a 4-3 extra-time victory, but it wasn’t without 120 minutes of nonstop drama. Seattle went from 2-0 up inside the first 25 minutes, to level at 2-2 inside 65, to 3-2 up 10 minutes later, to level again with under 10 minutes of regular time remaining. They needed 113 minutes to do it, but Seattle broke the deadlock for the final time when Jordan Morris completed the first hat trick of his career.

[ MORE: Lampard “pleased for Pulisic,” praises subs in Chelsea win ]

What did we learn?

  • Sounders making magic out wide: No matter how many times they saw it, Dallas simply couldn’t slow down the Sounders wide attackers and full backs from creating superb scoring chances from out wide. This has been one of the Sounders’ greatest strengths for a couple seasons now, yet Dallas seemed wholly unprepared for it. The speed and crossing ability they have out wide is a huge problem for a lot of teams, especially when Morris and Raul Ruidiaz are moving around freely in the box.

  • Sounders’ defensive struggles unsolved: For all the chances they created on one end, Seattle couldn’t control the game or even slow it down in middle and defensive thirds. Whether it was on the counter-attack, through sustained possession by Dallas or set pieces, Seattle struggled in the worst way. Even after going ahead in extra time, Seattle stood idly by as Dallas created a couple of golden scoring chances and were so close to finding themselves level again at 4-4. They won’t have (m)any more “get out of jail free” cards to play as they advance to the latter rounds.

[ FOLLOW: All of PST’s MLS coverageStandings | Stats | Schedule ]

Man of the match: Jordan Morris

Goalscorers: Ruidiaz (18′), Morris (22′, 74′, 113′), Cannon (39′), Hedges (64′), Acosta (82′)

La Liga: Real Madrid shocked by Mallorca; Messi, Suarez, Griezmann send Barca top

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A roundup of all of Saturday’s action in Spain’s top flight…

[ MORE: Lampard “pleased for Pulisic,” praises subs in Chelsea win ]

Eibar 0-3 Barcelona

Lionel Messi goal – check; Luis Suarez goal – check; Antoine Griezmann goal – check; clean sheet – check. If there exists a perfect recipe for a Barcelona victory this season, the Blaugrana put it to good use en route to a fourth straight La Liga victory and top spot in the league table on Saturday.

Griezmann opened the scoring in the 13th minute, followed by Messi in the 58th and Suarez in the 66th. Marc-Andre ter Stegen didn’t have to make a single save as Eibar managed just five shots in the game.

Mallorca 1-0 Real Madrid

Real Madrid’s unbeaten start to the season was snapped at eight games on Saturday, when Los Blancos went to Mallorca and suffered a hugely underwhelming 1-0 defeat. Zinedine Zidane’s side — already without the likes of Gareth Bale (calf), Luka Modric (bruise), Toni Kroos (adductor) and Marco Ascensio (knee), among others — finished the game with 10 men after Alvaro Odriozola earned his second yellow card in the 74th minute. The defeat sees Madrid fall off the top spot, now sitting second behind Barca.

Lago Junior scored the game’s only goal in the 7th minute and Mallorca held on for 83 more, allowing just four shots on target (12 in total). The early goal was Mallorca’s only shot on target over 90 minutes.

Atletico Madrid 1-1 Valencia

Atleti coughed up a late lead and settled for a 1-1 draw with Valencia, but the worst news of the day comes in the form of an injury suffered by Joao Felix. The 19-year-old’s ankle buckled underneath him late in the second half. Atleti finished with 10 men after their $140-million superstar was forced off.

Elsewhere in La Liga

Getafe 2-0 Leganes

Sunday’s La Liga schedule

Alaves v. Celta Vigo — 6 a.m. ET
Real Sociedad v. Real Betis — 8 a.m. ET
Espanyol v. Villarreal — 10 a.m. ET
Athletic Bilbao v. Real Valladolid — 12:30 p.m. ET
Sevilla v. Levante — 3 p.m. ET

Haringey Borough abandon FA Cup qualifier after racist abuse

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LONDON (AP) An FA Cup qualifier between Haringey Borough and Yeovil Town was abandoned Saturday when the home team walked off the field after one of its players was racially abused.

[ MORE: Analyzing a day of VAR drama in the Premier League ]

Haringey, a London-based non-league club, walked off in the 64th minute after claims its Cameroonian goalkeeper Valery Pajetat had been targeted by racial abuse by visiting fans minutes earlier, when Yeovil took a 1-0 lead from a penalty.

Haringey manager Tom Loizou told BBC Radio 5 Live that defender Coby Rowe was also racially abused, and that “there was no way I could let him continue.”

The match at Coles Park Stadium was in the fourth qualifying round for the FA Cup, with the winner advancing to the first round of the tournament.

[ MORE: Lampard “pleased for Pulisic,” praises subs in Chelsea win ]

“The abuse a few of my players got was disgusting,” Loizou said. “Yeovil’s players and manager were different class. Their team tried to calm their supporters down, they tried their best and they supported us. They said, ‘If you’re walking off, we’re walking off with you.’ I took the decision to take my team off and I don’t want Yeovil Town to get punished for it. If we get thrown out of the FA Cup and they go through, there is no hard feelings there.”

The incident comes four days after England’s European Championship qualifier in Bulgaria was stopped twice in the first half as home fans hurled racial abuse at England’s black players. However, England decided to play on and won 6-0.

In a statement on Twitter, the football anti-discrimination charity Kick It Out praised the “swift and decisive action” taken by the Haringey manager Tom Loizou and his players.

Bundesliga wrap: Dortmund beats leaders Gladbach; Bayern draws

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Another Saturday in the Bundesliga, another nutty set of results allowing a side the chance to claim the top of the league on Sunday.

David Wagner, Weston McKennie and Schalke are the ones licking their lips this time, knowing that a win at Hoffenheim will boost them into first.

[ MORE: Lampard “pleased” for Pulisic ]

Wolfsburg remains unbeaten with a draw, and dropped points for Borussia Monchengladbach, RB Leipzig, and Bayern Munich means an absurd nine teams are within two points of the top of the table.

Nine!

Borussia Dortmund 1-0 Borussia Monchengladbach

Gladbach’s stay atop the league could last just one match day, as Thorgan Hazard set up Marco Reus for a 58th minute goal and a place one point back of the top.

Werder Bremen 1-1 Hertha Berlin

Josh Sargent’s 7th minute goal didn’t stand up, thanks to Hertha’s electric Dodi Lukebakio scoring with 20 minutes to play. Watch the American striker’s goal, here.

Augsburg 2-2 Bayern Munich

The champions’ stumbles continued, with first minute concession providing a test. Bayern’s red hot pair delivered a lead, with Robert Lewandowski answering in the 14th minute, and Serge Gnabry supplying a 49th minute lead.

Stoppage time was the downfall, though, as Alfred Finnbogason helped himself to the equalizer with all kinds of questions for the Bayern defense.

Elsewhere

Eintracht Frankfurt 3-0 Bayer Leverkusen — Friday
Union Berlin 2-0 Freiburg
Fortuna Dusseldorf 1-0 Mainz
RB Leipzig 1-1 Wolfsburg
Koln v. Paderborn — 9:30 a.m. ET Sunday
Hoffenheim v. Schalke — Noon ET Sunday

STANDINGS

Team GP W D L GF GA GD Home Away PTS
 Mönchengladbach 8 5 1 2 15 7 8 2-1-1 3-0-1 16
 VfL Wolfsburg 8 4 4 0 11 5 6 2-2-0 2-2-0 16
 Bayern Munich 8 4 3 1 22 10 12 2-1-1 2-2-0 15
 Borussia Dortmund 8 4 3 1 20 11 9 3-1-0 1-2-1 15
 RB Leipzig 8 4 3 1 16 8 8 1-2-1 3-1-0 15
 FC Schalke 04 7 4 2 1 14 7 7 2-1-1 2-1-0 14
 SC Freiburg 8 4 2 2 15 9 6 1-2-1 3-0-1 14
 Eintracht Frankfurt 8 4 2 2 14 10 4 3-2-0 1-0-2 14
 Bayer Leverkusen 8 4 2 2 12 11 1 2-2-0 2-0-2 14
 Hertha BSC Berlin 8 3 2 3 13 13 0 2-0-1 1-2-2 11
 Werder Bremen 8 2 3 3 13 17 -4 1-1-2 1-2-1 9
 1899 Hoffenheim 7 2 2 3 6 11 -5 1-0-2 1-2-1 8
 Fortuna Düsseldorf 8 2 1 5 10 14 -4 1-1-2 1-0-3 7
 1. FC Union Berlin 8 2 1 5 8 13 -5 2-0-3 0-1-2 7
 FC Augsburg 8 1 3 4 10 21 -11 1-2-1 0-1-3 6
 FSV Mainz 05 8 2 0 6 7 18 -11 1-0-2 1-0-4 6
 1. FC Köln 7 1 1 5 5 16 -11 0-0-3 1-1-2 4
 SC Paderborn 7 0 1 6 9 19 -10 0-0-4 0-1-2 1