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England 0-1 Iceland: Player ratings from disappointing Three Lions performance

England 0-1 Iceland: Player ratings from disappointing Three Lions performance
England 0-1 Iceland: Player ratings from disappointing Three Lions performance

England slumped to a surprise home defeat in their final game before Euro 2024, being beaten by Iceland at Wembley.

The Three Lions were looking to make a statement ahead of the upcoming tournament, but were hit on the counter early on to fall behind. Former Fulham winger Jon Dagur Thorsteinsson picked the ball up on the left, cut inside, and drove a low strike through the legs of John Stones and in at Aaron Ramsdale’s near post.

The hosts sought a quick response, and spurned a couple of decent chances to draw level. First, Anthony Gordon skewed his effort high and wide after being fed by Harry Kane. Moments later, Cole Palmer saw his shot well blocked by Daniel Leo Gretarsson after an error by goalkeeper Hakon Valdimarsson.

Gareth Southgate’s men continued to put the Icelandic backline under pressure, and ought to have equalised in the 28th minute. Palmer’s pinpoint cross found Kane unmarked at the back post, but the Bayern Munich man surprisingly put his attempt off target from close range.

But while England dominated possession and territory, Iceland still posed a threat on the counter attack. Shortly before half time, Marc Guehi had to be on hand to direct Arnor Ingvi Traustason’s powerful strike wide for a corner.

After the break, the home side continued their search for a leveller. Gordon was at the heart of the early chances, seeing his crosses directed wide by Kane and Phil Foden.

Another opportunity came when Declan Rice’s pass made its way through to Palmer. However, the Premier League Young Player of the Year winner hesitated when through on goal, allowing Valdimarsson to force him wide.

Meanwhile, the visitors continued to cause problems on the break. Thorsteinsson had a wonderful chance to double his tally, but slipped at the crucial moment when handed a tap-in. Not long afterwards, Sverrir Ingi Ingason met a corner at the back post, but could only direct his header straight at Ramsdale.

Southgate made several changes in pursuit of a goal, and two newcomers almost helped create an equaliser. Trent Alexander-Arnold drilled a low cross to the feet of Ivan Toney, who mishit his effort wide for a goal kick.

This was the last chance of note in the game. England continued to apply pressure in the closing stages, while Iceland held firm for a memorable victory.

The result was a huge dampener on expectations for the Three Lions. They head to Germany having won just one of their previous five outings.

Starting XI

Aaron Ramsdale (4/10) – Any chances of dislodging Jordan Pickford from the starting line-up were ended in the 12th minute, when he was beaten at his near post by Thorsteinsson. Had a few other shaky moments.

Kyle Walker (4/10) – Caught out of position for the opener. Crossing was often below par.

John Stones (4/10) – Could have done more to prevent Thorsteinsson’s goal. Substituted at half time having picked up an early knock.

Marc Guehi (6/10) – The most assured of England’s backline. Likely to start in the absence of Harry Maguire.

Kieran Trippier (5/10) – Still yet to look comfortable as a left-back, despite lining up there several times on the international stage. Southgate will be praying on the fitness of Luke Shaw.

Declan Rice (5/10) – Played a couple of decent passes, and should have had an assist for Palmer in the second half. However, didn’t control the game as well as he can.

Kobbie Mainoo (5/10) – Not at his composed best. Didn’t offer much at either end of the pitch.

Cole Palmer (6/10) – Put in a brilliant cross that Kane should have converted. Got into several promising areas, but sometimes looked hesitant in front of goal.

Phil Foden (5/10) – Played in his preferred central position, but didn’t reproduce his Premier League form. A few nice touches and flicks, but not incisive enough.

Anthony Gordon (7/10) – Often looked like the brightest spark for England. Quick, direct, and creative, although his final ball wasn’t always the best.

Harry Kane (6/10) – Displayed his excellent passing range on multiple occasions. Uncharacteristically wasted a brilliant chance in the first half.

Substitutes

Ezri Konsa (6/10)

Trent Alexander-Arnold (7/10)

Joe Gomez (5/10)

Bukayo Saka (5/10)

Ivan Toney (5/10)

Eberechi Eze (5/10)