England tumble out of Euro 2016 after abject 2-1 defeat to minnows Iceland

Jamie Vardy is dejected at the final whistle
Jamie Vardy is dejected at the final whistle
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England tumbled out of Europe for the second time in four days after their abject defeat to Iceland in their round-of-16 Euro 2016 clash in Nice tonight.

England, who took the lead early on thanks to Wayne Rooney’s penalty, were shocked by Ragnar Sigurdsson’s equaliser just two minutes later and their misery was compounded when Kolbeinn Sigthorsson squeezed a shot past Joe Hart and sealed a quarter-final tie with France.

Defeat also signalled the end of Roy Hodgson’s time as England manager, with the former Fulham boss confirming his resignation in the aftermath of defeat.

Hodgson drew criticism for his team selection against Slovakia in the final group game - the subsequent draw condemned England to what was perceived as the more difficult half of the draw - and they then tumbled out anyway, against a country with a similar population to Leicester and without a single professional football club.

England, in contrast, boast the richest football league in the world and were the first side to qualify for the European Championship, winning all ten of their qualifying games.

But they were second best for most of this contest in terms of both ability and attitude, and Hodgson’s Lions spectacularly failed to roar when it mattered.

“I hope you will still be able to see an England team in a final of a major tournament soon,” Hodgson, who succeeded Fabio Capello four years ago but won just three of 11 tournament games, said.

“Now is the time for someone else to oversee the progress of a hungry and extremely talented group of players. They have done fantastically, and done everything asked of them.

“When I arrived I was told players didn’t turn up to play for their country or that they pulled out at the last minute. I have not seen any of that. These players love to play for their country and their commitment has been unquestioned.

“I’m sorry it will have to end this way but these things happen.”

Defeat is too much to bear for one young England fan

Defeat is too much to bear for one young England fan

It had all started so well, too. Not even three minutes had passed when Raheem Sterling gambled on Daniel Sturridge’s curling pass, and was brought down by Iceland goalkeeper Hannes Halldórsson.

Skipper Rooney - earning his 115th cap, equalling David Beckham’s outfield record - did the rest from the penalty spot, finishing emphatically in the bottom left corner, and England breathed a collective sigh of relief.

But their lead lasted just two minutes, Sigurdsson finishing emphatically from former Rotherham United man Kári Árnason’s flick-on after losing Kyle Walker a little too easily.

It was a goal that brought England back down to earth with an almighty bump and then, the unthinkable happened; Iceland went ahead, when Sigthorsson’s shot from around 14 yards squirmed under Hart’s left hand and bobbled agonisingly over the line.

And for Roy Hodgson, too, who quit after the game

And for Roy Hodgson, too, who quit after the game

It was Hart’s second costly error of the tournament, after he let in Gareth Bale’s free-kick against Wales, and the Manchester City goalkeeper held up his hands in apology to England’s travelling support at the full-time whistle.

Hart pulled off a smart, close-range save to deny Sigurdsson’s overhead kick and arguably England’s best chance fell just before the 80-minute mark, when Harry Kane headed substitute Jack Wilshere’s cross tamely at Halldórsson.

Hart had to be alert once again to deny Cardiff City’s Aron Gunnarsson on the break, and only once 18-year-old Marcus Rashford was introduced, with minutes to spare, did England show any real attacking impetus.

“It’s been a fantastic journey, these four years, and it’s one I’ll look back on or remember with pride,” Hodgson said.

“But we’ve been unable to deliver.”

So Iceland, managed by a part-time dentist, march on to a last-eight and a meeting with hosts France. England - spineless and, when it mattered, clueless - tumble out.