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England Lose to Iceland in Final Euros Warm-up

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England Lose to Iceland in Final Euros Warm-up

(CTN News) – Southgate’s side had hoped for a confidence-boosting victory at Wembley on Friday before traveling to Germany as one of the Euro favorites.

But Jon Dagur Thorsteinsson’s first-half goal spoiled England’s farewell and led to the lackluster hosts being booed off at half-time and the final whistle.

Against a team ranked 72nd in the world that could not qualify for the Euros, Cole Palmer, Anthony Gordon, and Kobbie Mainoo all failed to make compelling cases for inclusion in the starting line-up at the Euros.

“We have to be better. We didn’t get our pressing right. There were questions asked that we weren’t able to answer,” Southgate said.

“It was a disjointed and disappointing performance. We didn’t show enough character, but it’s a good focus for us ahead of the tournament.

“I’m confident we will be better than tonight. Everybody’s saying we’re going to go there and walk through the tournament. The reality of international football isn’t that.”

Adding to Southgate’s worries, John Stones didn’t reappear after the interval, possibly a precautionary move after the England center-back fell awkwardly in the first half.

“We think he is probably okay. We didn’t want to take the chance,” Southgate said.

Southgate said his starting line-up was “close” to the team facing Serbia in England’s Group C opener in Gelsenkirchen on June 16.

If that is the case, he will need to coax a substantially improved effort from a group that looked short on energy and composure in the absence of resting Real Madrid star Jude Bellingham.

Bored fans spent most of the night entertaining themselves by buzzing the pitch with paper airplanes, and few stayed for the post-match lap of honor.

“You’d like a good performance and to be leaving on a high. We didn’t play well enough to keep them excited,” said Southgate, whose side has won one of their last five games.

While Southgate can point out that this result will count for nothing when England starts their bid to win its first major trophy in 58 years, it was still an alarming performance that raised questions about key areas of his team.

With just two clean sheets in their last seven games, England’s defensive frailties were concerning for Southgate.

“We’ve got to be far better without the ball, and we’ve got to show more composure with it,” he said.

“These last games going into tournaments can be like that because players are worried about picking up an injury.

“We can’t hide the fact that we have a lot of physical issues. We haven’t had the core of the team together yet.

“We need to stay calm. There are no excuses for the result, but there are many things we can put right quickly. It actually gives us a chance to focus the mind.”

On Thursday, Southgate showed a rarely-seen ruthless edge when he axed Jack Grealish, James Maddison, and the injured Harry Maguire from his 26-man squad.

Whether those decisions prove wise will be determined over the next month in Germany, but Maguire’s absence could be especially damaging.

Marc Guehi replaced Maguire alongside Stones in England’s central defense, but the pair delivered a shaky effort, with Ezri Konsa faring little better after his second-half introduction.

Iceland famously inflicted one of England’s most humiliating defeats when they beat Roy Hodgson’s team in the last 16 at Euro 2016.

Although this defeat won’t rank alongside that evening in Nice, Thorsteinsson’s 12th-minute goal was painful for England.

Running at Stones with intent, Thorsteinsson cut inside before unleashing a low strike from the edge of the area that beat Aaron Ramsdale at his near post.

Arsi Mughal is a staff writer at CTN News, delivering insightful and engaging content on a wide range of topics. With a knack for clear and concise writing, he crafts articles that resonate with readers. Arsi's pieces are well-researched, informative, and presented in a straightforward manner, making complex subjects accessible to a broad audience. His writing style strikes the perfect balance between professionalism and casual approachability, ensuring an enjoyable reading experience.

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