Humiliating, shambolic, incompetent: The verdict

Date published: Tuesday 28th June 2016 9:48

A whirlwind tour of what the chief football writers of the national press are saying…


Neil Ashton in The Sun: ‘THEY could not deal with the big ’un. The big throw. The big man up front. The big occasion. With England players crumpled all over the pitch the travelling fans sang ‘You’re not fit to wear the shirt.’ They are not fit to lace Iceland’s boots, either.

‘Before England’s players jet out to Vegas, Dubai, Marbella on their boozy holidays they should watch endless re-runs of Iceland’s celebrations. Surely this can never be allowed to happen again. This one hurts. Really hurts. Goodbye Roy, thank you Roy, you have been an unmitigated disaster.’


Dave Kidd in The Daily Mirror: ‘And so, in keeping with the week’s events, an England without a functioning government, opposition, nor any future plan, no longer has a manager for its national football team either. Roy Hodgson will go down in history as the man who led England to their most humiliating result of all time, having already piloted their worst-ever Word Cup campaign.

‘A thoroughly decent, fiercely intelligent, uncommonly worldly manager, unbeaten in 20 qualifying matches and having boldly refreshed England’s squad at a time when homegrown representation in the Premier League was at an all-time low, must ultimately be remembered as a crushing failure.’


Martin Samuel in the Daily Mail: ‘When goalkeeper Joe Hart turned to acknowledge their frustration, he was met by a series of hand gestures that may have been imitations of his attempt to save Iceland’s second goal, but probably weren’t.

‘What a waste the last two years have been. Hodgson should have gone in 2014, when England lasted two matches at the World Cup. He wasn’t the man then, he isn’t the man now. Just like Stuart Lancaster, England’s Rugby World Cup coach, there has been much talk of progress, promise and a strong culture of responsibility, but under pressure, that all evaporated.’

Paul Joyce in the Daily Express: ‘What began as a journey full of hope ended in humiliation and the sort of sporting disaster that is as unpalatable today as it was unthinkable yesterday. England were a shambles and, by the final whistle, in disarray, haemorrhaging confidence as well as goals and mind-numbingly incompetent going forward as they bowed out of Euro 2016 in sheer ignominy.

‘This was as bad as it gets, a throwback all the way to the harrowing defeat to the USA in 1950, and while Hodgson did the only thing possible none of his players can look at themselves today. “You’re not fit to wear the shirt,” was the withering riposte from those England fans not venting their spleen in a crescendo of catcalls.’

Henry Winter in The Times: ‘Nothing in England’s 144-year history compares to this ignominy. Nothing. Not even losing to the United States in Belo Horizonte in 1950. Not even the Wembley draw with Poland in 1973. Not even the defeats by Norway in 1981 and 1993. Not even that wretched night at Windsor Park in 2005. England’s 959th game was the nadir. This was a disgrace.’

Matt Dickinson in The Times: ‘England stopped being a football team last night and became a punchline. Write your own Brexit jokes. Or perhaps you prefer the Iceland puns: Go now Hodgson in the name of Cod. Whatever your fancy, this was the night when England were not just “the world’s most disappointing team” as Time magazine dubbed our footballers in 2010 but became a laughing stock, crashing out of Euro 2016, beaten by a team that some of their fans may think are named after a supermarket.’

Paul Hayward in The Daily Telegraph: ‘England: a country where governments crumble, markets collapse and the nation’s football team loses a European Championship game to Iceland. In the event of England’s exit from Euro 2016, an obvious headline had been laid out: ‘Go in the name of cod, go’ – aimed at Roy Hodgson. But there is no need to run it. Hodgson’s reign as England manager was beyond untenable from the moment Iceland erupted in celebration and he quit without taking questions.

‘Iceland deserved every second, every laugh and kiss of the post-match cavorting. But their amazing achievement in earning a quarter-final against France cannot disguise the reality that this was England’s most humiliating night in international football: far worse than the 1950 World Cup defeat to the USA in Belo Horizonte.’

Daniel Taylor in The Guardian: ‘And so it fizzled to its close with Gary Cahill galloping around as an extra centre-forward, mutinous chants of “you’re not fit to wear the shirt,” from the England followers and Hodgson’s media staff announcing he would not take any questions. Joe Hart held up an arm apologetically towards the supporters. Mostly the players were on their knees. Some hid their faces in the turf and, once again, questions will have to be asked about what stifles them in England’s colours.

‘How could it possibly be, just for starters, that Harry Kane finished last season as the Premier League’s leading scorer but played so badly? Kane did more than anyone to provoke the crowd’s dissent with his overhit passes and misdirected shots.’

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