Southgate Vows England Will Harness Lessons From Iceland Defeat

After a dismal show last Friday, where Iceland claimed victory, Gareth Southgate vows an upturn in England’s form for the upcoming crucial clashes.

The parting game at Wembley Stadium before their Euro 2024 journey was lackluster. Jon Thorsteinsson’s sharp strike clinched the match for Iceland against a disjointed England team.

In spite of fielding strong players like Harry Kane, Phil Foden, and Cole Palmer, England struggled, managing only a single shot on target and amassing a mere 0.89 expected goals from 13 attempts.

This loss marks the first time England has stumbled in their final pre-tournament match since Euro 1968, after securing 15 wins and five draws in similar preceding matches.

With no attempts to justify the subpar effort, Southgate remains optimistic about addressing these issues promptly, particularly before they take on Serbia in Gelsenkirchen in just nine days.

“Clearly, the performance was fractured and unsatisfactory, and we lacked grit. However, this serves as an ideal primer for the tournament,” Southgate explained to Channel 4.

“We need to improve defensively. Though there are multiple factors at play, during these two games we haven’t seen our strongest lineup. We got to evaluate players and gauge the team’s synergy,” he added.

Southgate, reflecting on his experiences said, “Players are understandably distracted by the impending tournament challenges. While today’s result is inexcusable, many issues can be swiftly rectified.”

Recent games have seen England conceding the first goal at Wembley thrice consecutively—a sequence last witnessed between October 1953 and November 1954, which included the historic 6-3 loss to Hungary in November 1953.

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