England’s Euro 2016 exit sadly familiar


England’s Euro 2016 exit is an all-too-familiar tale for the dejected England fan.

As the St George’s flags are packed up after another early demise from a major tournament, it occurred to me that being an England supporter certainly seems to change as you get older.

When young, the tendency is to get worked up into an eventual sorrowful mess as you watch England flounder, albeit usually in more heroic style than the 2-1 loss to Iceland on Monday night.

As I get older however the reaction is more gallows humour. Such was the case while watching the shambles of England’s Euro 2016 exit.

I have to admit while most of the bar I was in screamed blue murder at the TV screen following Iceland’s equalising goal 34 seconds after the restart, I had to stifle a laugh at the ridiculous nature of it all.

Partly because the goal came from a throw-in that should have been the least unexpected weapon in Iceland’s game-plan (and we’d just watched ITV flag it up before kick-off). But also partly because it was all so very predictable.

Indeed any England fans also in their mid-thirties should know by now to expect us to find a memorable method of mucking things up. It’s the England football team, it’s what happens.

National team defeats usually feature gloriously heroic failure. You know the drill – get drawn against a decent nation, play really well but have a goal ruled out and a man sent-off before succumbing on penalties. But even that hasn’t happened since the World Cup 2006?defeat to Portugal.

Roy Hodgson can now be added to the lengthening list of national managers who had a fantastic record at qualifying but a truly duff one at major championships.

Prior to Euro 2016 I’d quite enjoyed the way he’d navigated England through the group, bringing a clutch of promising youngsters into the mix who produced spells of exciting, winning football.

But despite loading his 23-man squad with attacking players, it is quite the irony that Hodgson and these players were unable to implement a proper plan for actually putting the ball in the net, the main factor when analysing England’s Euro 2016 exit.

Yes Iceland deserve praise for the victory but frankly the pre-match premise they would line up with two banks of five and dare England to break them down all night was again laughable.

Turns out they didn’t need to do that until the last 10 minutes. Clearly they weren’t that worried after all. And why should they be?

So on with the merry-go-round we go.

Euro 96 spot-kick botcher Gareth Southgate tops a dreadful looking list of possible replacements for Hodgson.

Maybe the FA should just hand it to him. In terms of heroic failure at least he’s already experienced at plunging the nation into despair.

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