Gordon Hill has labelled his England’s Euro 2016 exit at the hands of Iceland as one of the most embarrassing defeats in the nation’s history.
Goals from Ragnar Sigurdsson and Kolbeinn Sigthorsson sent Iceland through to the quarter-finals at the expense of a sorry England side, whose manager Roy Hodgson resigned immediately after the game.
England have not won a knockout fixture in the European Championships since their run to the semi-finals in 1996, but former Manchester United winger Hill – who collected six caps in the 1970s – believes the defeat in Nice will go down in inglorious history.
“You can’t take anything away from Iceland,” Hill told Omnisport.
“They’ve turned over a couple of big teams on the way through and their football for 320,000 people is fantastic. They’ve come a long way and I can’t sit here and say they didn’t play well.
“But I think this must go down as one of the most embarrassing and lacklustre performances that I have ever seen from an England team.”
Hill said England suffered from a basic technical deficiency, while their lack of identity as a football team was completely at odds with the likes of Germany and Italy – who regularly compete in the deep end of international tournaments.
“Italy are the outside favourites and they turned it on [against Spain on Monday to win 2-0] with some players that a lot of people might not have heard of,” Hill said.
“But England still play guys like [captain Wayne] Rooney, who should not have been out there, you’ve got [Gary] Cahill, who thinks he is a forward and he can just dribble forward.
“You can tell a mile away the technical difference between us and teams like Italy and Germany and even teams [in the Copa America] like Argentina and Chile.”
Hill also said England lack a sense of unity, which Iceland ruthlessly exposed.
“Iceland are playing like Leicester City played in the Premier League. They play as a unit,” he said.
“Individuals can’t beat a unit. Germany play as a unit, Italy play as a unit, Spain once played as a unit.”
And Hill attributed England’s lack of cohesion to the lack of any clear tactical identity.
“We’ve lost our identity. We’ve lost the type of player like Alan Shearer, the central defenders like John Terry – who still could have done a great job in this team,” he said.
“Our full-backs think they’re wingers more than defenders. The ball moves at a snail’s pace and it’s so slow it let the Iceland team say, ‘this team does not want to play’, and that let Iceland get on top of England.
“We are relying on penalties or fouls in our box for goal, we’re not creating goals.
“It’s frustrating when you see it because you know how these players can play, because you see it for their clubs, but they play differently for the national team.”
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