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Football

08th Jun 2024

Gareth Southgate responds to England being booed off after Iceland defeat 

Callum Boyle

England Euro 2024

Wembley wasn’t impressed

England’s final game before Euro 2024 was a disappointing anti-climax as they fell to defeat against Iceland.

Jon Dagur Thorsteinsson’s 12th-minute goal was enough to separate the two sides as the Three Lions produced a lacklustre performance just eight days before their first game of the Euros against Serbia.

Gareth Southgate named a strong side that included the likes of John Stones, Declan Rice and Harry Kane but none of them could get firing and were greeted with boos from the 81,000 or so inside Wembley come full time.

The Three Lions are among the bookies’ favourites to win the tournament this year – although performances like that will see them head for a much earlier exit.

Despite the disappointing result Southgate insists his side “will be ready for Serbia” on June 16.

“I’m confident we will be better than we were tonight against Serbia in our opening game,” the England boss said.

“I completely understand that we didn’t play well enough to keep the crowd excited. You would like a good performance and a crowd that’s been entertained to leave them on a high before the Euros and clearly we weren’t at the level we needed to be.

“It was a far from ideal night and I’m not going to dress up the disappointment as something else, so we have to stay calm because we will be better against Serbia. In a way it will focus the mind and it shows that any complacency, or thinking that talent alone is going to get us this trophy, won’t be enough. We have to be spot-on to win every game at this level. Iceland deserved to win, but it will focus our minds that we have to do better next weekend.

“It was a disjointed and disappointing performance and we didn’t show enough character. It’s not perfect but I’ve been involved in a lot of these last matches before a tournament as a player as well. No excuses for the result but there’s a lot of things we can put right quickly. There were questions asked that we weren’t able to answer.”

Southgate provides Stones update

Another worrying sign for England supporters was seeing John Stones come off at half time.

Southgate has already lost one of his first choice centre backs in Harry Maguire to injury and the sight of seeing Stones removed would’ve left a few England fans fearing the worst but Southgate has said it was cautionary more than anything and the Manchester City star should be in contention for the game in Gelsenkirchen next Sunday.

“We think he’s probably ok but we didn’t want to take any chance,” said the England boss.

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