• Iceland stuns England in one of greatest ever shocks

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    Iceland’s defender Ragnar Sigurdsson (right) shoots a goal past England’s goalkeeper Joe Hart during Euro 2016 round-of-16 match in Nice. AFP PHOTO

    Iceland’s defender Ragnar Sigurdsson (right) shoots a goal past England’s goalkeeper Joe Hart during Euro 2016 round-of-16 match in Nice. AFP PHOTO

    NICE: England were dealt a humi­-liating 2-1 defeat by minnows Iceland on Monday (Tuesday in Manila) as Roy Hodgson’s side crashed out of Euro 2016 in one of the most stunning upsets in the history of the game.

    Ragnar Sigurdsson cancelled out Wayne Rooney’s fourth-minute opener before Kolbeinn Sigthors­son’s tame shot squirmed past England goalkeeper Joe Hart for an 18th-minute winner.

    Three days on from Britain’s vote to leave the European Union, England followed the country’s lead by exiting Europe, their quest for a first title since the 1966 World Cup doomed to continue.

    It ranked alongside their 1-0 loss to the part-timers of the United States at the 1950 World Cup and sent Iceland, appearing at their first major tournament, into a glamour quarterfinal with hosts France.

    England manager Roy Hodgson is now almost certain to lose his job, with Football Association chairman Greg Dyke having said recently that the team would have to “do well” in France for him to be offered a new contract.

    Ironically, Hodgson’s fate was sealed by his former protege Lars Lagerback — Iceland’s joint coach alongside Heimir Hallgrimsson — who began his coaching career under the Englishman’s tutelage in Sweden in the late 1970s.

    As expected, Hodgson made six changes to his starting XI at a muggy Stade de Nice, which included a recall for Raheem Sterling.

    The Manchester City forward was criticised for some insipid group-stage displays, but he made an excellent start, racing onto Daniel Sturridge’s fine pass and drawing a foul from Iceland goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson.

    Rooney planted the penalty into the bottom-left corner to crown his 115th England appearance — which tied David Beckham’s record for an outfield player — with a 53rd international goal.

    Italy dump Spain to set up epic Euro 2016 clash
    In Paris, Giorgio Chiellini and Graziano Pelle scored as Italy exacted revenge for their Euro 2012 final hammering by dumping Spain out of Euro 2016 with a deserved 2-0 last 16 win.

    The landmark victory set up an epic Italy-Germany quarterfinal.

    Chiellini forced home the first goal from close range after goalkeeper David de Gea could only parry Eder’s fiercely struck free-kick. Pelle volleyed in a deflected cross in injury time to complete Spain’s heartbreak.

    Outgoing Italian manager Antonio Conte danced along the Stade de France touchline to celebrate while his players credited his tactics for the win.

    “Mr. Conte is so important as a coach because he can implement a gameplan and he becomes more important with every match,” said defender Leonardo Bonucci.

    “This process which started two years ago has been essential.”

    After crashing out of the World Cup in the first round, Vicente del Bosque’s team have now failed to get to the Euro quarterfinals.

    “We have to accept the disappointment. They were more clinical than us when it mattered and got the better of us,” playmaker Andres Iniesta told Spanish television.

    A series of De Gea saves kept Spain in the game, but their quest for an unprecedented third consecutive Euro title peetered out as Gianluigi Buffon saved from Iniesta and Gerard Pique late on to set up a mouthwatering quarterfinal clash with Germany on Saturday (Sunday in Manila) in Bordeaux.

    Spain had lost just one of their previous 11 meetings with Italy, including a 4-0 win in the Euro 2012 final. But the Azzurri was by far the better side in the opening 45 minutes and could have been more than one goal up at the break.

    De Gea had been much-criticized for his performance as Spain’s 15-game unbeaten in the Euros came to an end with a 2-1 defeat to Croatia which cost them top spot in Group D.

    AFP

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