Belfast Telegraph

England keeper Hart sorry after blunder sums up horror night against Iceland

By Paul Burrows

England goalkeeper Joe Hart has shouldered responsibility for the Three Lions' 2-1 defeat to Iceland at Euro 2016. The Manchester City stopper admitted that he should have kept out Kolbeinn Sigthorsson's goal in the 18th minute, the strike that sent England crashing out of the competition.

"I apologise to the fans, that's a shot I should save and it's my fault we are out," Hart said.

"Yes, we are a downbeat group of players, understandably after what's happened but we've only got ourselves to blame. We took the lead and let two quick goals in.

"I have not been up to the standards I have set myself or the country requires for this tournament and I can only apologise for that.

"After that we just couldn't find a way of getting through. It's not down to a lack of application, effort, passion or desire.

"It just wasn't meant to be, it's very tough to answer, very tough right now. Like I say, all the effort and preparation went in and we didn't perform and like I say myself personally didn't perform to the level that's required."

Wayne Rooney's fourth-minute penalty had his side in the driving seat but Iceland equalised within a minute as England failed to deal with a trademark long throw and Ragnar Sigurdsson bundled home from close range. Sigthorsson's winner summed up England's disastrous night.

England captain Rooney admitted he felt that he and his players let their manager Roy Hodgson down.

"I'll be interested to see who the next manager is. If selected, I'll certainly be there," said Rooney.

"We can't forget he's brought a lot of young players through and I think the future's bright for England.

"Unfortunately it hasn't happened in this tournament but hopefully, in the future there's good things to come and although it's difficult to say and see that now, I think Roy has been good to the players and I'll be thanking him."

Former England winger Chris Waddle was frustrated that 18-year-old Marcus Rashford - an 86th-minute replacement for his Manchester United team-mate Rooney - was the most dangerous-looking player.

He said: "The best player going forward for England was Rashford and what did he play, five minutes? He took the ball, he ran at defenders, he committed himself... If he does that in training and you play a guy who's got no confidence, why doesn't he start Rashford?

"To me, they (Iceland) are an honest, genuine 1980s football team; 4-4-2, not bothered about possession, hit the ball forward, set-pieces, old school. England can't deal with that.

"They may say they drew with Portugal, but Portugal had six or seven chances compared to England's one. England don't even have the chance to say when they walk off the field, 'we were sloppy in front of goal again'. You weren't, you didn't even create anything, nothing."

Belfast Telegraph