While Iceland continue to enjoy a fairytale run in their first-ever European Championship appearance, England have suffered what will go down as one of their most humiliating defeats ever. No manager could possibly survive such a defeat, and English manager Roy Hodgson knew it.
Following a shocking 2-1 defeat in the round of 16 at the Euros on Monday, Hodgson wasted no time stepping down, finalizing his legacy as a coach who struggled in major tournaments at the helm of the Three Lions.
"I know we are in the results business," Hodgson said. "Now is the time for someone else to oversee the progress of this young, hungry, group. They’ve been fantastic and did everything I have asked of them."
The move is hardly a surprise for English fans. Hodgson’s contract was set to expire at the end of the tournament and the expectations were clear: The head of England’s Football Association said Hodgson would only earn an extension if England "do well."
An exit in the Round of 16 at the hands of minnow Iceland clearly did not meet that standard. That’s not to say that Iceland haven’t looked like a team that belongs, but the fact remains that Iceland, in their first-ever Euro, is a country of just 320,000 and England’s population is nearly 190 times bigger.
Hodgson had been floundering on the big stage seemingly since he took the job in 2012. Under his leadership, England managed just three wins across two Euro tournaments and a World Cup. When England were knocked out of the 2014 World Cup in the group stage, it was their worst World Cup since 1958.
Fans had become fed up with Hodgson’s roster selections, with his decision to make six changes from his full-strength starting lineup against Slovakia in this Euros particularly coming under fire. That match ended in a poor 0-0 draw and the FA made their displeasure with his risk-taking apparent.
Hodgson’s time with England wasn’t all bad. To his credit, he helped the English team develop a crop of up-and-coming players for the future, notably giving players like Harry Kane, Dele Alli, and Marcus Rashford their first opportunities on the international level.
His record in qualifying was pristine, having qualified for Euro 2016 winning every match, and his overall record finished having won 33 of his 56 games at the helm. But for the English, an inconsolable pain remains: They still have never won a knockout game abroad at a Euros in eight attempts.
On Monday, England were off to a promising start when Wayne Rooney scored from the penalty spot in the fourth minute. But Iceland equalized a mere two minutes later when Kari Arnason flicked on a long throw-in and, as the England defense was caught out of position, Ragnar Sigurdsson volleyed in at the back post.
By the 18th minute, Iceland pulled ahead for what would become the final score. Kolbeinn Sigthorsson was given too much time and space, and goalkeeper Joe Hart got his hand on the ball, but couldn’t keep it out.
As Arnason put it: "This is without a doubt the biggest result in Icelandic football history. We’ve shocked the world."
Now, with England out of the Euro 2016, the focus shifts to finding a new coach who can help a crestfallen soccer country rebound.