England 4-0 Iceland
England ended their UEFA Nations League campaign on a decent note when they cruised to a 4-0 win over Iceland last Wednesday evening.
Despite being level with Denmark on points with 10 apiece, the Danes’ advantage in the goal difference proved to be the key factor for England’s dashed hopes.
England’s UEFA Nations League 2020 odds of advancing to the semfinals were essentially broken when they suffered back-to-back losses against Belgium and Denmark.
So coming into this game, Gareth Southgate’s objective was to conclude their run with a victory and at the same time, give his younger players more playing time on the pitch.
That plan worked into perfection as young Premier League standouts Mason Mount, Declan Rice, and Phil Foden poured in the goals for this contest.
All of them surely proved their worth in the rotation, and that should give Gareth Southgate food for thought as they prepare for future international competitions.
On the other hand, Iceland end their tough campaign on a whimper. They have hit rock bottom as they are now relegated to playing in League B next term.
While this game has no bearing for both of these clubs, SBOTOP football fans were treated to a ton of UEFA Nations League 2020 highlights. So today, let’s recap England’s superb performance.
Highlights of the game
With Jordan Henderson and Raheem Sterling nursing injuries, Gareth Southgate opted to go young in this game.
He inserted Declan Rice, Phil Foden, and Mason Mount into the starting XI, which also featured two of their in-form attackers in Jack Grealish and Harry Kane.
As for Iceland, Erik Hamren opted for a 5-3-2 formation as a way to try and prevent the Three Lions from having their way, but that just wasn’t simply the case.
After taking control from the get-go, England broke the game wide open when Declan Rice and Mason Mount scored within a span of five minutes.
Rice glanced in a header after a set piece on the 20th minute, and Mount would score from close range in the 24th minute when he pounced on a loose ball in the penalty area.
Phil Foden would have his first crack at a goal when he was all alone inside the box during the 35th minute, but his low shot went a bit too wide on the right side.
Harry Kane tried to join in the scoring party when he curled a shot from the middle two minutes later, but that shot too went wide.
Iceland’s misery compounded in the second half when Bukayo Saka drew a second yellow card from defender Birkir Mar Saevarsson. The 36-year-old was already given his first yellow in the first half after a clumsy tackle to Harry Maguire.
Fast forward to the 80th minute, Phil Foden would score his first goal for England when he received a beautiful pass from Jadon Sancho for a strike.
He would complete his brace to cap off England’s superb performance when he caught Iceland defenders off guard with a screamer from outside the penalty box during the 84th minute.
Despite their disappointing campaign, England remain virtually unbeatable playing in their home stadium at Wembley.
The Three Lions have won 20 of their last 22 games in the said arena, scoring 66 goals and only conceding eight.
They have dominated Iceland in their last two home international fixtures with an aggregate tally of 10-1. Iceland have lost all 10 of their UEFA Nations League matches.
Birkir Mar Saevarsson, who was sent off after two yellow cards, has played his 95th game for Iceland.
England had three players aged 21 or lower score in the same match for the first time since 1883. They also featured four players aged 21 or lower (Saka, Foden, Rice, and Mount) in the starting lineup for the first time since 1959.
Phil Foden was indeed the star of the night. The young Manchester City midfielder continues his redemption arc by being the youngest player in England’s history to score more than once in Wembley, breaking Bobby Charlton’s record back in 1958 (20 years, 174 days).
Declan Rice became the first West Ham United player to score for England since Matthew Upson in 2010, and he is the second youngest on that regard (21 years, 309 days).
Gareth Southgate’s side will now turn their focus to the Euro 2020 which will start in June 2021.
First on their list will be against Croatia on June 13th and then they will face Scotland and Czech Republic next.
Meanwhile for Iceland, they will take a hiatus as their players are now back with their respective mother clubs. Team manager Erik Hamren will have his work cut out for him as he tries to bolster their roster.
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