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British media decry "clueless" England after loss to Iceland

LONDON (Reuters) - England’s newspapers reacted with outrage to the country’s 2-1 defeat to Iceland at Euro 2016, condemning the performance as “clueless” and “confused” and pouring scorn on departed manager Roy Hodgson.

Football Soccer - England v Iceland - EURO 2016 - Round of 16 - Stade de Nice, Nice, France - 27/6/16England's Dele Alli in action with Iceland's Hannes Halldorsson REUTERS/Eric GaillardLivepic

“They lacked leadership from Roy Hodgson here. They lacked composure. They lacked guile. They lacked a Plan B and Plan A was hardly inspiring,” wrote Henry Winter in The Times on Tuesday.

“The lacking were deservedly sent packing by a more intelligent, committed, organised Iceland. Europe will not miss this England.”

Goals from Ragnar Sigurdsson and Kolbeinn Sigthorsson in Nice on Monday were enough to lead tournament debutants Iceland to a quarter-final clash with hosts France, with the loss costing Hodgson his job.

British media held back nothing on Tuesday with the headlines proclaiming the loss as not only “embarrassing” but also “the ultimate humiliation.”

The Daily Mail’s Martin Samuel said Monday’s display was “as confused and ineffectual as any England have delivered at a major tournament to date,” and was more humiliating than the 1-0 World Cup defeat to the United States in 1950.

In the Daily Telegraph Paul Hayward blamed Hodgson for his muddled team selection, condemning the inclusion of Raheem Sterling, a player whose confidence, Hayward said, was “shot to bits”.

“At no stage did Hodgson seem clear about his best starting XI. Bringing on the eager and lively Marcus Rashford for five minutes at the end against Iceland was his final questionable act on a very long list,” wrote Hayward.

The failure of England’s players to even carve out a second-half chance was highlighted, with The Guardian picking out a woeful effort from Harry Kane, one of the players of the season in the Premier League.

“One moment typified England’s inadequacies midway through the second half. England had a free kick 40 yards out and Kane insisted on shooting from an almost implausible distance, aiming his effort harmlessly wide and, again, attracting voluble dissent from the fans packed behind the goal,” it said.

The Sun was characteristically irreverent, describing the team as “Ice wallies” and criticising the performance of Joe Hart, who conceded his second soft goal of the tournament.

“It was Hart’s left hand which failed to keep out a Gareth Bale free kick and once again, same hand, same result,” wrote Charlie Wyatt.

The BBC’s chief soccer writer Phil McNulty said the players would need to take a look at themselves under a new manager.

“The ultimate responsibility lies with the manager but, make no mistake, he was badly let down by players capable of so much better,” McNulty wrote.

“Hodgson will take the blame and has paid the price but these highly paid Premier League players should not escape criticism.”

Harry Redknapp, the former Tottenham Hotspur manager, wrote in the Daily Telegraph that he had no faith in the Football Association to appoint the right successor.

“Can anyone trust the FA to get the right man? They gave the job to Hodgson and he has failed spectacularly for the last two tournaments, or even three if you consider Euro 2012.”

Writing by Neil Robinson; editing by Clare Fallon

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