“I haven’t been this embarrassed by the English … since Friday.”


Broadcaster and Englishman Simon Allen invited some friends round to watch the England v Iceland game. Already on a low because of #Brexit, the day was about to get worse. Here, he shares his thoughts with Prost Amerika.

“I haven’t been this embarrassed by the English … since Friday.”

Simon Allen has had a week of disappointments, sporting and political;

Simon Allen has had a week of disappointments, sporting and political.

Many amateur comedians were hamming it up on my facebook page saying “will Britain leave the EU before England crash out of the Euros” and I just thought it was funny as no way in hell that people would vote to get out of the EU.

Of course they wouldn’t would they? Well that self inflicted wound came and went alongside a good chunk of my 401K (so thank you so much! I hope to return the favour one day!)

Of course the quintessential optimist in me, going into the match against Iceland was thinking that it would be a hard fought match but one easily won by a manager and his lads who had learned their lessons against some pretty “average” competition. Again I was thoroughly disappointed at at the decisions made by idiots.

I invited some friends around for a watch party.

I had served up some good old fashioned beans on toast. However, I substituted Heinz Baked Beans with Heinz Baked Beans with Chipotle and the toast with Persian Barbari Bread. On the table there was Olives from Spain, Greek Feta Cheese, One bottle of Celis (Belgian) and some Italian meats with German mustard.

The irony wasn’t lost on my guests who were just as surprised at the Brexit Vote as I was.

As with every England match, you go in with hopes of your team destroying the opposition and heading out of that particular stage with heads held high. It’s a feeling every Three Lions fan has had in his or her lifetime but during the Euros this feeling has been very muted and replaced by a cautious reserve. “Well, we’re the second youngest squad in the tournament!” and “This is the training for the next big tournament.” have overtaken the standard “We’re gonna win it!”

The match started and I was taking notes in preparation for this article, something I hate doing as. I don’t write match recaps.

But I can’t be spoiled like that. It’s an England match against a plucky hardworking Iceland. You know all the facts about Iceland by now. The population size, the players, the Semi-Pro League…I won’t bore you with that…instead I will bore you with the knowledge that we were eating goat cheese on French bread when Wayne Rooney scored the penalty kick. Surely that was it. 1-nil and the match is ours. Right? Anyway….Here are my notes.

“After looking at the line up…Manager has NOT learned from previous matches (mistakes!)”

Harry Kane and Raheem Sterling started the match. Although Sterling was the player that actually got fouled in the box, he did nothing else for me to even think he was the same player that once put on a Liverpool jersey. Kane had been playing poorly, some blame him while other would say the blame rested in a midfield who weren’t providing the balls to his feet for him to adequately take shots on goals.

“43 seconds in Kyle Walker gets in a cross from the right side. The plan’s the same.”

So that’s the plan?

“5’15 Long throw in. Iceland #6 Sigurdson gets the goal. Walker totally lost his mark. Iceland defender scores his 2nd goal on his 60th cap”

“14’13 Rooney takes corner…ball flops around in the box…gets to Dele Alli who kicks it way over the goal. Easy days for Hannes Halldorsson”

Boring fact: it’s right about now where we decide to call the Deli and see if they have Icelandic meats available.

A very astute member of the party says “wouldn’t it be cool if the guy at the Deli was called Ali?” However the feeling had sunk in around the 14th minute that this England squad was not going to win this match if they kept the current tempo. Slow and unimaginative.

“17’54 Iceland score- another blunder by Joe Hart”

It’s over in our minds. Two of my guests were now on my balcony making phone calls.

“27’30 Sturridge; nice cross! Kane- Great Volley. GK saves it.”

That was the moment where I threw my note book at the TV and decided to get myself a sandwich. Three minutes later I decided to check up on my 401K (ugh!) and called a few people. I checked the exchange rate for Pounds to Dollars and went back to watch the rest of the match.

The discussion turned to why Adam Lallana wasn’t on the pitch to begin with. Nothing to do with Sterling not being a class player but more of something inside that player’s head since he moved to City that is causing something not to click.

Joe Hart seems to make a blunder in every tournament. Goalkeeping was not an issue going into this tournament but folks may be clamoring to find a replacement with a steadier head on his shoulders.

Before the tournament began, pundits all over the world were questioning the inclusion of Wayne Rooney.

Rooney showed great leadership on and off the pitch in France. However against Iceland this was not to be seen. There were no excuses to be had for his passing and handling of the ball. He misplaced ELEVEN passes. The question will arise again whether he should be chosen for the next match but it was without a doubt that without Rooney on the pitch, England would not have come this far.

And honestly your two choices are Rooney and Jack Wilshere…who would you pick?

Why in everything that is holy on earth did Roy choose Wilshere to even be on the squad?

The player had one competitive match under his belt from last season and no one had anyway of knowing if he was match fit or not. His inclusion was mind-boggling but actually seeing him on the pitch was frustrating. He was always a page behind the already slow team. This will be the “what-if” of this tournament, as in – What if he wasn’t there?

England lacked creativity, flair, imagination. Yes! We’re used to that right? But against Iceland they lacked pace, strength…that spirit to take on players one on one. Slovakia showed the world how to muffle any of England’s quality. To take out any small inkling of creativity. To stop the players from scoring. Iceland took that lesson and made sure they could score against them and control the game on top of that…England forgot how to tackle.

In the dying minutes of the match something positive happened.

My neighbour brought some more food over and Marcus Rashford came on and didn’t give two flying figs about anything and anyone and attacked the Icelandic box like his life depended on it. A little too late as the lad had no time left to do what most of the fans on social media were hoping would happen much earlier in the match. Hodgson who is paid 3.5 million pounds a year couldn’t quite figure out that Rashford should probably have started instead of sitting out most of the tournament. Lesson learned for the next guy who picks up the poisoned chalice.

So there you have it. Something that Three Lion’s fans have gotten painfully used to. Being beaten in later rounds of big tournaments. I would have argued ( a few weeks ago) that England still produces good young players as England won the Toulon Tournament in France but I don’t think I can. This group of young talent goes brought nothing to the table against Iceland. They were enabled by their manager but in a nutshell it was their names on the back of their jerseys.

Ian Darke said:

“Forget USA 1950-that’s the most embarrassing defeat in England History. Clueless and calamitous display to haunt English football forever.”

I agree and I hate it.

Defeat was unthinkable at the beginning of this match with so many players plying their trade in the EPL. Alan Shearer said:

“We’re obsessed by the Premier League…we’re not as good as we think we are…”

I don’t agree…the Premier League produces great players … for their domestic squads. For weeks to come, pundits, writers and fanboys will try and make heads and tails out of this result. In a nutshell, we can compare The Three Lions to The USA at Copa America. USA were not particularly good technically but they played with aggressiveness and passion. Something England sorely lacked. Italy has young players much like England but a manager that can get the best out of them.

My facebook comment reads:

“Didn’t think it could get lower than a bunch of low information voters voting for Britain to leave the EU, but I was mistaken. Abysmal showing from The Three Lions…embarrassed! No excuses whatsoever. England brought nothing to the table and England fans booing the team- deservedly so.

“Iceland showing the world how to a play a 4-4-2 and stick to a plan that works. Nothing but respect to a tiny nation that caused the biggest upset in Sports History. If you want to know the two things that will destroy English football…well…we’ve witnessed them both these past few days.”

I hope I’m wrong.

Right now…In Los Angeles…I’m a lad insane. Angry at the result. Lots more football to be played and a lot more people to make food for. The editor just asked me where this story is going. Much like the England National team…I don’t know. I’m off to the Pub. I haven’t been this embarrassed by the English … since Friday. I want to move on.

Simon can be heard on his weekly Worldwide Soccer Show. You can check it out here.

Also see:

Richard Fleming on England: Losing to Iceland is not a shock. We’re not that good and rarely have been

Prost Editorial: Assessing the USMNT in an angry soccer culture


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