Hodgson pays price for sorry England mess

“He was one of the best defenders in the world. He will know Iceland’s strength at set-pieces, so surely he has been working on defending them all week.”

Joey Barton, the Rangers midfielder, commented acerbically on Twitter that “the Neville myth has exploded”.

Confirming that the malaise affected the whole team, the winning goal was the fault of goalkeeper Joe Hart, who could only palm Kolbeinn Sigthorsson’s 18th-minute strike into the net.

Pressed to explain what had happened, England captain Rooney was at a loss.

“We knew they were dangerous from set-pieces and throw-ins,” he said.

“We didn’t deal with that well enough. We prepared and did everything we could and it hasn’t worked for us.”

England brought the second-youngest squad in the tournament to France and in his resignation statement, Hodgson said the line-up was “exciting for the future of English football”.

The Football Association announced that it will discuss plans to appoint a successor “imminently”.

Whoever succeeds Hodgson will inherit a squad rich in youthful promise, with players like Rashford, Kane, Dele Alli and Eric Dier all still relative newcomers at international level.

Gareth Southgate, the England Under-21 manager, tops an underwhelming list of potential successor, with Crystal Palace manager Alan Pardew and Neville also said to be in the running.

Rooney voiced optimism that the “future is bright” for England, but as their team’s fans drifted into the Nice night, even the most optimistic would have struggled to see through the gloom.

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