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Published 07 June 2024 4 min read
England Men's Senior Team

Gareth Southgate reviews defeat to Iceland at Wembley

Written by:

Adam Drury

The Three Lions boss discusses where his side must improve after losing their final EUROs warm-up

Read the match report

Gareth Southgate admitted England were not good enough in their 1-0 defeat to Iceland at Wembley but says he has learned a lot from the game.

The Three Lions were unable to break down their visitors, who took the lead early and held onto their one-goal lead.

But Southgate believes his side will be better for the match.

He said: "We know the performance wasn't good enough but I think we needed the game. So many of the players needed the game.

Gareth Southgate watches on as England play Iceland at Wembley
Gareth Southgate watches on as England play Iceland at Wembley

"There are a lot of players whose minutes we are managing who have had a break since the end of the club season where you are trying to refresh them but they are out of rhythm. It was obviously a disjointed and disappointing performance and we didn't show enough character.

"Actually I think it is a really good focus for us ahead of the tournament. Everybody is saying we are going to go there and walk through and have no problems and the reality of international football isn't that. We have got to be far better without the ball than we were today and then we have to show more composure."

Southgate explained in more detail what he thought went wrong at Wembley.

He said: "Across the two games we haven't had probably our full side out at any one point. It has been strange preparation. We are having to get players off after an hour when you would really be pushing to try and turn the result around.

"It is not perfect but I have been involved in these last matches going into a tournament as a player and inevitably players have one eye on what is coming in terms of some of the early challenges. No excuses on the result, we have to be better than that but there are a lot of things we can put right pretty quickly.

"We didn't get our pressing right and we were too stretched without the ball. There were questions asked that we weren't able to answer. No matter how much talent you have with the ball, if your out of possession game isn't right then it can make it feel like you've not got a foothold in the game.

"We will be ready. Obviously tonight hasn't gone as we hoped but I said to the players at the beginning of this 45-odd days we will spend together, not every day is going to go as we want it. Tonight is one of those but we need to stay very calm."