It was a performance that was beyond belief and yet, in many ways, England’s exit from Euro 2016, losing 2-1 to Iceland in the round of 16, has come as no surprise.
On and off the pitch, England were rudderless, abject, clueless and uninspired.
As good as Iceland were (and they were by far the better team), the loss for England will go down as one of the most embarrassing results at a major tournament, ranking alongside the 1-0 loss to a USA side in the 1950 World Cup, who were made up of amateur and semi-professional players.
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England have truly resembled their manager on the pitch at the Euros with four desperate performances that had seen them win just one game, draw two and lose one against teams who set out to defend deep and counter.
Hodgson’s squad selection appeared to be bold, with five strikers selected but, as it has transpired, Hodgson had no clear plan to utilise the attacking options available to him as he persisted with playing with just one lone striker and using Daniel Sturridge and Marcus Rashford on the wings, with Wayne Rooney dropping into midfield.
Against Iceland, with England chasing the game, Hodgson brought on Jack Wilshere at the start of the second half which was hardly an inspiring attacking substitution.
Hodgson’s obsession with the Arsenal midfielder was justified back in 2015 when Wilshere scored two excellent goals in a qualification game against Slovenia but since that game the 24-year-old has barely played due to injury and this was evident as England fans saw Jordan Henderson, Adam Lallana and Ross Barkley (who didn’t get on the pitch in the whole campaign) left on the bench.
Another bemusing move from the highest paid manager at the Euros was waiting until the 85th minute to bring on the 18-year-old Marcus Rashford.
With a horrendously poor Harry Kane, anonymous Daniel Sturridge and an ineffective Jamie Vardy, Hodgson stood on the sideline looking like a man who had a resignation speech safely tucked away in his jacket pocket.
Rashford, who should really have been shielded from the entire experience, did at least offer some hope for the eight minutes that he was on the pitch, but he was, like the rest of the England team, shut down expertly by a well-organised wall of Icelandic defence.
The reality is that for all Hodgson’s positivity, he never truly knew his best starting line-up.
His chopping and changing of players for the games against Slovakia and Iceland are a testament to his muddled thinking at the tournament.
The teams who will be appearing in the quarter-finals are all teams who have a settled team who have played the majority of minutes during the tournament.
England were anything but a settled team
Hodgson is a highly respected figure in the footballing world and he has a career that he can look back on with some satisfaction, but his England tenure has been anything but satisfying.
In his closing speech after the Iceland game, the now former England manager declared that he was proud of his four years in charge of the national side - a statement just as muddled as his tactical decisions.
Aside from incorporating a number of talented young players into the squad for Euro 2016 (who also failed to perform under him), Hodgson’s tournament experience has been very poor.
In 2012, England were knocked out in the quarter-finals of the Euros having qualified from their group, losing to the eventual runners-up, Italy on penalties.
The 2014 World Cup was even worse as the Three Lions failed to qualify from their group as Luis Suarez succeeded in embarrassing them in the second group game to all but eliminate England.
2016 has been no better and, the excellent qualification round aside, Hodgson has failed to deliver in his job where so much had been expected of him.
The 68-year-old promised attacking football at Euro 2016 and he certainly had the players available to help deliver on this promise.
In the end, it was all too much for the players and the management team as Hodgson reverted to type and left his players confused and lacking direction.
The FA now have a mammoth task of finding a manager who can get the best out of a young group of players who are likely to be at the lowest point of their careers.
There are English managers available to choose from and the FA should certainly consider another English appointment.
“Big” Sam Allardyce would give the England fans and players a passionate Mike Bassett type character with the ability to get his team playing effective football (something that would have been beneficial on Monday night).
There are younger English options available to the FA as well with Burnley’s Sean Dyche and Eddie Howe proving their managerial credentials in recent times as well as their ability to man-manage players exceptionally.
The search is on and England fans are impatiently waiting for something to change with their national team as they look forward to the next tournament after yet another disappointment.
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