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Euro 2016 Iceland stun England to reach Euro 2016 quarter-finals

Iceland's remarkable Euro 2016 story continued as they came from behind to defeat England 2-1 and book a quarter-final meeting with hosts France.

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play Iceland knocks out England

Iceland's remarkable Euro 2016 story continued as they came from behind to defeat England 2-1 and book a quarter-final meeting with hosts France.

The small nation's players and supporters have won an abundance of admirers during their time at the finals, but many expected their tale to come to an end against Roy Hodgson's favourites.

Iceland players play Iceland players celebrate after the game (AFP/Getty Images )

 

And when Wayne Rooney put England ahead with a fourth-minute penalty, it looked as though Iceland had a mountain to climb if they were to extend their stay in France.

Wayne Rooney play Wayne Rooney celebrates after giving England the lead (Graham Chadwick)

 

But, in a dramatic opening to the game in Nice they found themselves ahead inside 20 minutes as Ragnar Sigurdsson equalised before Kolbeinn Sigthorsson benefited from another costly Joe Hart mistake.

Kolbeinn Sigthorsson play Kolbeinn Sigthorsson equalised for Iceland (Marc Atkins/Offside )

 

England pressed to get themselves back in the game, but as was the case against Slovakia in their final group game they struggled to break down stubborn opposition and it seems unlikely that Hodgson – out of contract after these finals – will continue as manager following more disappointment at a major tournament.

Kolbeinn Sigthorsson  play Kolbeinn Sigthorsson celebrates after scoring (Getty Images )

 

However, the headlines should belong to outsiders Iceland, whose sensational debut campaign at a major finals goes on, with a last-eight clash against the host nation in Paris on Sunday the next chapter in their fairytale.

Rooney had spoken in the build-up about England's need to find an early goal and it was the captain who provided exactly that from the spot.

Raheem Sterling – regarded by some as a surprise inclusion in place of Adam Lallana – was felled by a clumsy challenge from goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson and Rooney confidently tucked home from 12 yards.

Raheem Sterling and Hannes Halldorsson play Hannes Halldorsson fouls Raheem Sterling (EPA)

Wayne Rooney play Wayne Rooney gives England the lead through a penalty (AFP/Getty Images )

 

The lead lasted less than 90 seconds, however, as Kari Arnason flicked on Aron Gunnarsson's long throw and Sigurdsson smashed in from close range.

Dele Alli fizzed a volley narrowly over as England pressed to regain the advantage, but it was Iceland who forged ahead to send their fans into raptures in the 18th minute.

Neat interplay on the edge of the box saw the ball worked into Sigthorsson, whose effort squirmed into the bottom-right corner via the hand of Hart.

Kolbeinn Sigthorsson play Kolbeinn Sigthorsson celebrates with teammates after scoring the winning goal for Iceland (Graham Chadwick)

 

As England responded Daniel Sturridge teed up Harry Kane, whose thumping volley was tipped over by Halldorsson, but Hodgson's side remained frustrated until the break.

Things almost got worse for England 10 minutes after the restart as Sigurdsson's overhead kick from close range was straight at Hart as the defence showed its frailties against the set-piece once more.

Alli blazed wildly over from Sturridge's deflected cross on the hour, but as the game wore on England's play became more frantic and they were unable to put the Iceland backline under any concerted pressure.

Joe Hart play Joe Hart (PA)

 

Kane headed weakly at Halldorsson with 11 minutes remaining, while Hart saved smartly from Gunnarsson at the other end.

Wayne Rooney and Joe Hart play Wayne Rooney and Joe Hart (AFP/Getty Images )

 

Iceland were perhaps expecting an England onslaught in the closing moments, but it never arrived as they celebrated wildly at full-time, while Hodgson and his players were left to contemplate a humiliating exit.

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