England 4-0 Iceland: Phil Foden scores twice as England sweep aside 10-man Iceland in Nations League
Phil Foden starred for England with two goals as they thrashed 10-man Iceland 4-0 at Wembley; visitors had Birkir Mar Saevarsson sent off after Declan Rice and Mason Mount had put England in control in their final Nations League fixture
Comment and Analysis
Wednesday 18 November 2020 22:12, UK
Phil Foden struck twice as England’s young stars shone in a 4-0 thrashing of 10-man Iceland in the Nations League at Wembley on Wednesday.
England were unable to qualify for the competition’s knockout phase following Sunday’s defeat to Belgium but the players were intent on finishing on a high, and after first-half goals from Declan Rice (20) and Mason Mount (24) got the ball rolling, Foden cashed in when Birkir Mar Saevarsson was sent off on 54 minutes.
Each goal scorer is 21 or under and there will be hope that trio, along with England’s other rising talents, can continue to improve and develop ahead of next summer’s European Championships, where they will need to overcome far stronger opposition than this Iceland side.
With Belgium’s 4-2 win over Denmark in the group’s other fixture earning them top spot and a place in the Nations League finals, Gareth Southgate’s attentions will now turn to March’s World Cup qualifiers and Euro 2020, knowing there are still question marks over his best system and strongest XI.
England: Pickford (7), Trippier (7), Walker (6), Dier (7), Maguire (8), Saka (7), Rice (7), Mount (8), Grealish (7), Foden (9), Kane (7).
Subs: Winks (7), Mings (6), Abraham (6), Sancho (7), Maitland-Niles (n/a)
Iceland: Kristinsson (7), Saevarsson (3), Ingason (4), Arnason (6), Hermannsson (5), Sigurjonsson (5), Bjarnason (5), Palsson (6), Skulason (5), Gudmundsson (7), Bodvarsson (6).
Subs: Halldorsson (6), Sigthorsson (5), Eyjolfsson (5), Johannesson (n/a), Thorsteinsson (5)
Man of the match: Phil Foden
How England finished with a win…
Despite England being guaranteed third in Group A2 and Iceland already relegated, it was feisty early on, with Saevarsson booked for clattering into Bukayo Saka and Kyle Walker shown a yellow for a similar challenge on Runar Mar Sigurjonsson inside the opening 13 minutes.
It was a foul which led to England breaking the deadlock, too, with Victor Palsson clipping the impressive Jack Grealish on the edge of the area before Rice scored off his shoulder from Phil Foden’s free-kick for his first international goal.
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England would have doubled their lead almost instantly had Ogmundur Kristinsson not reacted well to Saka’s mis-kicked shot but they did not have to wait long for the second, with Mount reacting sharply to a loose ball in the box to slot home.
The waves of England attacks just kept on coming from that point with Harry Kane shooting over, Foden drilling at Kristinsson and then seeing another drive tipped round the post by the Iceland goalkeeper. Kane then dug out a low shot which deflected just past the woodwork before firing another effort wide of the far post.
England’s task got easier after the break when Saevarsson was shown a second yellow card and sent off for a tug on Saka on 54 minutes, although it was Iceland next to go close, with Kari Arnason heading wide from a corner after losing Walker.
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Arnason was back on defensive duty soon after, though, cutting out Grealish’s cutback for Kane, who continued to be frustrated until his substitution on 76 minutes – but then the goals flowed for Foden and England.
The first came from some brilliant wing play from substitute Jadon Sancho, who skipped into the box before teeing up Foden to sweep home (80), and the Man City midfielder made it two four minutes later, lashing into the bottom corner from 20 yards out.
There could have been more, with Harry Maguire trying his luck and Saka heading wide, but the final result reflected England’s dominance and ensured they go into the winter on a positive note as the preparations for next summer build.
Man of the Match: Phil Foden
Neat and tidy with his touch as ever – although perhaps deeper than he would have liked early on – but pinpoint with his free-kick assist for Rice’s opener and could have scored with a close-range drive on 30 minutes. Played in higher positions from then on and swept home with 10 minutes to play before crashing in a second. Then brought out the party tricks…
- England have won 20 of their last 22 competitive internationals at Wembley (L2), scoring 66 goals and conceding only eight.
- Iceland have lost all 10 of their UEFA Nations League matches, managing to score just four goals.
- England have won their two home international matches against Iceland by an aggregate score of 10-1.
- Phil Foden became the youngest player in England’s history to score more than once in a match at Wembley, aged 20 years and 174 days, breaking the record held by Bobby Charlton in May 1958 vs Portugal (20y 208d).
- England had three players aged 21 or younger score in the same match for the first time since February 1883 vs Ireland (William Cobbold, Oliver Whateley and Frank Pawson).
- Declan Rice became the first West Ham United player to score for England since Matthew Upson in June 2010 against Germany, and the second-youngest Hammers player to score for the Three Lions (21y 309d) after Joe Cole in June 2003 (21y 207d).
- Since his debut in September against Denmark, Jack Grealish has won 21 fouls for England, more than any other player, while only Kieran Tripper (10) has created more chances than Grealish in this time (9).
- England named four players aged 21 or younger (Saka, Foden, Rice and Mount) in their starting XI for a competitive international for the first time since November 1959 vs Northern Ireland in a Home Nations match.
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