Southgate warns England against 'complacency' after Iceland loss

football07 June 2024 23:33| © Reuters
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Gareth Southgate © Gallo Images

England manager Gareth Southgate said his players would learn from a chastening defeat by Iceland on Friday as he warned that his side, one of the favourites for the European Championship, could not rely on talent alone to win the tournament.

Iceland, who spectacularly dumped England out in the last 16 of Euro 2016, belied their ranking of 72nd in the world with an impressive performance to win 1-0 against a below-par England.

The hosts' limp display just over a week before their tournament begins against Serbia in Gelsenkirchen, Germany drew boos from fans at Wembley at both halftime and fulltime – which Southgate said was a fair response to the game.

But the manager said the match could be a blessing in disguise as England, who lost the Euro 2020 final on penalties to Italy, seek to go one better in Germany.

"We had some very, very good chances that normally would be finished, which could've given a different complexion to the game," Southgate, 53, told reporters.

"But that might also have masked some flaws that were apparent tonight and from my perspective I've learned a lot from the game."

Asked if his plans for the tournament had been changed by the performance, Southgate said: "Not a huge amount because I think we haven't had the full group together on the pitch at any one point.

"But it does focus the mind, it does focus on how we have to drive the team, the sort of reaction we need, that any sort of complacency that talent is going get us this trophy and that we only have to stroll in – football isn't like that.

"You've got to be spot on in every aspect of the game to win any game at this level and we were a long way short of that tonight."