ENG 1:2 ISL – a dramatic opening to this final last 16 tie at the Allianz Riviera in Nice set the tone for an entertaining, end-to-end clash between a stuttering England side and the tournament’s surprise package, Iceland. After good play on the right, Daniel Sturridge played the ball into Raheem Sterling who made the most of a clumsy challenge by Iceland keeper Hannes Þór Halldórsson to win a penalty. England captain Wayne Rooney fired the ball low into the corner of the net to out his side one up. The lead lasted 35 seconds. A long throw from Aron Gunnarsson was flicked on by Kári Árnason for his centre back partner Ragnar Sigurðsson to thrash the ball into the England net. Terrible defending from England, Rooney not bothering to put in a challenge with Árnason, and Kyle Walker not tracking the run of Sigurðsson. England tried to force themselves into the lead once again with Dele Alli connecting sweetly with a volley that zipped just over the bar. Harry Kane then threatened with another long range strike. The best football of the game put Strákarnir okkar ahead – Birkir Bjarnason combining well with Gylfi Sigurdsson and Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson around the edge of the box to lay the ball in for Kolbeinn Sigþórsson to get a weak, low shot away that inexplicably squirmed under the hand of Joe Hart. Another mistake from the Manchester City FC stopper and more horrendous defending from England, who also quickly seemed to run out of ideas going forward – Rooney’s poor set pieces meant Kane took over once again, and Sturridge and Sterling failed to get beyond their fullbacks once. Guðmundsson and Sigurdsson were getting the better of Rooney and Alli in the centre of the park, Iceland scrapping for every ball. Roy Hodgson‘s only change at half time was to bring Jack Wilshere, dreadful in the tournament so far, on for Eric Dier. Tactically nothing changed and England wasted 15 minutes struggling to once again breakdown a stubbornly prepared Icelandic side. Ragnar Sigurðsson could have put his side further ahead when another long throw dropped to him but his acrobatic effort was straight at the England keeper Hart. Finally Hodgson changed tactics and went 4-4-2 with Jamie Vardy coming on for Sterling. But Iceland were in complete control. Their experience in midfield stifled any England threat from deep, the immense Ragnar Sigurðsson impenetrable at the back. Good link up play from Kane and Vardy brought the tackle of the tournament from FC Krasnodar‘s Ragnar Sigurðsson as Vardy looked to equalise. Cahill was thrown up front for England but Iceland kept coming, Gunnarsson forcing a stop from Hart, and Árnason nodding the resulting corner narrowly wide. They were not to be beaten. Dreamland for a bold, valiant, fearless Icelandic side who gave absolutely everything to their cause. They deserved their win and now set up an iconic tie against hosts France in a mouthwatering quarter final. Brilliant stuff from Iceland, any one who questions the new tournament format just needs to watch this game and see its value.