Iceland 2-1 England - Roy Hodgson resigns

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Roy Hodgson after England's loss to Iceland

Hodgson’s contract was due to expire after the tournament and following the match in Nice, he read a pre-prepared statement at his post-game press conference in which he said that he would not be seeking to continue.

“I would have loved to stay on for another two years. However, I am pragmatic and I know we are in the results business,” said the 68-year-old, who succeeded Fabio Capello as manager in 2012.

“My contract was always up after the Euros, so now is the time for someone else to oversee the progress of this young, hungry and extremely talented group of players.”

Hodgson left the press conference room immediately after reading out his statement and a Football Association press officer said that he would not be performing any other media interviews. Hodgson said that his assistants, Ray Lewington and former Manchester United captain Gary Neville, would also be standing aside.


Monday’s result at the Stade de Nice, against a team from a country with a population of just 330,000 and with no previous tournament experience, brought a miserable end to Hodgson’s four-year tenure.










Appointed manager following Capello’s abrupt resignation in May 2012, he led England to a creditable quarter-final finish at Euro 2012, where they lost on penalties to eventual finalists Italy. But the 2014 World Cup in Brazil was a disaster, as England crashed out after just two matches in their worst tournament performance since the 1958 World Cup.


He was allowed to remain in his role, but despite a youthful England team qualifying for Euro 2016 with a perfect record of 10 wins, they once again fell apart at a major tournament.


“I’m extremely disappointed of course about tonight’s result and ultimately our exit from the competition,” Hodgson said.


“We haven’t progressed as far as I thought we were capable of, and that’s obviously not acceptable.




“I’m actually proud of the work my coaching staff and I have achieved over our time at the helm of England.


“The transition from the squad whose average age was 30 to now being the youngest in the tournament is both remarkable and exciting for the future of English football.”


He added: “I’m sorry it’s had to end this way with another exit from the tournament.


“These things happen. All I can do is wish everybody all the very best and hope that you will still be able to see an England team in a final of a major tournament fairly soon.


“We’ve been unable to deliver. Thank you very much.”




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#360view: Messi needs time off but must return for Argentina

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Lionel Messi.

Lionel Messi’s relationship with the Argentina national team has always been complex and one that has undergone severe strain over the years. It’s never come close to being the seamless marriage he’s enjoyed with Barcelona.

But even so, for the best player in the world, and arguably the greatest of all time, no one envisaged an exit from the international stage quite so despondent and premature.

Messi’s announcement to retire from international football after Argentina’s Copa America final defeat to Chile on Monday came as a shock for a variety of reasons.

A player of his stature, always deserved to ride off into the sunset with a major honour or two under his belt. However, if this was indeed his final bow, it was one dominated by despair and more deplorably, resignation.

One can certainly sympathize with the five-time Ballon d’Or winner. He’s consistently played in over 50 games a season for the last eight years. He hasn’t simply featured in those games either, he’s performed at an incredibly high level, scoring over 460 goals in the process.

At some point, something’s got to give and the alarm bells have certainly been ringing of late. Having to play two Copa Americas and a World Cup in the last three years, Messi, who had previously enjoyed a relatively injury-free career, has been struck down by muscle injuries.

Between Barcelona and the demands of the national team, Messi’s last three footballing seasons have comprised of a challenging 11 months each. Amidst it all, the Argentine has done some truly exceptional things on the field, moments that make you question whether he’s even from the same planet as the rest of us.

When you consider just how much football he’s played and the magical performances he’s churned out in spite of it, his planet of origin is only further shrouded in doubt.

It’s not just the sheer amount of football which would have taken its toll on Messi, it’s the weight of expectation that goes along with it. The last three years have been particularly decimating in terms of the physical and mental strain he’s had to cope with.

Not only did Messi finish as a runner-up with Argentina in a major tournament for three years straight (2014 World Cup, 2015 & 2016 Copa America), two of those finals were decided by the cruelty of a penalty shootout while all three went to extra-time.

If all of that doesn’t wear you down, nothing will.

As disconsolate as he would’ve been in the dressing room after that emotionally sapping defeat to Chile, there is still a glimmer of hope that the world may see Messi in an Argentina shirt again.

What is irrefutable is that the 29-year-old desperately needs a break. Opting out of international action for the time being would do him a world of good.

He may just need some time away from La Albiceleste to rest, recharge his batteries and gain some perspective. Perhaps he will, with the help of the ones he holds dearest, eventually remind himself of what it means to represent your country. With the pressure to win that he’s been burdened with from the media, fans and pundits, he may have lost sight of that at the moment.

Following his retirement at the end of the 2004 European Championship, Zinedine Zidane returned for the 2006 World Cup and carried France to the final, winning the Golden Ball in the process – although, that enticing narrative ended in heartache as well.

In the depths of despair, and arguably the darkest hour of his career, he may have felt so dejected and perhaps even cursed, that he decided he’d had enough. But if he doesn’t return, he could eventually regret his decision not to persevere against all odds and be defiant to the end.

He must remain driven by the pursuit of that one glorious moment that can make all the pain and heart-break worth it. If he were to win the 2018 World Cup, it would be his finest achievement, but if he backs out for good, he surrenders the opportunity to exorcise his demons.

At this juncture though, no one should fault the Argentine for stepping back. Hopefully, his announcement was an emotionally infused knee-jerk reaction. However, if this is indeed him bidding farewell to the blue and white stripes, he is no more culpable. It would just be a desolate and quite frankly bleak ending to an international career that promised so much.

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Chile seal Copa America repeat withshoot out win over Argentina

Sport360 staff 27/06/2016
The finest of the Americas: Chile.

Chile retained the Copa America with a 4-2 victory over Argentina on penalties as the sides drew 0-0 after extra time at MetLife Stadium.

In a repeat final of last year when Chile also won on spot kicks both teams finished with 10 men in a bad-tempered clash as Argentina’s Marcos Rojo and Chile’s Marcelo Diaz saw red in the first half.

Lionel Messi and Lucas Biglia missed penalties for Argentina in the shootout to hand Chile their second Copa title and La Albiceleste have now gone 23 years without a major title.

The early stages had a physical element to them with Messi and Angel Di Maria both being victims of heavy challenges as Chile looked to make their presence felt.

Diaz became the first of seven players to go into the book for a rash challenge on Messi 35 yards out in the 17th minute. Messi’s tame free-kick was then easily gathered by Claudio Bravo.

Quick feet from Di Maria created an inch of space for himself but he sliced his shot at goal over the bar.

Gonzalo Higuain then had a wonderful opportunity to open the scoring in the 23rd minute, bursting clear of the Chile defence but as Bravo held his ground, Higuain poked his shot wide.

Argentina were enjoyed the bulk of possession – and chances – and Nicolas Otamendi glanced a header wide from a Messi free-kick.

Chile were reduced to 10 men in the 28th minute when Diaz was harshly shown a second yellow card for blocking Messi.

Bravo then had to sprawl across his goal to turn away another effort from Di Maria as Argentina continued to dominate the game.

Argentina’s Javier Mascherano and Chile’s Arturo Vidal were booked after some pushing and shoving in the penalty box and moments later Messi followed them into the book for diving under minimal contact from a Chile defender.

And three minutes before the break La Albiceleste were reduced to 10 men themselves when Rojo was shown a straight red card after going through the back of Vidal.

Higuain was again presented with a great chance in the 56th minute but his turn and shot from 10 yards out did not test Bravo.

Messi picked out substitute Sergio Aguero with 16 minutes of normal time remaining but the Manchester City frontman blazed his effort high and wide.

Sergio Romero was called on to make his first save of the game after 79 minutes as Eduardo Vargas escaped down the right but shot straight at the goalkeeper from an acute angle.

Aguero then fired another effort well over the bar as the game went into extra time.

Romero had to be sharp in the first period of extra time to pluck Vargas’ diving header out of the air then at the other end Bravo pulled off a brilliant save to tip Aguero’s header over the bar.

The sides could not be separated in the second period of extra time and the game went to a shootout where Vidal saw Romero save his attempt.

Messi blasted high and wide and Bravo saved Biglia’s kick leaving Francisco to fire home the winning penalty and give Chile a second straight title.

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