Alan Shearer says that it will be the national team’s greatest ever embarrassment if England v Iceland ends in anything but a convincing win for England.
The former Newcastle and England Captain thinks that our players struggle to handle the responsibility of playing for their country and look a ‘shadow’ of the form they show for their club sides.
Much is said about the mentality of the likes of the German national side, where even when they don’t have the best team they are always competitive in the major tournaments.
It is a bit chicken and egg because winning breeds confidence and then that then helps produce further victories.
England have made a habit of comfortably qualifying for the Euros and World Cups against weaker opposition, only to then fold when it gets competitive.
Alan Shearer believes that not only do England need to beat Iceland comprehensively but then there is no excuse not to then go on and more than match France (win over Iceland tonight (8pm kick-off) would mean quarter final v France next Sunday night).
To do so (beat Iceland and France), would mean doing something twice that England have failed to ever do in the history of the Euros. England have never won a knockout game on foreign soil in the entire history of the Euros, so beating Iceland would create history in itself.
In terms of managing to play for England and handle the pressure, we have also seen many players arrive at Newcastle with big reputations elsewhere and then fail to handle playing at St James Park.
Players like Alan Shearer have been taken for granted down the years, with the character and mentality to take on anything that is thrown in front of them.
Hopefully England will turn over a new leaf tonight (special Betfair offer to new customers, 9/1 England to beat Iceland) AND Rafa Benitez has signings lined up for Newcastle who will have that right character, rather than the countless chancers brought in over the course of recent years.
Alan Shearer speaking to The Sun:
“No fuss, no nonsense, no excuses and definitely no penalties. I don’t just mean in tonight’s game but in the next one, too.
“It (England v Iceland) is a game we simply must win and do it convincingly.
“Any momentum we seemed to get from Daniel Sturridge’s last-minute winner against Wales evaporated with the 0-0 draw against Slovakia. Roy Hodgson must take the blame for that by making so many changes to the starting line-up.
“The pressure is already there and it does seem to get to players when they pull on the England shirt. It carries a heavier weight for some, who can look a shadow of the players who earned the right to play for their country through their club performances.
“You need to handle it and not let it affect your game — although it shouldn’t because this is what we all dreamed about as kids, isn’t it? Playing for your country should really lift you and it is something to be enjoyed.
“The problem is the players know that defeat tonight would be the biggest embarrassment in the history of our national team. It is unthinkable.
“That match against France will be huge.”
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