Southgate counting England's luck after scraping to a nail-biting win

‘It feels like we got away with it’: Gareth Southgate counting England’s luck after scraping to a nail-biting victory against Iceland

  • Gareth Southgate admitted that England ‘got away with it’ as they beat Iceland 
  • England won 1-0 in Reykjavik courtesy of a late penalty from Raheem Sterling  
  • Southgate described Kyle Walker’s second half sending off as ‘unnecessary’

England manager Gareth Southgate has admitted that his side ‘got away with it’ as they beat Iceland 1-0 in the Nations League.

The Three Lions dominated possession but struggled to create many clear cut chances as they found it difficult to break down a resilient Iceland side.

England were reduced to ten men in the 70th minute when Kyle Walker was dismissed but managed to take the lead through Raheem Sterling’s late penalty.

Gareth Southgate admitted that England ‘got away with it’ as they scraped past Iceland

Raheem Sterling scored a penalty but prior to that England found it difficult to create chances

Sverrir Ingason, who had conceded the penalty, was sent off. 

In a dramatic conclusion, Iceland were awarded a penalty of their own but Birkir Bjarnason missed. 

Southgate stressed that England’s performance left him feeling flat despite the result. 

‘In the end we got away with it. We leave here with a win which is really important. Some experience for some young players. But It feels a little bit flat because it feels like we got away with it. ‘ 

Southgate was adamant that Harry Kane’s effort, which was disallowed, should have stood

Southgate felt that Harry Kane’s effort in the first half, which was ruled out for offside, should have stood.  

He said: ‘It was a real mixed bag. We started the game well. We were sharp for 15-20 minutes. 

‘I think the goal should stand [Kane] and that would have a big bearing on the game. 

‘That slight anxiety when you haven’t got the goal. Then I thought for the next period we were good until the find third. That lack of match sharpness showed in our creative play. We were caught in a few of our counter attacks. We defended the set plays well.’

Walker’s return to the England setup didn’t go to plan as he was sent off for two bookable offences, the second of which was a lunge on Arnor Traustason.

Southgate was hugely frustrated with Kyle Walker’s dismissal, calling in ‘unnecessary’

Southgate described the red card as ‘unnecessary’ but was pleased with England’s response and in particular the determination of goalscorer Sterling.

He said: ‘I think the sending off was a key moment and it’s difficult to come back. We have to learn from that it was an unnecessary red card. I thought the response was great. We managed to stay in possession with the ball. We still looked a threat and got the penalty. 

‘Raheem’s desire through that period was outstanding and it was great he took that penalty under pressure. Then another lesson we have to learn. To invite the ball and defend the way we did.’

England will hope to learn lessons from their performance ahead of the tests to come

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