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Gareth Southgate understands England fans’ boos after Iceland defeat as he stresses Euro 2024 glory will be ‘unbelievably hard’

england manager gareth southgate applauds 907760437

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Gareth Southgate has declared he ‘doesn’t blame’ England fans for booing the team after their shock 1-0 defeat to Iceland.

The Three Lions were second best at Wembley in their final friendly match ahead of Euro 2024, which kicks-off next Friday.

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Southgate has admitted his side were not good enough on the nightCredit: Getty

England face Serbia two days later in their first Group C match, but the performance against Iceland will come as a worry to many supporters.

There were audible boos both at half-time and full-time and as a result, Southgate insists that his side must improve.

Speaking to talkSPORT’s England correspondent Faye Carruthers in response to fan disgruntlement after the defeat at Wembley, he said: “Well, I don’t blame them.

“We have to accept that tonight we didn’t play well enough so I don’t think we can complain about an adverse reaction when we don’t play well enough.

“What we have to do internally is stay calm, there’s lots of reasons for the performance, there are things that we have to learn from and get better.

“It’s a reminder that, everybody saying we’re going to walk to Germany and walk off with this trophy, it’s going to be unbelievably hard to do that.

“You have to have every part of your game right, mentality has to be right, character has to be right, so we stay calm after tonight, but we know the level has to raise.”

John Stones was substituted at half-time after a knock in the first-half and despite worries over his fitness, Southgate said: “He’s, we think, OK.

England's setback comes just days before their first match at Euro 2024

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England’s setback comes just days before their first match at Euro 2024Credit: Getty
Southgate believes they must remain calm despite the shock defeat

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Southgate believes they must remain calm despite the shock defeatCredit: Getty
Many England fans were seen heading for the exit  before the full-time whistle

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Many England fans were seen heading for the exit before the full-time whistleCredit: AFP

“Obviously he had a knock to the ankle earlier in the game and given how close we are to the finals, there’s no point in risking anything after half-time, so mainly precautionary.”

Jon Dagur Thorsteinsson scored the only goal of the game for Iceland after just 12 minutes, firing low past Aaron Ramsdale.

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England lacked quality in the final third, with Harry Kane’s glaring miss in the first-half the closest they came to scoring.

Swathes of fans were seen heading for the exits at Wembley in the final ten minutes, seemingly over a lack of belief that they would equalise.

And despite some late chances that failed to truly test the Iceland defence, England finally fell to defeat.

It’s one that could begin to raise concerns over their chances at Euro 2024, with Southgate’s side one of the heavy favourites to win.

However, they still have nine days to prepare for their opener against Serbia, with Denmark and Slovenia their subsequent opponents.

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