England struggled with the pressure against Iceland: Kompany

Reuters , Wednesday 29 Jun 2016

Kompany
Belgium's Vincent Kompany (R) and Algeria's El Arabi Soudani fight for the ball during their 2014 World Cup Group H soccer match at the Mineirao stadium in Belo Horizonte June 17, 2014 (Reuters)

The weight of expectations on England to succeed at the European Championship caused a psychological breakdown in their humiliating round-of-16 exit to Iceland on Monday, Belgium defender Vincent Kompany said.

"England had one of the strongest squads at Euro 2016 and yet something happened on Monday, a psychological 'event'," Kompany, who missed Euro 2016 with a thigh injury, wrote in his column in The Times.

England went out after Iceland, the smallest country to qualify for the European Championship, battled back from an early penalty to win 2-1 and book a quarter-final against hosts France on Sunday.

The result led to manager Roy Hodgson calling an end to his four-year tenure, having won just three of his 11 matches in major tournaments.

"It looked like something got to them," Manchester City captain Kompany wrote. "The most difficult challenge of international football is about handling the increased pressure and expectation. Some people have described it as 'fear'.

"I'm not so sure that is the right word but on Monday we saw an Iceland team playing without fear and an England team really struggling with the pressure."

Media commentators have suggested that English football is struggling to flourish as there are too many foreign players plying their trade in the Premier League.

Kompany disagreed, saying: "It is a great luxury and advantage for English players that they are playing against many of the best from Europe and all over the world.

"If they can't get a game in the Premier League, nobody is stopping them going abroad to play at the best level they can."

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