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England boss Gareth Southgate accused his players of failing to show enough character as they slumped to a 1-0 loss to Iceland at Wembley.

The home side’s last match before Euro 2024 ended in boos at the final whistle after Jon Dagur Thorsteinsson’s goal was enough to give Iceland a shock win.

“We learned a lot and we know the performance wasn’t good enough,” Southgate told Channel 4.

“Equally we needed the game; there’s a lot of players that we’re managing their minutes and it was obviously a disjointed and disappointing performance and we didn’t show enough character.

“But actually I think it’s a really good focus for us ahead of the tournament. Everybody’s saying we’re going to go there and walk through and have no problems, and the reality of international football isn’t that.

“We’ve got to be far better without the ball than we were today, we’ve got to show more composure with the ball.

Declan Rice
England midfielder Declan Rice reacts after the defeat to Iceland at Wembley (Mike Egerton/PA)

“Across the two games we haven’t had our full side out at any point so it’s been a strange preparation.

“It’s not perfect but I’ve been involved in a lot of these last matches going into a tournament as a player as well and inevitably players have one eye on what’s coming a little bit in terms of the early challenges.

“No excuses on the result, we have to be better than that, but I think there are a lot of things we can put right pretty quickly.”

Southgate, who said he expects defender John Stones to be “OK” after he was replaced at half-time with an ankle injury, insists his side will be ready for the start of tournament action in Germany in nine days’ time.

England players surround John Stones after he picked up an ankle injury against Iceland
Southgate expects John Stones, on the ground, to recover from his ankle injury (Mike Egerton/PA)

“We’ll be ready,” he added. “I said to the players at the beginning of this 45-odd days we’re going to be together that not every day is going to go as we want it.

“Tonight was one of those but we have to stay very calm. I’ve explained what needs to be better, but not everything will be wrong.

“We had enough chances to win the game, but we conceded too many chances as well.”