SMA News – UEFA Nations League
Phil Foden marked his return to competitive action with his first England goals as Gareth Southgate’s side cruised to a win over Iceland.
Defeat to Belgium on Sunday had ensured Wednesday’s Group A2 meeting at Wembley was a dead rubber, but England’s youthful team nevertheless turned in an impressive display.
Making his first competitive England appearance since breaking coronavirus protocol after a victory over Iceland in September, Foden marked his return in style, setting up Declan Rice’s opener before adding further gloss to a routine win with a superbly taken brace.
Mason Mount had doubled England’s tally, with Birkir Mar Saevarsson’s red card for a second bookable offence all but ending any comeback hopes for outgoing Iceland coach Erik Hamren.
Rice was the benefactor, heading in his maiden England goal from Foden’s free-kick, which was won by Grealish, who moments later teed up Bukayo Saka.
The Arsenal youngster failed to beat Ogmundur Kristinsson, but Mount made no such mistake with England’s next chance, coolly prodding in after latching onto Harry Kane’s knockdown.
Harry Maguire’s marauding run forward resulted in a fine pass through for Foden, whose shot was charged down by Kristinsson, who then denied the midfielder again before Kane curled wide.
Iceland’s hopes seemed to have been extinguished nine minutes into the second half – Saevarsson receiving a second yellow for pulling back Saka.
Kari Arnason might have changed that, yet he headed wide from Ari Freyr Skulason’s corner.
Yet England had the third goal their dominance deserved in the 80th minute when Foden swept home from Jadon Sancho’s cutback.
The 20-year-old Foden was not done there, however, and capped off a fine individual display with a thumping strike into the bottom-right corner.
England have now remained unbeaten in their final game of a calendar year in each of the last seven years (W5 D2), since a 1-0 defeat to Germany in 2013. And though it has been a frustrating Nations League campaign