England goalkeeper Joe Hart apologises to fans after his sloppy work leads to 1-2 defeat to Iceland and Euro exit
Nice (France): England goalkeeper Joe Hart accepted responsibility for his side's Euro 2016 exit, admitting he should have done more to stop the goal that ended Roy Hodgson's reign. For the second time in the tournament Hart's shot-stopping was found wanting as unfancied Iceland pulled off a historic upset in Nice.
England's goalkeeper Joe Hart reacts after the Euro 2016 loss to Iceland in Nice on Monday. Pics/AFP
Just as he failed to prevent Gareth Bale's 35-yard free-kick in the group stages, the Manchester City number one was unable to get enough on Kolbeinn Sigthorsson's low strike — an effort that ultimately secured a 2-1 win.
"I've got to be saving the second goal. I've got to hold my hands up to that and I apologise for ultimately costing us the game and the tournament," he told ITV. "The standards I set haven't been met in this tournament. Like I say, I apologise for the goal. I can only thank all the fans who have made the effort. I appreciate their frustrations. From the bottom of my heart I'm sorry. I'm an England fan through and through and I'll continue to be. There are going to be massive regrets, personally and as a team."
Hodgson will share in those recriminations, having fallen on his sword within minutes of the final whistle. The 68-year-old leaves France having won just once in four matches, and even that required an injury-time decider. But Hart remains full of admiration for the outgoing coach. "He's been a great person to work with, I've really enjoyed him," he said.
A young England fan reacts after England lost 2-1 to Iceland in the Euro 2016 Round of 16 match at the Allianz Riviera stadium in Nice, France on Monday
'It's a shame'
"It's a shame, but it is what it is. He addressed us, thanked us for what we've done over the four years. It's a sad way for anyone to go. We have won and lost as a team. It's difficult when you lose a manager." Hart, who can expect to come under pressure from Southampton's Fraser Forster, spoke passionately about the desire that exists in the group. "We're going to have to show who we are as footballers and men and try to come out the other side," he said.
"We're all proud Englishmen, England fans. We were given the role of representing the country and, from a personal point of view, we've let it down. It's going to be a new era, that's for sure. It's understandable that questions are going to be (asked), but every ounce of energy was put into the game. "It's the quality of all of us that's let us down. But football goes again. Lots of young, very talented players have got some sort of experience from this."