England edged past Iceland thanks to Raheem Sterling’s late penalty in their UEFA Nations League showdown. Gareth Southgate’s side won 1-0 in Reykjavik as England got their UEFA Nations League campaign off to a perfect start.
The game was void of excitement and chances until the final stages.
England thought they’d secured the three points from Sterling’s penalty, which was awarded after Sverrir Ingason handled the ball, in the 91st minute.
However, Iceland were then awarded a spot kick just two minutes later.
Liverpool’s Joe Gomez gave away the penalty, however, former Aston Villa man Birkir Bjarnason put the spot kick high and wide.
England also faced adversity during the game, with Kyle Walker seeing red in the 70th minute.
The Manchester City defender was given his marching orders after picking up his second yellow following a late challenge.
England boss Southgate urged his side to show more on Tuesday night against Denmark, with the ex-defender admitting his side were lucky to get the win.
“It was a real mixed bag, we started well, we were sharp for 20 minutes. The disallowed offside goal should stand I think and that would have had a big bearing.
“Then for the next period we were good until the final third but lack of match tactics showed in our creative play.
“The sending off was a key moment and it is very difficult to win any game when you are down to 10 men. A lesson we have to learn and it was an unnecessary red card.
“We get the penalty and Raheem’s drive and desire was outstanding and then there’s another lesson we have to learn. We conceded a penalty, we got away with it and we leave with a win that is really important. A bit flat because it feels we got away with it.
“Kyle Walker realises, as an experienced player, those sort of challenges invite the opportunity for a referee to make that decision.
“We have talked a lot over the years about discipline and the amount of time we have gone out in tournaments when that has been critical – it is not what we want to see again.”
Sterling also admitted England’s performance wasn’t up to scratch, with the City winger urging his team-mates to build on the win.
He said: “It was definitely strange but I’d rather play matches than training. It was tough but we got through it.
“We knew it would be difficult. We knew we had to challenge ourselves deep within. We kept playing our football, kept compact.
“We got the penalty, we shouldn’t have conceded that sloppy penalty, but we got lucky in the end.
“We have a bright future ahead and we need to keep growing as a team.”
England will now turn their attention to facing Denmark on Tuesday night.