Hodgson endures awkward final press conference after England exit
CHANTILLY, France (AP) — Roy Hodgson faced the music on Tuesday for England's shock loss to Iceland at the European Championship, reluctantly appearing at a news conference to show that he wasn't afraid of the wave of criticism directed at the now ex-manager of England and the team.
"I don't really know what I'm doing here," Hodgson said at a news conference called by England's Football Association. "But I was told that it was important for everybody that I appear and I guess that is partly because people are still smarting from our poor performance."
"I suppose someone has to stand and take the slings and arrows," he added.
While all critics agreed that England played appallingly in the 2-1 loss to an island nation of some 330,000 people, they disagreed on just how badly it ranked in England's sorry history of underperforming at major tournaments. For some, it was the worst defeat ever. For others, just the worst in a generation.
"I'm very fragile today. It wasn't a good night, for anyone," Hodgson said.
He insisted, however, that his team had showed signs of "good football" in three group stage games before Monday's defeat in the round of 16.
"One particularly bad game has caused a lot of damage," Hodgson said. He predicted the loss could weigh on the team going forward.
"They've got a major bridge to repair," he said.
Hodgson said he appeared before the media because he didn't want to give the impression that he was "frightened." But he also said he did so reluctantly, because he said all he had to say in a resignation statement immediately after the loss.
"I was not forced to come here. I did so because I have never shirked a press conference, because I have never run away from anybody," he said. "So much is going to be written about our failure to get to the quarterfinals that nothing I can say would do anything other than fuel the flames, possibly."
The Football Association's CEO, Martin Glenn, didn't rule out a non-English manager to replace Hodgson, saying the FA would look to appoint "the best person for the job."
He also said England must fathom out why it has repeatedly stalled early in major tournaments since it won the World Cup in 1966.
"It's a national imperative that we become more resilient in tournaments," he said. "England seem brittle and we need to understand why that is."