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Hodgson undone by pupil Lagerback as England crash out

Football Soccer - England v Iceland - EURO 2016 - Round of 16 - Stade de Nice, Nice, France - 27/6/16 Iceland joint head coach Lars Lagerback and England head coach Roy Hodgson REUTERS/Kai Pfaffenbach Livepic
Football Soccer - England v Iceland - EURO 2016 - Round of 16 - Stade de Nice, Nice, France - 27/6/16Iceland joint head coach Lars Lagerback and England head coach Roy Hodgson REUTERS/Kai PfaffenbachLivepic

By Philip O'Connor

STOCKHOLM (Reuters) - Now-departed England boss Roy Hodgson could have scarcely have imagined that his time as England boss would be brought to an end by one of the disciples he created as he cut a swathe through Swedish football 30 years ago.

When the final whistle went in England's shambolic 2-1 Euro 2016 defeat to Iceland, the man who rose to shake his hand in the other dugout was Iceland's Swedish coach Lars Lagerback, who was inspired by Hodgson to go into coaching.

"Part of why I'm sitting here is Roy Hodgson and (former Malmo manager) Bob Houghton when they came to Sweden," Lagerback said after the greatest victory in the tiny nation's history.

"I learned a lot from them. They changed the training methods and the coaching education and I was really benefiting a lot for that."

Hodgson is still revered in Sweden as one of the men who revolutionised the game there, bringing in a pragmatic, physical style to the domestic league as manager of a dominant Malmo side in the mid-1980s.

Many managers adopted his methods, among them Lagerback, who went on to successfully manage Sweden at a succession of major tournaments, as well as taking the reins of Nigeria at the 2010 World Cup.

His style is very much based on the style favoured by Hodgson during his time as Malmo boss - meticulous preparation and defensive organisation, swift counter-attacks and long balls, and well-planned dead ball routines.

Lagerback and Hodgson were seen talking and smiling before the kickoff in Nice, but despite Wayne Rooney's fourth-minute penalty to open the scoring for England, the smile was soon wiped off Hodgson's face.

Iceland equalised shortly afterwards with a goal from a long throw-in as Lagerback displayed the full range of tricks he had learned from watching Hodgson all those years ago.

He didn't stop there, marshalling the Icelandic defence of relative unknowns into a cohesive unit that shut down established Premier League strikers such as Harry Kane, Daniel Sturridge and last season's top scorer, Jamie Vardy.

"Organisationally, everything was in place, but even offensively we got better after the second goal," Lagerback purred in praise of his side's performance.

Try as he might, Hodgson could not outwit his one-time pupil, and all that was left after the final whistle was to read a prepared statement announcing his resignation.

Hodgson now exits the tournament and the role of England manager, but as long as Iceland are still at Euro 2016, his spirit will live on in the coaching of his pragmatic disciple Lagerback.

(Reporting by Philip O'Connor; Editing by Angus MacSwan)

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