England is leaving Europe—but this time, not of its own choice. It might just be a bigger shock than Brexit.
England’s national soccer team was knocked out of the European Championships in France by Iceland—a tiny island nation with a team coached by a dentist. It is the greatest victory in Iceland’s history—this team is in a major tournament for the first time ever. Iceland is the smallest nation to ever reach such a tournament, and the first to do so with a population below a million.
Days after the UK voted to leave the EU, causing market turmoil that knocked trillions off global stock markets and resulted in the country losing its AAA credit rating, the biggest member of the UK is out of a major European sports tournament after what is probably the worst loss in its soccer history.
England is a nation of more than 50 million people with the richest soccer league in the world. Iceland has 330,000 people—which just happens to be the same the number of people who immigrated to the UK last year—and no professional soccer clubs. The country that wants to leave the EU was bested by one that never joined.
English fans will have to cross the English Channel to go back home after yet another night of humiliation. Not that other fans will miss them. Some travelling England supporters in France were heard chanting “Fuck off Europe, we’re all voting out!” ahead of clashes with the police at the start of the tournament. Ahead of tonight’s match, they were heard singing, “We’re not in Europe anymore!”
No, you’re not.