At the end of the 90 minutes, England’s players lay sprawled, desolate on the turf at the Stade de Nice.
And the man who had overseen perhaps the worst defeat in English football history looked on, helpless, as Iceland sent his team crashing out of Euro 2016.
England’s exit marked the end of Roy Hodgson’s tenure — he confirmed after the game he wouldn’t be seeking to extend his contract to take the team into its 2018 World Cup qualifiers.
It was his 20th managerial appointment, and his fourth international post. And, as is customary, speculation immediately turned to who would take on the job — some would say poisoned chalice — of managing England.
The bookies quickly installed some favorites — all English — including a manager who has quietly rebuilt his reputation at unfashionable Crystal Palace, the current coach of the youth setup and a young tyro making waves in his own managerial career.
Frontrunner Southgate has put the England setup on notice with assured performances with the Under 21s, including victory in the Toulon Tournament — also held in the south of France — beating the host nation in the final at the end of May.
He’s been a steady hand for England’s youth team and, what may be key, he’s seen an eye-catching 19 of his U21 players graduate to Hodgson’s squad, including Raheem Sterling, Eric Dier, John Stones, Harry Kane and Dele Alli.
His former charges’ collective failure at the Euro’s aside, Southgate’s appointment could be key to reinvigorating a relatively callow side.
Pardew saw his stock fall during a tumultuous few seasons at Newcastle United, but witnessed somewhat of a resurgence at his former club, Crystal Palace. The unfashionable London club started the season brightly but fell off towards the end, ultimately finishing 15th. An FA Cup final appearance — which his team lost — against Manchester United somewhat redeemed his season.
As a Palace player he enjoyed legendary status and many were happy to see his return, although a lukewarm finish to the season means some fans wouldn’t be devastated to see him leave. His motivational skills — especially when he was in charge of Newcastle — have been called into question..
Howe, only 37 but already turning heads with his stellar work at Bournemouth, would be a forward-thinking pick. Although his managerial experience is limited, his work bringing up Bournemouth from obscurity to the rarefied atmosphere of the Premier League has impressed and he would certainly have his champions at the FA.
However, would he be prepared to give up on all he’s earned — another season coaching Bournemouth the Premier League after bringing the team up from the fourth division — for a job with, at best, limited job security?
Since hanging up his boots Neville has impressed as an erudite pundit on TV — but less so in his sole managerial role, coaching Spanish side Valencia for a short spell during the 2015-16 season. He couldn’t turn around the fallen giants and was sacked before the season was out.
He was also in the dugout alongside Hodgson as the England assistant manager for the last four years before walking following the Iceland defeat — valuable experience, for sure, but he’d likely be tainted by his role in this failed England setup, and his association with the outgoing boss.
The blood-and-guts choice, the former England captain and striker has reportedly already signaled his interest in the newly-vacant post.
Shearer was nothing if not passionate during his on-field displays for England over a glittering career but, besides being mostly confined to the pundits’ couch post-career, his sole managerial appointment — a populist move by Newcastle owner Mike Ashley — ended in ignominy with a 1-2-5 win-draw-loss record and relegation to the second division.
That short spell did little to take the sheen off his Newcastle career — he can do no wrong in the Northeast — but it is unlikely that the bulk of England fans, or indeed the FA, would have the same levels of forgiveness.