Iceland gave England “a big slap in the face” by knocking them out of Euro 2016 on Monday, according to France full-back Bacary Sagna.
The tournament hosts will face Iceland instead of England in Sunday’s quarter-final after goals from Gylfi Sigurdsson and Kolbeinn Sigthorsson dealt the Three Lions a 2-1 last-16 defeat in Nice.
Sagna, whose team-mates at Manchester City include Raheem Sterling and Joe Hart, admitted England’s premature departure from the European Championship – and Roy Hodgson’s subsequent resignation – came as some surprise.
Speaking at a press conference on Friday, the 33-year-old said: “It’s a shock, a shock for the country. A lot of people expected it to be France v England.
“They’ve got a big slap in the face. The criticism of the players is too much. They’ll get a new coach and try to manage the pressure better.
“I thought England would win because they have a young team with plenty of talent. On the other hand, I was quite happy for Iceland because they played really well.
“They taught England a lesson and deserve to be where they are.”
Former Arsenal right-back Sagna is confident Les Bleus will avoid such a lesson when they tackle Iceland at the Stade de France in Saint-Denis this weekend.
Didier Deschamps’ men have been impressive on home turf, resisting Switzerland and beating Romania and Albania in the group stage and negotiating the threat posed by the Republic of Ireland.
“We certainly do not underestimate Iceland but we belong to the best sides in Europe, we’re among the favourites and we’re at home,” Sagna added.
“We have a status to live up to. When we see how the people in the fan zones celebrate when we score a goal, it warms our hearts. We just can’t let them down.