Wednesday 21 February 2018

Euro 2016 team-by-team guide: Everything you need to know about Iceland

Iceland players celebrate after victory over Netherlands in a Euro 2016 qualifier last September. Photo: Koen van Weel/AFP/Getty Images
Iceland players celebrate after victory over Netherlands in a Euro 2016 qualifier last September. Photo: Koen van Weel/AFP/Getty Images
Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer

Kevin Palmer gives us the lowdown on the Iceland.


Odds: 80/1

Group F fixtures

  • June 14th: Portugal in Saint-Etienne
  • June 18th: Hungary in Marseille
  • June 22nd: Austria in Saint-Denis

COACHES: Lars Lagerback/Heimir Hallgrimsson

Lagerback was the long-time head coach of the Swedish national team and he has added order and discipline to the Iceland set-up since his arrival in 2011.

Hallgrimsson’s was initially appointed as assistant to Lagerback before being promoted to join head coach, with the expectation that he will take over from his experienced mentor as Iceland boss at some stage.

STAR MAN: The hero for Icelandic football fans over the last few years, this former Reading and Tottenham midfield maestro has the quality to score the most sumptuous of free-kicks.

His six goals in the Euro 2016 qualifying campaign were crucial in guiding Iceland to a second place finish behind the Czech Republic in a Group A battle that saw Holland fail to make it through to this summer’s finals in France.

LOOK OUT FOR: A scorer of four goals in the Euro 2016 qualifying push, the Iceland coaching team are fans of the energy levels this 26-year-old striker provides in their 4-4-2 line-up. That despite his lack of regular first team action at club level this season.

Previously with Ajax, Sigthorsson boasts at impressive scoring rate at international level and could be a dark horse to shine at Euro 2016.

WILD CARD: This former Chelsea and Barcelona star has been a symbol of Icelandic football for a decade and more, with his role in the national team still crucial as they dip their toe in a major tournament at the age of 37.

A little like Robbie Keane with the Republic of Ireland national team, Gudjohnsen is a powerful voice in the Iceland dressing room and a role model for the nation’s new heroes to look up to. He is a great super-sub to have on the bench.

VERDICT: On paper, Iceland appear to be one of the weaker nations appearing in the Euro 2016 finals, yet the group stage draw has handed country boasting the smallest population to ever compete in a European Championship finals (330,000) a chance to dream.

Their games against Hungary and Austria offer up genuine hope to collect points, with Sigurdsson’s role in their ambitions likely to be decisive.

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