The final game of the round of 16 has given us a real 'David and Goliath' type clash in the shape of England vs Iceland. The population of Iceland is around 300,000 so we are talking about the smallest nation in terms of population at these European Championships but that hasn't stopped them producing some amazing results that helped them finish in 2nd place in Group F ahead of Portugal and Austria! England also finished runners up in their group (Group B) behind Wales and will feel that they underachieved, considering the teams they could have been drawn against I think they will consider themselves slightly lucky at who they ended up playing however, underestimate this Iceland team at your peril.
England as I said before finished 2nd in Group B and they will be very disappointed in that, especially because they dominated every team they played against and really the only win they picked up, which was against Wales, was because of a last minute smash and grab. Against Russia they failed to kill the game off and were punished and against Slovakia they never looked like scoring despite controlling the match throughout. If they do this against Iceland, the Icelanders have proven that they don't need many chances to score a goal and England could be in for one of the biggest upsets in European Championship history. They really need to turn their domination into goals and take their chances.
Iceland will be overjoyed with how far they have come and any other games that they get to play in this competition will be viewed as a bonus, They can be incredibly proud of themselves for what they have achieved, an excellent draw against Portugal, they played well enough to beat Hungary and an unbelievable victory against Austria. Lars Lagerback sets him team out very well and they're so disciplined, Iceland will sit back and wait for a moment to counter attack, they've proven that they're very effective playing this way and they could certainly give England a scare if given the chance.
England must win this game. Yes they have been slightly lacklustre when it comes to creating real chances and their finishing has left a lot to be desired but they have more than enough quality to see off the threat of Iceland. Another theory too is that England are not far away from clicking and blowing someone away, could Iceland be that team? Maybe.
England have struggled to turn their domination into goals, and that will suit Iceland right down to the ground. Iceland will let England have as much possession as they like in certain areas and England have proven that they struggle to break teams down that sit back. If England haven't scored by extra time then this bet could be a real possibility, especially given England's record in penalty shootouts.
England only conceded 2 goals in the Group Stage and 1 was a goalkeeping error and the other was quite unlucky. You can either view it as the English defence is partial to an error or 2 or that they are for the most part solid. I prefer to think the latter and that is why I don't think Iceland will score against them. England are more than capable of getting a couple of goals and building confidence for the next round against which now looks like it's going to be France.
I fancy England to get an early goal this time and then see the match through to the end in a winning position. Like I said before they're not that far away from clicking and under Roy Hodgson they have been good at seeing off teams of lesser ability rather easily, especially in the qualifiers for these Euros. England to win both halves I think.
I think Roy will be under a lot of pressure to play Jamie Vardy and he would be daft not to start him in this game. If he does start him then I fancy him to bag the first goal. He will be on the shoulder of the last defender and his pace frightens people. He was unlucky not to score against Slovakia and I'm backing him to add to his England and Euro 2016 tally in this game.
I've stated that I think England will win this game but you will get some brilliant odds for England -2, especially because England haven't blow anybody away yet. Iceland have been excellent but I feel this is as far as they're going to go and if they concede a couple of early goals then this could be a great game for England to bang a few more in.