ENGLAND take on tiny Iceland for a place in the Quarter-Finals of Euro 2016. Chris Graham (@chrisgraham79) previews the match for us.
England v Iceland | Monday 20:00 | ITV1
Imagine you told an England fan four years ago that they’d face Iceland in the first knockout round of the 2016 European Championships. They’d be stunned.
Four years on it’s testament to Iceland that no one is counting their chickens for Monday night’s match. This is a side that beat the Dutch twice to reach these finals and as their fourth Euro 2016 game approaches they remain unbeaten.
They announced their arrival on the continents top stage in their opening match by drawing with Portugal (so often England’s nemesis). From there they were just two minutes away from beating Hungary before a superb come-from-behind win against Austria. Five points out of nine and no defeats to their name. Wow!
Standing in their way now though is England. A team that haven’t won a knockout game in major tournament football for 10 years. A team who managed to fail to win their group after what looked a winnable line up.
It’s not been a straight-forward tournament at all for the English. In all three games they’ve had the lions share of possession but have simply failed to convert their dominance into goals.
While Germany eased past Slovakia on Sunday, England struggled and failed to break them down in a 0-0 draw last Monday. A number of chances were squandered against Russia and they only beat Wales in the dying embers of the game.
England should face a similar type of test here on Monday with Iceland no doubt sitting back in the vein of Slovakia and Wales (in the second half). It could be another long night for the English.
I’m willing to believe that England can melt the ice on Monday though. Roy Hodgson’s men will have had two extra days rest to their opponents and may just have a bit more determination about them after failing to win their group.
Iceland have conceded in all three of their games so far in the competition and some may say have already reached their summit by getting out of the group. Even if they lose on Monday the party won’t end.
On what we’ve seen so far there’s not much evidence to back up my bet of England -1.5 but it’s a hunch I most definitely have. This side have created so many chances and if that continues here and it all clicks then the handicap should be covered.
Iceland have been a joy in this tournament but this might just be a step too far and if they concede early more pain will follow. I’ll back an England win by more than one goal.
England v Iceland – England -1.5 (6/4 Netbet)