Iceland had a fairytale UEFA Euro Cup 2016 in France. They not only got out of their group stage but also defeated England in the Round of 16 to make their way in the Quarter-Finals. Here is a detailed analysis of them.
World Cup History:
This is going to be the European nation’s 1st appearance in the World Cup. However, this is not going to be an unfamiliar feeling for the team as their last international tournament was also their first where they defied all expectations.
For a nation with a population of only 300,000+, the fact they have qualified for the competition is a feat in itself, given how many big name countries have missed out recently.
Iceland’s spectacular Viking Clap celebration was one of the talking points of the European Championship. If their fans expect to see it again in a winning cause, their team will have to do the unexpected one more time.
They do have some start quality amongst their ranks. Their talisman Gylfi Sigurdsson is still in the prime of his career and has been performing really well in the recent seasons.
Furthermore, the team’s mentality and presence on the field is more of a unit. They do lack quality and strength in depth.
However, they do make up for it by their sense of comradery and sticking together as a team to grind out results.
Coach Heimir Hallgrimsson has always instilled the mentality of the team to attack and defend fluidly, and they exhibited this quality against England in their 2-1 win.
Iceland’s first World Cup experience is going to be really intriguing to be seen, as they haven’t yet played against some of the biggest names in the world football. Only them can someone gauge the potential of this team.
Regardless, we can always expect to see the Viking Clap whether the team wins or loses, and put on a show for the fans. These players don’t take their place in this tournament for granted.
Iceland is clubbed in Group D with Argentina, Croatia and Nigeria.
Goalkeepers: Hannes Thor Halldorsson (Randers FC), Runar Runarsson (FC Nordsjælland), Frederik Schram (FC Roskilde).
Defenders: Kari Arnason (Vikingur), Ari Skulason (Lokeren), Birkir Saevarsson (Valur), Sverrir Ingason (FC Rostov), Hordur Magnusson (Bristol City), Holmar Eyjolfsson (Levski Sofia), Ragnar Sigurdsson (FC Rostov).
Midfielders: Johann Gudmundsson (Burnley), Birkir Bjarnason (Aston Villa), Arnor Traustason (Malmo FF), Emil Hallfredsson (Udinese), Gylfi Sigurdsson (Everton), Olafur Skulason (Kardemir Karabukspor), Rurik Gislason (SV Sandhausen), Samuel Fridjonsson (Valerenga), Aron Gunnarsson (Cardiff City).
Forwards: Alfred Finnbogason (Augsburg), Bjorn Sigurdarson (FC Rostov), Jon Dadi Bodvarsson (Reading), Albert Gudmundsson (PSV Eindhoven).
Probable Playing XI:
Halldorsson, Eyjolfsson, Armason, Sigurdsson, Skulason, Gudmundsson, G. Sigurdsson, Hallfredsson, Bjarnason, Finnbogason, Sigurdarson
Gylfi Sigurdsson, Johann Gudmundsson, Bjorn Sigurdarson
Iceland’s manager Heimir Hallgrimsson is a dentist by profession. He co-manages the team and works on a five-square-mile island called Heimaey where around 5000 people reside.
Probability of winning the World Cup:
Bet 365: 200/1