Euro 2016 Group F

Iceland

14 June - Portugal (8pm GMT, Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, Saint-Étienne)
18 June - Hungary (5pm GMT, Stade Vélodrome, Marseille)
22 June - Austria (5pm GMT, Stade de France, Saint-Denis)

Drawing from a population of just over 300,000, Iceland finished about the Netherlands to qualify for their first-ever major tournament. Gaby McKay assesses the smallest nation at Euro 2016.

Huffin’ and puffin

Despite a tiny population, Iceland have produced something of a golden generation. Having narrowly failed to qualify for the World Cup in 2010, Lars Lagerbak’s side finished above Turkey and the Netherlands to qualify for France automatically.

Having beaten the Dutch home and away, as well as putting the Czech Republic to the sword in Reykjavik, it’d be a brave geyser who writes off the Icelandic.

Coach: Lars Lagerbäck — An experienced international Coach, the Swede took his home nation to the World Cup in 2002 and 2006, as well as the Euros in 2004 and 2008. After leading Nigeria at World Cup 2010, Lagerbäck took over Iceland in 2011.

Preferred XI: Halldórsson; R. Sigurdsson, Sævarsson, Bjarnason, Skúlason; Árnason, Gunnarsson, Guðmunds­son, G Sigurdsson; Sigþórsson, Böðvarsson

Iceland have their best-ever squad, with the likes of Gylfi Sigurdsson, Birkir Bjarnason and Aron Gunnarsson, and will be looking to make an impact on their first-ever tournament.

Look out for: Eiður Guðjohnsen. Probably Iceland’s greatest-ever player, the 37-year-old is still going strong, and will be looking for score his country’s first tournament goal.

Did You Know?

  • All-time top-scorer Eiður Guðjohnsen made his debut for Iceland in 1996 - as a substitute for his father, Arnór.
  • Iceland have invested a lot in their coaching system. From grassroots level up, 70 per cent of all coaches have completed the UEFA B licence, and around 30 per cent have completed the UEFA A licence.
  • Iceland has the shortest League season in the world, running from May to September - pre-season lasts seven months!

Iceland versus…

…Portugal P 2 W 0 D 0 L 2 F 4 A 8
…Hungary P 10 W 3 D 0 L 7 F 10 A 21
…Austria P 3 W 0 D 2 L 1 F 2 A 3

Stats

Population: 332,529
Nickname: Strákarnir okkar
Calcio fans might remember… Emil Hallfreðsson - Reggina (2007-2011) Verona (2011-2016) Udinese (2016-present)
Top Division: Úrvalsdeild
FIFA World Ranking: 35
International honours: None
Most capped player:  Rúnar Kristinsson (104)
Leading international scorer: Eiður Guðjohnsen (25)
Iceland at the European Championships:

1960 - Did not enter
1964 - Did not qualify
1968 - Did not enter
1972 - Did not enter
1976 - Did not qualify
1980 - Did not qualify
1984 - Did not qualify
1988 - Did not qualify
1992 - Did not qualify
1996 - Did not qualify
2000 - Did not qualify
2004 - Did not qualify
2008 - Did not qualify
2012 - Did not qualify

How they got to Euro 2016: Second in qualifying Group A behind the Czech Republic but ahead of Turkey and the Netherlands.