The Three Lions have only crossed swords with Iceland twice. The last meeting was a Euro 2004 warm-up clash at the City of Manchester Stadium which England won 6-1. Skipper Wayne Rooney scored twice that day, while Iceland were captained by Former Chelsea, Tottenham and Fulham forward Eidur Gudjohnsen. The only other meeting was a World Cup warm-up clash in Reykjavik in 1982, which ended 1-1. Former West Ham striker Paul Goddard netted for the visitors.
INSIDER WITH ENGLAND’S MEASURE?
Iceland are co-managed by Lars Lagerback and Heimir Hallgrimsson. Lagerback also had an 11-year spell in charge of Iceland’s Scandinavian rivals Sweden between 1998 and 2009. During that time Sweden faced England six times and never lost, winning twice and drawing four times.
DEFENSIVE TOGETHERNESS NO FLUKE
European minnows Iceland have showcased defensive resilience and stoicism so far at Euro 2016 and that’s not a tactic reserved for the tournament spotlight. During qualification, Iceland conceded just six goals in 10 matches, which included two clean sheets against World Cup semi-finalists Holland.
RIVAL STAR GIVEN WINGS BY HODGSON
England boss Roy Hodgson managed Iceland midfielder Birkir Bjarnason, who scored their group-stage leveller against Portugal, when he was in charge of Norwegian club Viking FK in 2005. Bjarnason, then a teenager, was handed his senior debut by Hodgson in a Uefa Cup match against CSKA Sofia. He now plays for Swiss champions FC Basel.
ICELAND’S SPIES IN THE CAMP
Three Iceland players ply their trade in England. Swansea’s Gylfi Sigurdsson is the sole Premier League representative, while Aron Gunnarsson and Johann Gudmundsson turn out for Cardiff and Charlton respectively. Ex-Premier League striker Eidur Gudjohnsen, aged 37, is part of their squad.
NO HOME FIRES BURNING
Not a single member of Iceland’s Euro 2016 squad plays their club football in their homeland, a country which has no professional sides. There have been just 11 different champions of the Icelandic top flight, despite the competition dating back more than 100 years.