June 27, 2016 – a date English football fans would probably never forget. Leading comfortably 1-0, England were in the driving seat against a fairly unseeded Iceland side. But what happened in the second half stunned the world.
The Icelanders, from the land of fire and ice, created history by coming from behind to win 2-1 and resultantly eliminate the Three Lions from the 2016 European Championships. It’s four years past the debacle. But there is no doubt, the Englishmen have not forgotten the humiliation. Especially after the Iceland side celebrated with their epic slow handclap tradition at full time.
After almost 290 days of their last International adventure, England visit Iceland for their Nations League opening fixture on Saturday. It’s a fairly young English side, similar to the one that played the World Cup two years ago. But upcoming English youth talent over the past couple of years means that there are significant young additions to the squad too.
Will the Three Lions avenge their 2016 humiliation? Or will Iceland have the last laugh against the opponents again? Let’s take a look at the preview of the Nations League fixture between Iceland and England at the Laugardalsvöllur Stadium in the city of Reykjavík.
Iceland Host England in Nations League opener
Young Guns from England Take on Iceland’s Depreciated Eleven
Talking about Iceland first, the hosts are without five key first-team members. The biggest missing name on the teamsheet will surely be Everton’s Gylfi Sigurdsson, who is one of the most experienced players for the Icelanders. Not only him, but Aron Gunnarsson would also be thoroughly missed as he was not able to join the squad due to travel restrictions from Qatar.
All eyes will be on Iceland stopper Hannes por Halldorsson, who is an experienced keeper and has saved the team from blushed multiple times in the last few years.
An interesting setup to watch could be Declan Rice, James Ward-Prowse and Mason Mount starting in the midfield. This is the face of the new English midfield and with all three of them exceptionally talented as well as highly rated, it will be excited to see how they fare on Saturday.
England have scored 17 goals in their last three games. This is an incredible statistic for Gareth Southgate’s side. In fact, a cherry on the cake is that their defensive might is also proven with no goals been conceded in that same time.
There is no doubt that the Three Lions are favourites to win this one. Iceland missing important players puts them into even more jeopardy. This is because the highest-rated Iceland squad too could struggle against this exceptional English team.
This should be a comprehensive performance by the Englishmen, which should tick all the boxes of a decently good margin, a clean sheet and revenge of the 2016 humiliation.
Iceland 0-3 England