Round of 16
England v Iceland
Tuesday June 28, 5:00am
Five points was enough for England to reach the knockout stages but failing to beat Russia or Slovakia meant they finished second and ended up in the, by far, harder half of the draw. The fact they are in the tricky half, rather than their performances, is the reason they are as big a price to lift the trophy now as they were at the start of the tournament.
The Euro Championships has steadily increased its number of participants since its inauguration with four sides in 1960. Since 1980, there have been at least eight teams competing and it’s incredible to think that in those 36 years England have never won an away knockout tie. The only time they’ve progressed in a knockout match was against Spain on penalties in 1996. England have been eliminated on penalties in six of their eight Finals knockout defeats since 1990. A seventh in nine is 13.0 here.
Iceland are the fairytale story on this tournament already. Almost 10% of the population are attending the tournament and their players haven’t disappointed. Ironically, their late winner against Austria on Wednesday meant they have a much harder route to the final than they would have had if they drew but that takes nothing away from their achievement. Iceland reached these finals by topping a group that included the Netherlands, Turkey and Czech Republic.
Both teams scored in their three group stage matches here but they remained unbeaten. Iceland have faced teams ranked 11-20 18 times this century and that win over Austria was just their second as they’ve kept just two clean sheets (both 0-0s). Both sides have scored in all of their last six such games and five of the six have had Over 2.5 Goals.
England kept four consecutive clean sheets to complete their 100% record in qualifying but since then they’ve become a bit leaky. They’ve failed to shut out their opponents in seven of the 10 warmup and group stage matches since the end of the qualifying campaign as six of the games have seen both sides net.
Roy Hodgson’s side dominated possession in all three of their group games and they’ll expect to do the same here. Against similar opposition (teams ranked 26-50) England are W5-D5-L0 in their last 10 competitive matches which suggests their price to win in 90 minutes is a little short here.
England and Iceland haven’t previously met in a competitive match but we can look at similar past knockout matches in our database. Since 1992, we have 28 games where a team ranked 11-20 has faced a team ranked 26-50 and the favourites have come out on top in just nine of the matches (W9-D12-L7).
With Iceland’s porous defence it’s worth noting that six of the last seven when the stronger have netted have seen both teams score. Iceland have shown enough in this tournament that they can worry England at the back while England have had many more chances than their goal output suggests. We think both teams will find the net here.
BACK – Both Teams to Score 2.80