Iceland’s national men’s football team will be facing France tonight after winning their first Euro 2020 qualifying match, a 2-0 victory over Andorra last Friday.
Last week’s game, which saw goals from Birkir Bjarnason and Viðar Örn Kjartansson, demonstrated Iceland’s dominance over the petite Andorran side.
Iceland boasted approximately 76% of the ball possession, outstripping Andorra who left the match with four yellow cards, a 49% accurate pass rate and zero goals.
Such success was to be expected, given that Iceland is 38th on the FIFA world rankings, whereas Andorra rests at 132nd.
Tonight’s match against France will, of course, be a much tougher battle, and forces the Icelandic team back into their more accustomed role as the underdogs. France holds second place on the FIFA world rankings, as of March 2019.
Iceland’s last match against France—a friendly held in Guingamp last October—ended with a surprising 2-2 draw, with commentators roundly praising the Icelanders for their energy and effort, while chastising the French players for their sluggish play and nonchalant attitude.
Unfortunately, misfortune allowed for an unlucky own goal from defender Hólmar Örn Eyjólfsson, and a giveaway penalty at 90 minutes allowed the French side to tie.
Given these missed opportunities, the Icelandic side has a lot to prove tonight. France will no doubt be better prepared for a team they previously underestimated, but as to whether Iceland can topple this giant of football is still left to be seen.
The Euro 2020 sees the top two sides from each group qualify for the tournament finals, held in June and July next year. Those who performed the strongest in the 2018 Nations League face off for the final four places. The Euro 2020 finals will be played across 13 cities in Europe, with the decider to take place in London’s Wembley Stadium.
Iceland vs France will kick off tonight at 6.45PM. Where are you planning on watching the game in Iceland, and what do you predict the score will be? Make sure to leave your thoughts and queries in the Facebook comments box below.