Portugal v Iceland - Tuesday June 14
St Etienne, Live on BBC, 8pm
Despite winning 7 of their 8 matches, none of Portugal’s matches were settled by more than a single goal. On the one hand that points towards a team who are extremely resilient in tight matches, but on the other hand it shows that qualification was anything but plain sailing for Fernando Santos’ team. You have to wonder whether Portugal will be able to keep this record up when they come up against stronger sides in the group stages although the draw does appear to have been kind to them.
In the group stages, they won 7 games, drew 0 and lost 1, scoring 11 goals, conceding 5 and ending up with a +6 goal difference.
A strong Euro 2016 qualification campaign saw Iceland narrowly lose out to the Czech Republic at the top of Group A, but beat Turkey into third place, and leave the hapless Dutch way behind in a distant 4th. Unbeaten at home, Iceland spent a total of just 35 minutes in losing positions throughout their entire qualification campaign, demonstrating just how competitive a side they are.
In the group stages, they won 6 games, drew 2 and lost 2, scoring 17 goals, conceding 6 and ending up with a +11 goal difference.
When qualifying for Euro 2016, Portugal were fouled more often than any other team at Euro 2016 (14.5 times per match) a big part of this was down to teams targeting star man Cristiano Ronaldo, (and partly due to Pepe throwing himself to the ground at every possibly opportunity). Obviously, the performance of Ronaldo will have a massive bearing on both this match and also Portugal’s chances at the tournament overall and if Iceland can keep him quiet they will have a real chance in this one.
Iceland had the joint-second most clinical attack of any qualifier: 5.4 shots taken per goal scored and they had the joint-highest shot conversion from headers of any team in qualifying (33.3% or 5/15). They will be a danger from free-kicks and corners and Portugal will need be aware of the aerial threat they possess.
Portugal are ultra reliant on Ronaldo and will go into the game as strong favourites, but I fancy Iceland to score and get at least a point from this game.
- Iceland to Score 1 or more goals in the match @
- Double chance – Iceland And The Draw @
- Iceland to win 2-1 @
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