Having clinched third place in the inaugural UEFA Nations League, England begin their latest hunt for a trophy with a trip to Reykjavik as they take on Iceland in their opening Group A2 clash.
This match represents England’s first meeting against Iceland since a humiliating Round of 16 exit at Euro 2016, as the Three Lions look to begin another bid for the Nations League title after finishing third in the inaugural edition.
Iceland will be without several first-team players as Gylfi Sigurdsson, Johann Berg Gudmundsson, Aron Gunnarsson, Alfred Finnbogason all opted not to travel for personal reasons.
Ragnar Sigurdsson is also absent through injury.
England will be without Marcus Rashford and Harry Winks after the pair withdrew for personal reasons with the pair being replaced by Aston Villa’s Jack Grealish, whilst Gareth Southgate has also called up Ainsley Maitland-Niles and Conor Coady after his initial squad announcement.
- England are unbeaten in two of three previous meetings against Iceland in all competitions (W1, D1, L1).
- Iceland drew 1-1 with England in their only home clash between these teams, which came in a friendly in June 1982.
- Only four England players who featured in their 2-1 loss to Iceland at Euro 2016 will feature in the present squad for this match (Kyle Walker, Eric Dier, Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane), although Marcus Rashford misses out through injury despite being initially named in the squad.
- Iceland have kept clean sheets in two of their last three home games, only conceding once in a 1-0 loss to France in October 2019.
- Harry Kane has scored ten goals in his last six appearances for England.
With several key players missing, Iceland really do have a huge task on their hands to find a result, although they have compensated for their lack of forwards with a stronger midfield and defensive selection which could well hint at a more compact counter-attack strategy.
England meanwhile are also missing some key players but still have enough quality about them with Raheem Sterling and Harry Kane up front, although their midfield selection looks weak with just two regulars in Declan Rice and Mason Mount but this is a chance for the rookies to step up and give Southgate serious selection headaches for future selections.
I therefore am expecting an open game if consider that most of these players haven’t played in over a month, but England should have the quality needed to get the win as another defeat would be embarrassing.
Prediction: Iceland 1-2 England
Result: Iceland 0-1 England