Prediction and odds for the game: Iceland (12/1) v England (1/4)
We are backing the away win
When: Saturday, 5th September 17:00
Where: Laugardalsvollur (Reykjavík)
On Saturday evening, Iceland host England in Group A2 of the Nations League, in a potentially fascinating clash.
The home team have experienced a rollercoaster of emotions in recent years. Despite qualifying for Euro 2016, the Nordic nation’s results in the maiden Nations League campaign were poor, as they suffered losses in all four of their games against Belgium and Switzerland.
The home side were extremely generous in defence in that maiden campaign, conceding at least twice in all four of the defeats. At the other end of the pitch, Iceland also scored just once in their four group games.
Since that campaign, Iceland have bounced back slightly by making the Euro 2021 play-offs, where they face Romania. The results from Eric Hamren’s team have certainly improved of late, as they are undefeated in five international games, recording four victories.
The key to Iceland’s improvement has been better defensive displays, as they have kept clean sheets in four of their last five international matches, having conceded just one goal in their recent unbeaten run.
However, Iceland head into this clash without several regular players, including Everton playmaker Gylfi Sigurdsson and Burnley’s Johann Berg Gudmundsson, among others.
The visitors most recent international form has been good, even if their last matches were way back in November of last year. The Three Lions have won five of their previous six games while being highly prolific by scoring at least four times in each of the victories. Gareth Southgate’s team have won 13 of their last 15 matches, suffering just one defeat in normal time and one in extra-time.
England had mixed fortunes in the inaugural Nations League, as they opened their campaign with a 2-1 home defeat against Spain. However, they followed the defeat up with a three-game unbeaten run, including a win over Croatia and Spain.
The three-game unbeaten run saw the visitors top their group and qualify for the semi-finals of the competition. However, they suffered an extra-time 3-1 defeat against the Netherlands, before finishing third after a victory over Switzerland after a goalless draw. England followed up their relatively successful Nations League campaign by coasting to qualification for Euro 2021.
England saw several players withdraw from the squad, including Manchester United duo Marcus Rashford and Harry Maguire.
Iceland shocked England in Euro 2016 by recording a 2-1 win over the Three Lions in last-16 of the competition. It seems unlikely that the Nordic nation can repeat that sort of positive result, especially as they have some key players missing. We are going to be boring and say the away win.
However, the other bet we are recommending is slightly less obvious and it is the under 2.5 goals scored. Iceland have improved massively in defence and we do not know what the effects that the short break from football will have on both sets of players.
Verdict: We are backing the away win at odds of 1/4 and/or under 2.5 goals scored at evens. (All odds are taken from Bet365).
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Who will come out on to between Iceland and England?