Yesterday was a relatively square day at the Euros, as all three favourites cruised in advancing to the quarter-finals. Though the host nation stumbled out of the gates, France showed their quality by absolutely dismantling the Irish in the second half. Germany were excellent against an overmatched Slovakian squad, while the Belgians have finally clicked as a side. Belgium were dangerous in attack and have shown the quality they possess over their past three matches. That victory made us winners yesterday at TheSportsGeek, and we’ll be looking to replicate that again today in the last day of round of 16 games.
Today there are some high-quality teams taking the pitch, beginning with a maruee match-up between Italy and Spain. Both sides have huge pedigree and experience, and whichever team fails to advance, you can bet there will be a ton of disappointed players and fans. Rounding out the day will be the highly followed England, as they battle with tournament underdogs in Iceland. England has been inconsistent through the group stage, while Iceland have established themselves as a gritty team that can remain in any style of match. It should be an excellent day of matches once again and we’ve got you covered. Read on below for our featured selection between England and Iceland, as well as a bonus selection!
England vs. Iceland Betting Odds:
England -1 (-120)
Iceland +1 (+100)
Over 2 (-145)
Under 2 (+125)
Betting odds provided by Bovada.lv
England vs. Iceland Pick:
It’s already been quite the adventurous tournament for both England and Iceland so far at Euro 2016. England started off in disappointing fashion, but they’ve roared back and have truly shown their quality over their past few matches. After those final minutes against Russia, England throttled Wales and thoroughly outplayed the Slovakians. While they would have and likely should have won their group, some bad luck and poor finishing meant it wasn’t to be. Now there is no more wiggle room left for the English, and yet another early exit will surely mean a complete overhaul within England’s soccer association.
Iceland is very well-organized and will be very disciplined. This isn’t a team that will beat themselves. We all know what they’ll try and do to England – put all 11 players behind the ball, and defend fully as a team. Expect the English to once again fully dominate possession, control the tempo of the match, and carry the bulk of chances. What they must ensure they do, is capitalize on the chances they will get. Iceland is very much ‘bend, but don’t break’ with regards to their defensive mantra, so the English will need to fully seize the opportunity on their chances against them. England have shown frustrations when their opponents play deep and choose not to attack all that much, but they absolutely have to ensure they don’t let this turn into a scoreless draw late into regulation.
I think England has a good chance to expose the way Iceland chooses to play. The Icelandic side will play their familiar deep 4-4-2 formation, and expect England to be able to find some holes down their right flank with Kyle Walker and Nathaniel Clyne creating a wealth of chances. Iceland isn’t the greatest of sides defending through the air on crosses, and this is definitely an area the Three Lions can and will exploit on Monday evening. A lot of Iceland’s troubles this tournament have stemmed from poor play from their left-back, the aging Olafur Skulason. Look for the English to work that area by overloading it with skill and overlapping runs from Dele Alli and Daniel Sturridge.
Ultimately England is far too good to go down to Iceland, and if they do – it will be horrible luck. While they do have a history of flaming out early in major tournaments, you can’t fault this year’s version based on what players before them have done. Roy Hodgson has made a career out of exploiting teams who play like Iceland, and though England did a poor job of breaking down these types of teams in the group stage, expect an ideal line-up and the knockout stage, to bring the best out of a very talented England team. It will be a steep price, but one that is worth it. Lay the juice for a comfortable England victory today.
PICK = England (-200)
Bonus Selection #1: Under 2 (-140) in Italy/Spain
For two teams synonymous with success at the international level, both Italy and Spain aren’t the most prolific of goalscorers. Expect both squads to play incredibly conservatively in the early going, focusing on not making an egregious error. Look for Spain to control much of the ball, which the Italians are fine with. The Azzurri are experienced defenders, and are likely play the best team defense out of all squads in the tournament. I think this will be a cagey affair, with the Spain getting chances, but Italy not conceding anything too dangerous. The Italians will play for penalties from the outset, and don’t be surprised if they get their way – led by a stellar back-line and the excellent Gigi Buffon in goal. A 1-0 Spain win seems likely or a nil-nil draw seems fitting after 90 minutes. Don’t expect much excitement!