Group D fixtures
Sunday 10 July
Belgium vs Iceland (18:00, Manchester)
Thursday 14 July
Italy vs Iceland (18:00, Manchester)
Monday 18 July
Iceland vs France (21:00, Rotherham)
How they qualified: Group F runners-up (P8 W6 D1 L1 F25 A5)
Women’s EURO best: Quarter-finals (2013)
Women’s EURO 2017: Group stage
Key player: Sara Björk Gunnarsdóttir
The Lyon midfielder went on maternity leave in March 2021 and had a baby in November, but has returned to action to ensure Iceland will have their captain and most-capped player available in England. The first woman to twice be named Icelandic sportsperson of the year, in 2018 and 2020, her technical and attacking prowess have already taken her (and Iceland) to three past Women’s EUROs as well as huge club success.
One to watch: Sveindís Jane Jónsdóttir
Jónsdóttir was playing in Iceland’s second tier aged 14 and soon scoring prolifically. It was a same story at international level where, at 19, she scored within eight minutes of her debut in September 2020, not long before Wolfsburg snapped her up. Also possesses a dangerous long throw.
Coach: Thorsteinn Halldórsson
When Halldórsson was appointed at the start of 2021 he brought a huge amount of experience in the female and male club games, and had won three women’s titles with Breidablik between 2014 and 2020. Among highlights of his early games in charge was a 2-0 win against Japan.
Iceland line up in a 4-3-3 and under a succession of coaches have usually been a difficult team to break down with a squad of players displaying a natural understanding. They are dangerous from set pieces and Gunnarsdóttir’s return will add experience and creativity.
Iceland made an early impact when they reached the two-legged Women’s EURO 1995 quarter-finals, losing to England, and made play-offs in 1997 and 2005, but it still raised eyebrows when they qualified in 2009 – the first time their nation had reached a major senior football tournament for men or women, drawing huge audiences at home on TV. They have made every EURO since, even holding Norway and beating the Netherlands to reach the 2013 quarter-finals, and it would now be a shock for them to miss out on qualifying.
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