Iceland are the next hurdle in France’s quest to win their second European Championship crown on home soil as they two side’s go head to head on Sunday.
France moved into the last 8 courtesy of a come from behind win over Ireland as Antoine Griezmann rescued his side with a brace. The hosts now face yet another quarter-final, their fifth time in the last six editions, but for unbeaten Iceland this is unchartered territory.
History backs France who have not lost in the 11 previous encounters between the teams; eight wins and three draws with a goal difference of 22.
Former Tottenham midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson will be key to Iceland’s cause as he looks to beat former clubmate Hugo Lloris. The duo spent two seasons together at White Hart Lane.
The most recent meeting came in an international friendly in Valenciennes in 2012; Iceland took a two goal lead into the break but France rebounded with three goals, including 2 in the last 10 minutes, to steal the win.
Former Manchester United left back, Patrice Evra, says that Sunday’s match will be the ‘most important match’ of his international career.
Evra will be partnered by a new defender as Adil Rami sits out through suspension. ‘I’ll find out this afternoon in training who will be alongside me in defence. It really doesn’t matter whether it’s Eliaquim (Mangala) or Sam (Umtiti).’ said Evra.
The French will not be underestimating England’s conquerors and revealed that countering their long throws will be worked on in training.
‘Of course, we work on countering the long throws, but it doesn’t mean we’ll able to stop them. You cannot reduce Iceland to long throws as there’s much more to them than that.’ added Evra.
Co-manager of Iceland Heimir Hallgrímsson says he is backing his country’s passionate supporters to level the playing field on Sunday.
‘Support to them matters a great deal, there will most likely be a lot of French fans at the game,’ said Hallgrímsson.
‘But even though we are the smaller team on the field, or less likely to win, we have shown we can do many things, and the same with the spectators. Even though our supporters have been a lot fewer than the opponent’s ones, they have often drowned them out. We will go unafraid into this game, both on the pitch and in the stands.’
The match kicks off at 21:00.
Lloris; Sagna, Koscielny, Umtiti, Evra; Pogba, Cabaye, Matuidi; Griezmann, Giroud, Payet.
Out: Kanté, Rami (both suspended)
Misses next match if booked: Giroud, Koscielny
Halldórsson; Sævarsson, Árnason, R Sigurdsson, Skúlason; Gudmundsson, Gunnarsson, G Sigurdsson, B. Bjarnason; Bödvarsson, Sigthórsson.
Misses next match if booked: Árnason, B Bjarnason, Gudmundsson, Gunnarsson, Halldórsson, Sævarsson, Sigthórsson, G Sigurdsson, Skúlason