Written by Brian Koh
Group F may look like an easy feast for Portugal and a struggle among the weaker ones to reach the second place. While I predict that Portugal would finish first eventually, the contents of the games will definitely be more interesting than you would expect as we open the box. Perhaps listing the FIFA rankings of these countries may speak for me. Portugal – 8th, Austria – 11th, Hungary – 18th, and Iceland – 35th. As a comparison, the hosting country France stands at 21st. Iceland is the only country that falls behind France in terms of FIFA rankings.
Match 1: Portugal
Iceland and Portugal were in the same qualifier group for EURO 2012. Portugal won both games – not that surprising. Speaking in cold blooded tone, it is highly likely that this time will be no different. Yes, I went on and on about why Iceland is a great team and how their performance has recently been on a rising trend. But, so is Portugal. Portugal, after their new coach Fernando Santos took over, won seven straight games to reach qualification. Also, they have Cristiano Ronaldo.
Match 2: Hungary
This game will likely to be the one with best odds for Iceland to win. Hungary was placed in arguably the weakest qualifying group. Still, they barely made it to the tournament, after going through the play-offs. Also, the team has gone through one of the most unstable periods of their history – they changed their manager three times during the qualifiers. With no apparent superstar who can change the momentum of the entire game, I would say it would be quite difficult for Hungary to win.
Match 3: Austria
Austria is the only team in Group F that was undefeated throughout the qualifying matches. Regardless of the consequences, this match will be an interesting clash between the two rising teams that are breaking everyone’s expectations. Their biggest threats are the playmaker version of Bayern star David Alaba and Marc Janko the 6ft 5in giant forward. The outcome would first depend on how effectively can Iceland’s classis 4-4-2 defend these threats.
How to cite this page: “Iceland: Group Analysis and Match-Ups”, Written by Brian Koh(2016). European Cup 2016 Guide, Soccer Politics Blog, Duke University, http://sites.duke.edu/wcwp/tournament-guides/european-cup-2016-guide/underrated-teams-of-euro-2016/iceland/iceland-group-analysis-and-match-ups/ (accessed on (date)).