Since this is the first time Iceland have ever qualified for the European Championships, it will be exciting to track their debut performance against some of the finest talent in the continent.

Can the newcomers pull off the surprise of the century and earn a place in the history books?

Ladbrokes odds

To win the tournament: 80/1

To win Group F: 11/2

To qualify for Round of 16: 8/11

Top goal-scorer in Euro 2016: Gylfi Sigurðsson: 150/1

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Route to Euro 2016

Iceland finished second in Qualifying Group A, two points behind the Czech Republic.

A 3-0 home win against Turkey in their opening match set the tone for things to come.

Iceland went on to beat a weak and disorganised Holland 2-0 at home, courtesy of a brace from Gylfi Sigurðsson, who scored again in the 1-0 win in Amsterdam. They also lost once and won once against the Czech Republic.

A defeat to Turkey in the last round of games didn’t matter, as their place at Euro 2016 was already secure.

Tournament history

Iceland have never previously qualified for the European Championships. The closest they came was in the qualifiers for Euro 2004, during which a draw with Germany wasn’t enough to see them through.


Lars Lagerbäck

After pairing with Tommy Söderberg as joint manager of Sweden (2000-2004), Lars Lagerbäck became sole manager of Iceland in 2011, after leading Sweden to two World Cups and three European Championships.

Lagerbäck coached Iceland to the play-offs for the 2014 World Cup, but their match against Croatia ended in a 2-0 defeat. As this was Iceland’s best ever campaign up to this point, he was still as popular as ever with the Icelandic people.

After some thought, Lagerbäck decided to remain until 2016 as joint head coach with his old assistant, Heimir Hallgrímsson.

With a population of just 329,000, Iceland is the smallest nation ever to qualify for a major football tournament.

With this in mind, it comes as little surprise that the modest and affable Lagerbäck is such a popular man with fans of the Iceland national team.

Most important player

Gylfi Sigurðsson

Swansea City’s Gylfi Sigurðsson is at his best as a linking midfielder in a 4-2-3-1 formation for both club and country.

He is highly adept at making precise passes between defences at sharp angles, allowing him to set up runs for his wingers or strikers. Sigurðsson’s first touch is excellent and he’s great at finding space to take the ball.

Rising star

Kolbeinn Sigþórsson

Kolbeinn Sigþórsson has scored a number of great goals, and he’s very good in the air.

He is sometimes let down by an erratic first touch. Indeed, this is what led to Ajax selling him to FC Nantes in the summer of 2015. However, when on form, Sigþórsson is a real danger to any defence.

Qualifying for Euro 2016 was a real achievement for a small nation that has understandably never before qualified for the Euros.

But as they face the likes of Portugal and Austria in Group F, it is unlikely that Iceland will get through the group stage.

When you consider that Portugal has Cristiano Ronaldo, the gulf in class is clear. With this in mind, their chances of making a mark in Group F look slim.

However, no-one expected Iceland to qualify for the finals either, so there’s always a (small) chance that they’ll surprise us again.

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