Cyprus Mail
Football

Iceland will not melt under English pressure – Sigurdsson

Iceland's Gylfi Sigurdsson and Austria's Alessandro Schoepf in action

Iceland’s performance at Euro 2016 so far means that they have no reason to sweat over Monday’s last-16 clash against England, midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson said.

Iceland, who are making their first appearance at a major tournament, beat Austria 2-1 on Wednesday to finish second in their group and book their place in the knockout stages of Euro 2016, where they will come up against Roy Hodgson’s team.

With England being the favourites for the game, Sigurdsson suggested the lack of pressure on Iceland will play to their advantage.

“We are a small nation that nobody expects anything of… We will be the underdogs. It’s going to be a tough night but it will be worth it,” Sigurdsson told reporters after Wednesday’s win.

“Is there any reason to worry about England? No, but we know it will be a very tough game. We have no pressure on us, that’s the main thing. But if you look at England, if they lose to us there will be headlines back in England.”

England have come under pressure after scoring just three goals so far as their strikers struggle to find their feet in the tournament, but Sigurdsson felt this highlighted the strength of Hodgson’s squad.

“There are not many weaknesses in England’s squad. They have a very good team and have got through a tough group, without playing their best football,” said Sigurdsson, who is the only Icelandic player playing their trade in the Premier League.

“But that just shows how good they are and their best is probably yet to come. We will have to defend for long periods against them, but we have shown before that we are capable of it.”

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