Iceland v England Preview And Betting Tips – Nations League Round One

England get their Nations League campaign up and running when they take on Iceland at Laugardalsvöllur on Friday night. Gareth Southgate will be hoping there won’t be a repeat of their Euro 2016 exit at the hands of the same opponents and will be looking to secure early points if they are to challenge Belgium and Denmark, the other two teams in League A Group 2. Tipsters Form Labs guide you to where the value might lie with their betting preview and tips for the game.  



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England will get a chance to exercise some demons here following their dismal Euro 2016 exit to Iceland, though very few players remain in the setup from that campaign and their hosts are a different team these days too.

Some of Iceland’s players have simply grown older and are now past their best, but Erik Hamren has also been hit with a number of absentees for this international break.

Gylfi Sigurdsson (Everton), Johan Berg Gudmundsson (Burnley) and Alfred Finnbogason (Augsburg) have all opted to stay with their club sides, with those three possessing 46 international goals between them.

Further, vastly experienced Copenhagen centre-back Ragnar Sigurdsson misses out through injury, while former Cardiff man Aron Gunnarsson has been prevented from travelling under new FIFA rules by his current side, Qatari outfit Al Arabi.

Iceland no longer demonstrating the same threat can be seen by their results since March 2018. They lost nine of 13 winless matches until the end of that year, and while they’ve won eight of 12 matches since then, the standard of opposition they’ve faced has been weak.

The best sides they faced over this recent spell were France and Turkey in European qualifiers, as they lost without scoring in both games with Les Bleus, beat Turkey 2-1 at home and produced a goalless stalemate in Istanbul.

England To Win To Nil At

The hosts also scored just one goal from four clashes with Belgium and Switzerland in the first edition of the Nations League, losing all four of those games, so the England win to nil looks a probable outcome.

The Three Lions have achieved that in each of their past three outings against Bulgaria, Montenegro and Kosovo, scoring 17 times across those games, though Iceland are better than those sides and it’s not as though Gareth Southgate is without selection problems of his own.

Harry Maguire’s absence has been well documented and Ben Chillwell is injured, so England’s defensive options are slim. John Stones hasn’t played enough games at Man City to force his way back into the fold, leaving a largely unconvincing field of Joe Gomez, Tyrone Mings, Michael Keane, Eric Dier and Conor Coady to duke it out for a starting spot in the middle.

It remains to be seen who slots in at left-back with Luke Shaw omitted, so away from home we wouldn’t be entirely sure about the clean sheet.

Going forwards, England look well equipped, despite the withdrawal of Marcus Rashford from the squad. Harry Kane, Jadon Sancho and Raheem Sterling are the star attractions, but Danny Ings and Mason Greenwood both enjoyed highly fruitful campaigns.

Meanwhile, although Ross Barkley and James Maddison are unavailable, there’s still some creativity in midfield with Phil Foden, Jack Grealish and Mason Mount in particular.

Jordan Henderson is also a big miss, but we’d expect the quality up front to give Iceland’s defence the run around. They won’t want to play a high-line with the pace England possess in the final third, so England’s youthful midfield should find they aren’t too harried in possession.

Over 2.5 Goals

Although an Iceland goal could be a possibility, we wouldn’t bank on it with the players they’re missing.

However, they have been continuously poor in defence against strong opposition, conceding 18 times across six games in competitive fixtures with Switzerland and Belgium in the Nations League and France in Euro qualifiers.

They even conceded four times when losing to Albania in qualifying. England have the firepower with 27 goals across their last six fixtures, but the question marks over the defence only increase the possibility of this game containing goals.

England To Win To Nil At 4/5

Over 2.5 Goals At 4/5

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