France make the trip to Reykjavik to face Ireland in a crunch Group H clash of the Euro 2020 qualifiers on Friday. The reigning world champions have created their own problems and surprisingly, find themselves a rung below Turkey in the standings. Iceland, meanwhile, haven’t done themselves any favours, with their recent 4-2 reverse against Albania consigning them to 3rd spot on the table.
The rise of the Icelandic football team has been nothing short of incredible and their journey has also proven that fairytales do exist in football, albeit occasionally. Yet, they are in real danger of missing out on the continent’s biggest party altogether, unless they rectify the issues plaguing them.
So far, the hosts’ losses have come against Albania and France, meaning that they’ve managed only 12 points from a possible 18. They’ve scored 10 goals and conceded 9, an alarming statistic considering Iceland usually pride themselves on their defensive solidity and organisation.
They will have their task cut out when France come visiting on Friday, more so because the world champions will be looking to lay down the marker after their triumph 15 months ago.
Since that glorious evening in Moscow, Les Blues haven’t clicked into gear, leading numerous fans and pundits to suggest that they’ve been resting on their laurels.
However, despite their supposedly lacklustre approach, they’ve won 5 of their previous 6 encounters in the qualifying phase with the only aberration coming against Turkey.
Thus, when the French line up against Iceland, they would be hoping to quell allegations of being complacent while also looking to pick up vital points on the road. After all, the world champions wouldn’t want to miss the Euro 2020 bus, would they?
The encounter possesses all the ingredients to be an absolute humdinger, and it is probably time for the footballing fraternity to get their feet up, relax and enjoy the international break’s latest delicacy.
Date: 11th October, 2019
Time: 6:45 pm (Local Time); 12:15 am IST on the 12th of October, 2019
Venue: Laugardalsvöllur, Reykjavik
Head to Head Record
Total Matches Played: 14 matches
Iceland: 0 wins
France: 10 wins
Draw: 4 draws
Form Guide (Last five matches; Most recent first)
Player to watch out for
Antoine Griezmann joined Barcelona in the summer amidst a lot of expectations. However, he has largely failed to live up to the hype, although he has turned in a few impressive displays for the Blaugrana.
Griezmann would be glad to be back in French colours, especially considering he’s under the scanner much less when he turns out for his nation.
Moreover, Didier Deschamps’ side’s modus operandi suits Griezmann’s strengths, with the Barcelona man operating as a central foil to Olivier Giroud.
Iceland win: 6.50
France win: 1.40