Portugal vs Iceland Preview

Portugal will look to go all the way to European Championship glory.
Cristiano Ronaldo will look to guide Portugal all the way in the Euro 2016
EURO 2016 Group F | Tuesday 14 June | Stade Geoffroy Guichard | 21:00

Euro newcomers, Iceland, will lock horns with 2004 finalists, Portugal. The Portuguese are competing at their sixth successive European Championship and their seventh in total. They have always made it past the group stage and will be looking to do so once more. In their way first, is debutants Iceland, looking to make their mark at the European stage. But do the Icelanders have what it takes to stop the likes of Cristiano Ronaldo and Nani? With six wins and two draws from their 10 games in qualifying, they sure feel so.



To Win (90mins)
Portugal 6/10
Draw 27/10
Iceland 52/10

Portugal

Portugal head into the tournament at the best possible time ever. 

After losing their opening game in the qualifiers, Portugal then went on a seven game winning streak to ensure their place in the Euro, drawing a fairly decent group. 

Cristiano Ronaldo will be looking to break records once more – this time at international level. 

The three-time Ballon d’Or winner has scored six Euro goals. He needs three more to match all-time record holder Michel Platini’s tally of nine for France.


Three-time Ballon d'Or winner - Cristiano Ronaldo

With 14 Euro appearances, he is also within two games of the record of 16 shared by France’s Lilian Thuram and the Netherlands’ Edwin van der Sar. 

He’s not only their best player, but will certainly be the greatest player at the entire tournament. Alongside Nani and other skilful players, CR7 will look to make headlines once more for Portugal at the Euro’s.



Iceland

If there’s one side that captured the European imagination at large during the qualifying stages, it’s Iceland. 

The Icelanders come off the back of a campaign in which they did an unlikely double over the Netherlands and recorded wins over both Turkey and the Czech Republic. 

They’ll be desperate to pull off another upset or two in France, with veteran coach Lars Lagerback having announced that he will depart after the tournament. 

Iceland finished qualifying having scored an impressive 17 goals in their 10 games. 

They played fearlessly, and were richly rewarded. Though qualifying from the group stages will be extremely difficult for Iceland, it’s certainly not impossible.


Iceland playmaker - Gylfi Sigurdsson

Lagerback will hope the former Chelsea star Eidur Gudjohnsen will roll back the years after naming the 37-year old in the squad. 

Gylfi Sigurdsson played a massive role in Iceland’s qualification. His six goals put him ahead of the likes of Ronaldo in the scoring charts, and he was involved in the creation of several more. 

If Sigurdsson is even slightly off form, Iceland’s chance of progressing will be very slim.

Probable line-ups:

Portugal: 4-3-3
Patricio; Cedric, Pepe, Alves, Coentrao; Carvalho, Sanches, Moutinho; Quaresma, Nani, Ronaldo.

Iceland 4-4-2
Halldorsson; Skulason, R Sigurdsson, Arnason, Saevarsson; Bjarnason, G Sigurdsson, Gunnarsson, Gudmundsson; Finnbogason, Sigthorsson.

Betting Verdict: Portugal Win + BTTS (33/10)
While Ronaldo will be looking to break records, the defence of Portugal could face an uphill battle stopping the likes of Sigurdsson and co. They’re stuck with the aging centre-backs of Pepe, Bruno Alves and Ricardo Carvalho in the squad. Personally, I’m not a huge fan of this Portugal side. Apart from the ruthless Ronaldo, Fernando Santos’ side lack the firepower to go all the way in the tournament. However, they should brush away this Icelandic team. That being said, Portugal to Win + Both Teams To Score is well worth a punt at 33/10.

Written by Jesse Nagel.