Hodgson ‘fears’ Iceland will not differ from groups

Date published: Thursday 23rd June 2016 12:27

England manager Roy Hodgson says no stone will be left unturned as his squad prepare for a showdown with Iceland in the knockout stages of Euro 2016.

After only managing a goalless draw against Slovakia on Monday to see Wales end up as winners of Group B, the England camp have been waiting to find out their opponents in the last 16.

As the last matches of Group F entered their closing moments on Wednesday afternoon, it appeared that would mean another date with Portugal and Cristiano Ronaldo in Nice on Monday night, until Iceland snatched a dramatic last-gasp winner against Austria to finish behind Hungary.

Tournament debutants Iceland are the lowest ranked side left in the competition, at 34th in the world, and the smallest nation ever to reach the finals with a population of just 330,000.

However, England will have all their homework done by the time the two nations kick off at the Allianz Riviera.

“It is purely and simply one of preparation now, making sure the players know as much as we can tell them about Iceland and the type of game they’re likely to face,” Hodgson said to FA TV.

“We know Iceland have played extremely well in their qualifying group games, where they topped their group ahead of Holland, and since they have been here they have had some remarkable successes, so we know it won’t be an easy game.

“I fear it won’t differ enormously from our group games because Iceland aren’t an expansive team.

“I know the coach Lars Lagerback very well and he always prepares his teams extremely well in that way, so I don’t think we’re going to benefit from lots and lots of space in the game.

“You take what you get in the last 16 and we are just pleased to be there, so we need to make sure we do enough preparation for the game.”

Hodgson wants England to find a “killer instinct” to help turn dominance of possession into goals when the knockout stage kicks off.

He added: “Their [Iceland’s] success has been built on a very solid defensive organisation and an incredibly hard work ethic.

“We’ll have to make certain that we are aware of that and hope that we can keep the domination that we’ve had in games and the control we’ve had in the games, but maybe be a bit more ruthless and have more of a killer instinct in front of goal.

“Our ratio of creating chances and taking chances is not good, that needs to be improved and everyone is aware of that so it will be nice if we can start with that on Monday evening.”

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