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Jun 7, 2024 at 7.45pm UK
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Preview: England vs. Iceland - prediction, team news, lineups

:Headline: Preview: England vs. Iceland - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Friday's friendly clash between England and Iceland, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

England's Euro 2024 hopefuls have one final chance to impress Gareth Southgate on Friday evening, when Euro 2016 conquerors Iceland arrive at Wembley for a friendly encounter and their final warm-up fixture.

The Three Lions made hard work of their clash with Bosnia-Herzegovina on Monday but still ran out 3-0 winners, while their visitors have not been in action since having their Euros dreams dashed by Ukraine in March.

Match preview

For the first 60 minutes of England's exhibition contest with Bosnia at St James' Park, there was little for the North East crowd to shout about, as Southgate's experimental side were found wanting in attack while their rearguard-heavy visitors remained rock solid at the back.

However, a quintessentially clinical Cole Palmer penalty on the hour mark laid the foundations for a late goal rush, as Trent Alexander-Arnold - shining in a midfield role yet again - dispatched a vicious volley before Harry Kane's left effort squirmed over the line.

Kane's late strike came after Ezri Konsa had inadvertently blocked a goal-bound effort from Jarrod Bowen, but it was all smiles at the full-time whistle as England marched to an ultimately routine win, albeit one that has not raised Euro 2024 hopes exponentially.

Nevertheless, returning to triumphant ways by any means necessary was of paramount importance for Southgate's men, who had been on a three-game winless streak before their successful exploits at St James' Park, failing to see off either Brazil or Belgium under the Wembley arch in March.

However, Friday's friendly now holds significantly less importance for Southgate's fringe names, as the England manager announced his final 26-man selection on Thursday, axing seven players from his selection.

As such, some players' efforts on June 7 may be futile against Iceland, who memorably condemned England to one of their most embarrassing experiences at Euro 2016 before also earning their World Cup baptism in Russia just a couple of years down the line.

Fast-forward to 2024, though, and Our Boys are still waiting for another major tournament qualification, having failed in their Euro 2020 and World Cup 2022 bids before attempting to go down the Euro 2024 playoff route, smashing Israel 4-1 in their Path B semi-final.

However, Iceland were always the unfancied underdogs against Ukraine in their playoff final, and despite going ahead through Genoa hotshot Albert Gudmundsson, this week's visitors to Wembley succumbed to second-half strikes from Viktor Tsygankov and Mykhaylo Mudryk in a heartbreaking 2-1 defeat.

As Ukraine prepare to pit their wits against Belgium, Romania and Slovakia at Euro 2024, Age Hareide's men - who have already beaten Guatemala and Honduras in friendly matches in 2024 - are readying themselves for another stint in League B of the Nations League and will also battle the Netherlands on June 10 in an equally daunting scrap.

While Our Boys will always have their 2-1 success over England at Euro 2016 etched into their annals, the Three Lions earned two slices of revenge in the 2020-21 UEFA Nations League, including a 4-0 destruction at Wembley where Phil Foden was on the scoresheet twice.

England friendly form:

England form (all competitions):

Iceland friendly form:

Iceland form (all competitions):

Team News

Even though Kane shook off a back concern to come off the bench and score on Monday, as many as nine troops were missing from Southgate's ranks, including the injured trio of Harry Maguire, Anthony Gordon and Luke Shaw, the former of whom did not make the final 26 for the Euros.

Shaw and Gordon should not be risked, but Southgate is expecting to have Bukayo Saka and John Stones back after their precautionary rest periods, while Jude Bellingham, Foden, Kobbie Mainoo and Kyle Walker should also be present after their recent club commitments forced them to miss the beating of Bosnia.

As a result, Southgate ought to revert to a tried-and-tested selection akin to his first-choice XI for the Euros, albeit with Marc Guehi probably still filling in for the absent Maguire, especially as Lewis Dunk is unavailable and Jarrad Branthwaite has been axed.

James Maddison, Jack Grealish, Curtis Jones, James Trafford and Jarell Quansah were the other unfortunate souls omitted from the final Euros squad, although the latter is still on standby.

Regarding the Icelandic troupe, four players who were part of the squad for their playoff loss to Ukraine are not involved this time around, and Hareide is ruing the absences of two of his star attackers for the England-Netherlands double-header.

Indeed, highly-rated Genoa striker Gudmundsson - supposedly admired by Tottenham Hotspur and Juventus - is not involved, and nor is Alfred Finnbogason, the fourth-highest scorer for his country's men's team with 18 efforts to his name.

The pair's absences means that ex-Burnley man Johann Berg Gudmundsson is the highest scorer in the current squad with eight efforts to his name, while Brentford's Hakon Valdimarsson should win his 10th cap in between the sticks.

England possible starting lineup:
Pickford; Walker, Stones, Guehi, Trippier; Alexander-Arnold, Rice; Saka, Bellingham, Foden; Kane

Iceland possible starting lineup:
Valdimarsson; Sampsted, Ingason, Gretarsson, Thorarinsson; Thorsteinsson, Gudmundsson, Traustason, Haraldsson; Gudjohnsen, Oskarsson

We say: England 3-0 Iceland

The manner of England's first-half display against Bosnia certainly left plenty to be desired, but with a host of big-hitters primed to return, the Three Lions should be back to their best - or close enough - at Wembley.

A handful of young Icelandic talents may be making waves in Europe, but with no Gudmundsson and no Finnbogason leading the charge, keeping the scoreline respectable should be their sole goal.

For data analysis of the most likely results, scorelines and more for this match please click here.

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