Lakenheath Old Boys

We are all former students at Lakenheath High School and other public schools in East Anglia. We were in school in the 70s and 80s and drank deeply from the well of British culture of those decades - the pints, the telly, and of course the footie!

Thursday, June 09, 2016

Euro 2016 Preview - Group F: Austria and Iceland

Finishing up Group F with the also ran sides - Austria and Iceland - first up Austria:

Nickname: "Das Team" (rather uninspired, really)

Absurd FIFA ranking: 10th (seriously, Sepp?!)

Coach: Former Grasshopper Marcel Koller

Match Schedule: 

June 14 - Austria v. Hungary  (Bordeaux, 12pm EST, ESPN)
June 17 - Austria v. Portugal (Paris, 3am ESPN)
June 22 - Austria v. Iceland (St. Denis, 12pm, ESPN)

Prospects: Austria surprised lots of footie watchers by qualifying top of a competitive group and including Sweden and Russia (both of whom qualified later in playoffs). But how will they fare in a major tournament, not having qualified for a major tournament for the best part of a decade. Austria feature several players such as Leicester City's Christian Fuchs and Stoke City's Marko Arnautovic, who will be familiar to Premiership watchers after sparkling seasons in Blighty. The opening match, which sees a historical Hapsburg Empire clash with Hungary, will determine a lot about this group.

Key Player: Stuttgart midfielder Martin Harnik is the glue for this side.

Prediction: This is a close call, but I reckon that Hungary might just edge out Austria in the group.

On to the Iceland, who are happy to appear at France 2016.

Nickname: "StrĂ¡karnir okkar" ("Our boys")

Absurd FIFA ranking: 34th

Coach: Top Swede Lars Lagerback

Match Schedule: 

June 14 - Iceland v. Portugal  (St. Etienne, 3pm EST, ESPN)
June 17 - Iceland v. Hungary (Marseille, 12pm ESPN)
June 22 - Iceland v. Austria (St. Denis, 12pm, ESPN)

Prospects: Icelanders are known to be overly optimistic about their sports teams and heroes; however, even they must have modest expectations for a team that is entering its first major tournament. France 2016 will either be enlivened by the presence of these minnow sides that have qualified for the first time due to the enlarged 24-team format - or it will be dragged down by it. In any case, Iceland have a seasoned campaigner in Lars Lagerback to guide them through the group stages. Yet, there lack of quality will almost certainly drag them down. Only Swansea's Gylfi Sigurdsson and Cardiff's Aron Gunnarsson will be at all familiar to those who follow the game.

Key Player: Goalkeeper Hannes Por Halldorsson will have to be on top of his game to keep the bedlam in front of his goal at bay.

Prediction: Three losses and out - a good shout for the worst side in the tournament.


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