Gretar Steinsson has warned England are in for a shock tonight as they come up against an Iceland side with ‘nothing to lose’.
The 34-year-old, now technical director at Fleetwood Town, was capped 43 times for his country before injury forced him to retire three years ago.
Many feel Roy Hodgson’s England side have the luck of the draw with a clash against the smallest nation in the Euros.
However, Steinsson has warned they could well be in for a surprise.
“Iceland’s players have nothing to lose in this game,” he told The Gazette.
“The team and the whole country are on a high at the moment and are full of confidence about their football team.
“Iceland have always had players taking part in the biggest leagues in the world and at the moment is no different.
“They may not be household names but we have players in Germany, France, England and all over Europe.
“I think England are in for a surprise. They can go out there with no pressure and full of confidence.
“Many of them are playing for their futures, this is their chance to maybe earn a bigger contract at a higher level.”
England are expected to make a host of changes for the 8pm kick-off this evening, which would see a return to the starting line-up for skipper Wayne Rooney.
Boss Hodgson has come under pressure from supporters who have described his tactics so far as negative, with a more positive outlook expected.
And Steinsson, who played more than 100 times in the Premier League for Bolton Wanderers, feels the opening goal could be all important.
He said: “The first goal will dictate the way the game goes.
“Iceland played Holland twice in qualifying and managed to score early in the games and after that were very tough to break down.
“What you’ll see is while Iceland are a defensive side, they do score goals, they don’t just rely on defending.
“That will be a worry for England as going forward they are a threat, especially from set-pieces.
“On the other hand, if England score early and are allowed to control the game, it could be a totally different matter.”
Iceland’s journey to the finals, and their performance since arriving, has been one of the stories of the tournament so far, especially for a nation of just 330,000 people.
Despite it’s size, the countries love for football takes some beating, and Steinsson explained there’s no bigger clash than one against England.
“We all extremely proud of what’s going on at the moment,” he said.
“This is the biggest game which Iceland have ever played, it’s without doubt the biggest occasion.
“English football is so big in Iceland, I have friends who come over every year so I can take them to watch English football.
“And you won’t find many English fans who love football here more than those guys.
“English footballers are idolised in Iceland, so drawing England is a dream draw.
“It’s a huge occasion for everyone.
“It’s a great time to be Icelandic, the players have made us all extremely proud.”