Surprise Euro 2016 quarter-finalists Iceland want a fairytale ending to their incredible run, like the one that Leicester City enjoyed when they stunned the football world by clinching the Premier League title this season, team coaches said on Wednesday.
Leicester, with no big names in the squad, finished ahead of far more illustrious English clubs in what was one of the biggest upsets in club football histroy. Iceland, in their first major tournament, have already taken the competition by storm, advancing past the group stage and then beating England 2-1 on Monday to set up a quarter-final clash with hosts France.
"We have same team spirit as Leicester"
"I think I would like it to end like it ended with Leicester City," Iceland joint coach Heimir Hallgrimsson told reporters. "They played on their strengths and we are trying to play on our strengths. There is the same team spirit in both teams. We are willing to work for each other."
While Iceland had already exceeded expectations, they are ready to face France in much the same way as they did England. "This was a game for them (England) to lose. All the pressure was on England," Hallgrimsson said. "They mocked us a bit before the game but we had nothing to lose. When you go into a game like that, you can be relaxed and show your best. Against France we can go relaxed and show our best. We don't have the pressure of the entire world that we need to win this game. We want to win but we don't absolutely need to. That is a big benefit for us."
Iceland players arrive late for dinner
However, the euphoria over England's victory has had a brief impact on discipline, says joint coach Lars Lagerback said, with some players arriving late for dinner on Tuesday and the Swede having to remind them of their responsibilities. "It was a bit sloppy. A few of the guys were late to dinner. I told them: 'Don't think you are over the hill because you beat the English'," Lagerback said. "On and off the pitch we have to be 100 percent professional. Twenty minutes late is disrespectful for the team," said the former Sweden coach.
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