Iceland Boss Keeps The Faith...And Looking Back At Goddard's Goal

Last updated : 10 August 2020 By Three Lions

The Three Lions are scheduled to play their first fixture of 2020 on Saturday 5th September with the opening match of England's Nations League group taking place in Reykjavik, a first game against Iceland since the Euro 2016 humbling that signalled the end of Roy Hodgson's reign as national team boss.

That defeat looks less of a seismic occurence than it appeared at the time, Iceland having since qualifed for the 2018 World Cup and booked a place at the top table of the Nations League.

A third successive major tournament qualification rests on Iceland getting through the delayed Euro 2020 play-offs with a semi-final against Romania now scheduled for October.

Questions have been raised as to whether the 'golden generation' of players who have carried the small nation this far can manage one last hurrah but coach Erik Hamren recently the official FIFA website of his faith in the experienced group.

He said: "It was a question I had too when I took the job: do these older players still have the quality and the hunger to achieve more great things with Iceland?"

"And what I've seen has told me that they do. I like their attitude a lot."

England's travelling supporters will be denied the chance to experience Reykjavik with the game set to be played behind closed doors (although the Icelandic FA is hopeful that some home supporters will be able to watch).

The trip will only be the second for a Three Lions side after an unusual fixture in the build-up to the 1982 World Cup.

As the Football Association website confirms, manager Ron Greenwood named an XI of players on the fringes of selection for the tournament in Spain ahead of another game in Finland the following day.

As such the Iceland clash was due to have 'B' international status but a 1-1 draw was celebrated by the hosts and led to them successfully lobbying for the match to be upgraded to a senior fixture.

Good news for Paul Goddard, scorer of England's goal on what would prove to be his only senior appearance.