MX23RW : Wednesday, June 16 06:10:58| >> :600:768284:768284:
Oct 8, 2020 at 7.45pm UK
IcelandIceland
2-1
RomaniaRomania
Sigurdsson (16', 35')
Sigurdsson (62')
FT(HT: 2-0)
Maxim (62' pen.)
Maxim (36')

Preview: Iceland vs. Romania - prediction, team news, lineups

Sports Mole previews Thursday's Euro qualifying Path A playoff semi final between Iceland and Romania, including team news and predicted lineups.

Iceland and Romania will be locking horns in Thursday's European Championships qualifying Path A playoff semi-final for the chance to meet either Bulgaria or Hungary in the playoff final next month.

Iceland finished third in Group H while Romania slumped to fourth in qualification Group F, although both sides went through to the playoffs owing to their Nations League performances.


Match preview

Iceland manager Erik Hamren pictured in September 2020© Reuters

Iceland managed to go unbeaten in their final three group stage matches - recording victories over Andorra and Moldova either side of a draw with Turkey - but Erik Hamren's men ultimately finished four points behind the latter and had to settle for third place.

However, with teams now qualifying for the playoffs based on their performance from the 2018-19 Nations League, Iceland - who actually lost all four of their games in Group A2 - will have another shot at making next summer's tournament.

Iceland's 2020-21 Nations League campaign has hardly started any better; Strakarnir Okkar lost their first two matches to England and Belgium and must also traverse another tough fixture with the latter and Denmark in the days following their clash with Romania.

Hamren's current crop of players will no doubt want to follow in the footsteps of the famed Iceland squad of 2016, who reached the quarter-finals of the European Championships that year, famously beating England en route to the last eight, where they were knocked out by France.

Iceland could be faced with another meeting with the World Cup holders should they overcome Romania and also win the playoff final, as Hamren's men would enter Group F - the 'Group of Death' - if they are victorious in playoff path A, which includes France, Portugal and Germany.

Meanwhile, Romania's performance in the group stage was truly a mixed bag for Mirel Radoi's men, who won four, drew two and lost four of their games in Group F.

Romania ultimately ended up 12 points adrift of group winners Spain and seven points behind second-placed Sweden, whom they lost to on both occasions, and Radoi's side only picked up victories against Malta and the Faroe Islands in their group, drawing both games with Norway.

Unlike Iceland, Romania will enter Group C should they triumph in the Path A playoffs, with Austria, Ukraine and the Netherlands lying in wait for Radoi's men if they overcome Iceland and one of Bulgaria or Hungary.

Thursday's clash represents only the third-ever meeting between Iceland and Romania, with Tricolorii enjoying back-to-back 4-0 victories against their opponents during qualification for the 1998 World Cup.

Iceland Euro Champ Qualifying form: WLLWDW
Iceland form (all competitions): DWWWLL

Romania Euro Champ Qualifying form: LWWDLL
Romania form (all competitions): WDLLDW


Team News

Dijon goalkeeper Runar Alex Runarsson in Ligue 1 action against Paris Saint-Germain on February 29, 2020© Reuters

Arsenal new boy Runar Alex Runarsson has been included in the squad and will be hoping to build on the five caps he has already earned for the national side, but Ogmundur Kristinsson could get the nod in goal here.

Fellow Premier League duo Gylfi Sigurdsson and Johan Berg Gudmunsson have also earned recalls to the Iceland setup after opting not to travel with the squad for September's Nations League fixtures.

As for Romania, captain Vlad Chiriches suffered a leg injury in Sassuolo's victory over Crotone and will be forced to miss the playoff semi-final.

Alin Tosca is therefore expected to partner Dragos Grigore in the heart of Radoi's defence, while up top, Claudiu Keseru will be looking to build on the six goals he has already scored during qualifying.

Iceland possible starting lineup:
Kristinsson; Arnason, R. Sigurdsson, Ingason, A. Sigurdsson, Skulason; Gunnarsson, G. Sigurdsson, Gudmundsson; Finnbogason, Sigthorsson

Romania possible starting lineup:
Tatarusanu; Burca, Grigore, Tosca, Bancu; Cretu, Marin, Maxim; Deac, Keseru, Stanciu


SM words green background

We say: Iceland 1-2 Romania

Iceland's heroes from the 2016 European Championships will no doubt have that tournament still fresh in their memories as they bid to reach November's Path A playoff final. However, Romania performed relatively well in their Nations League fixtures against Northern Ireland and Austria last month, and even though Radoi will have to cope with the loss of his captain Chiriches, we can still see Tricolorii advancing to the final.


Top betting tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting a double chance bet on a home win or an away win in this match. Click here to find out what else they are predicting for this game and for more of their tried-and-tested football tips.Home/Away:data

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Dijon goalkeeper Runar Alex Runarsson in Ligue 1 action against Paris Saint-Germain on February 29, 2020
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7Tottenham HotspurSpurs381881268452362
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15Southampton38127194768-2143
16Brighton & Hove AlbionBrighton38914154046-641
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RWest Bromwich AlbionWest Brom38511223576-4126
RSheffield UnitedSheff Utd3872292063-4323

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