Iceland have continued to improve since making a name for themselves at Euro 2016; the country whose population is less than 400,000 have easily made it to Russia, and will likely prove to be tough opposition for anyone, let alone a country who is still in it’s infancy in footballing terms. Qatar have fared OK against some useful opposition in recent times, a 1-0 loss against Czech Republic last time out was respectable, but they’ve got a long way to go if they’re to get seriously competitive on home soil in 2022.
One thing we know about this Icelandic side, is that it’s hard to get the better of. Heimir Hallgrímsson has built a well-oiled machine, one that gives little away defensively. Offensively, they’re something of a smash and grab outfit, though they are indeed capable of scoring a few goals. Consider this in conjunction with the fact that Qatar have rarely troubled Czech Republic last time out, and a lack of goals in this fixture seems likely.
‘Under 2.5 Goals’ is the bet that stands out most. Given the way Iceland have often defended on the road against useful European opposition, it’s very easy to see them keeping things nice and tight here. What’s more, with this being a friendly, a long way from home, they might not be too keen to overexert themselves going forward.
Interestingly, or rather unsurprisingly, ‘Under 2.5 Goals’ has landed in eight of the last five Iceland away matches, with Hallgrímsson’s side keeping a clean sheet in four of those eight. On the flip-side, there have been plenty of goals (at both ends) for Qatar in recent home matches, but their opposition has been questionable to say the least. Facing a side who’re strong at the back such as Iceland could change things. After all, the hosts struggled to find their stride against a Czech Republic side who’re average at best just a few days ago.
All things considered, the battle-hardened visitors are expected to keep things nice and tight as usual, but, with them not being the most high-scoring side, the hosts can keep things respectable and avoid a real thrashing.