England v Iceland: Hallgrimsson urges Iceland to grasp life-changing moment

England's Wayne Rooney during a training session at Stade de Bourgogones, Chantilly.
England's Wayne Rooney during a training session at Stade de Bourgogones, Chantilly.
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Co-manager Heimir Hallgrimsson has rallied his “Icelandic army” ahead of tonight’s potentially life-changing contest against England.

Making it to the finals of Euro 2016 was an incredible achievement in itself for a country with a population of just 330,000 and where outdoor football is impossible for large chunks of the year due to the freezing conditions.

Swansea City and Iceland's Gylfi Sigurdsson

Swansea City and Iceland's Gylfi Sigurdsson

The smallest nation to ever grace a major tournament is now preparing to take on the country that gave birth to football, arriving in Nice dreaming of adding another chapter to their fairytale.

Iceland are excited and unburdened, but know overcoming England on the French Riviera will change their country forever.

“We’ve said previously that this game is a win-win game,” co-coach Hallgrimsson, who is also a qualified dentist, said on the eve of the match.

“They have already won the hearts of all Icelandic people for their performances.

“With a good performance against England tomorrow, they’ll always be winners in my book.

“On the other hand, if we beat England (the players’) lives will change, and all of our lives will change, significantly.

“Icelandic football will go up in reputation and the way we approach football will be different. It’ll look different for us.

“If you want the best out of life, you have to be ready when the chance is there for you and I don’t think there are bigger chances than this for Icelandic football.

“It’s just for the players to play tomorrow and hopefully we will beat England.

“The physical battle, we’re not afraid of that one,” said Hallgrimsson, who will take over sole control of the team when Swedish co-coach Lars Lagerback retires after Euro 2016. “I think the boys have shown that they can match everyone in that area.

“We have scored goals almost every game from a set-piece.”