5 talking points ahead of England's last-16 match against Iceland


England take on Iceland in Nice on Monday, with both sides battling for a place in the quarter-finals of Euro 2016.

Here we assess five key areas that will get tongues wagging ahead of kick-off.

1. Can England find a cutting edge?

England v Iceland head-to-head graphic
(Snappa graphic)

As a variety of talking heads from the camp have stressed in recent days, England are happy with the majority of their build-up play but frustrated by the lack of end product. In three matches they have racked up 65 chances, finishing off only three - including one free-kick. They simply must do better in the knockout stage but the pedigree is there. Harry Kane and Jamie Vardy shared 49 Premier League goals last season, Daniel Sturridge killed off Wales in Lens and lest we forget Wayne Rooney. He may be operating from midfield these days but 52 international goals make him a threat wherever he starts from.

2. Iceland are in it to win it

Iceland's midfielder Elmar Bjarnason, right, and Arnor Ingvi Traustason
(Ciaran Farey/AP/PA)

Do not be fooled by the cute statistics - Iceland's tiny population of under 330,000 or their number of professional players - because this group belies them. In qualification they defeated Holland home and away, edged the Czech Republic in Reykjavik and hammered Turkey 3-0. England is a dream draw for them, given how revered the Premier League product is in their country, but they are not chasing souvenir shirts - they want a history-making triumph.

3. Will it be over in 90 minutes?

England goalkeeper Joe Hart during a training session
(Owen Humphreys/PA)

England fans are hard-wired to fear the penalties. It is in their collective DNA after six defeats in seven tournament shootouts. They have been practising them consistently at their Chantilly training base and - as Wayne Rooney pointed out - there is not a player in the fresh-faced squad who has missed in a shootout for their country. But, remarkably, England have won only three knockout games in normal time since 1966 (Paraguay 1986, Denmark 2002 and Ecuador 2006). With that record, the prospect of extra-time and more suddenly begins to loom larger.

4. Gylfi Sigurdsson to target Joe Hart?

Iceland's Gylfi Sigurdsson
(Nick Potts/EMPICS Sport)

England's dominance of possession in France has perhaps stopped too much scrutiny on Joe Hart. He has had a light workload for the most part, but will still be kicking himself for not doing more to stop Gareth Bale's free-kick. His positioning and technique were questioned as he pushed that 35-yard effort into the net and, in Swansea midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson, Hart faces another dead-ball specialist. Sigurdsson practises his free-kicks for 15 minutes a day and is a market leader in beating walls and working keepers.

5. England's wide boys are crucial

England's Danny Rose (left) and Kyle Walker during a training session
(Mike Egerton/PA)

Roy Hodgson explained after the goalless draw against Slovakia that he had largely dispensed with wingers because he felt few in the country were
significantly better at stretching defences than his full-backs. Kyle Walker and Danny Rose - who should both return - have been outstanding in that regard and must be given licence to surge forward against Iceland. Both players are blessed with speed, confidence and a decent cross. If England are to upset their opponents' shape the Tottenham pair look likely candidates.