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Oct 11, 2021 at 7.45pm UK
Teitur Thordarson (19'), Gudmundsson (35' pen., 79' pen.), Gudjohnsen (89')
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Marxer (34'), Frommelt (58')
Marxer (63')

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

:Headline: Preview: Iceland vs. Liechtenstein - prediction, team news, lineups:
Sports Mole previews Monday's World Cup Qualifying - Europe clash between Iceland and Liechtenstein, including predictions, team news and possible lineups.
Sports Mole

Iceland welcome Liechtenstein to Laugardalsvollur in Reykjavik on Monday evening for the latest round of World Cup 2022 European qualifiers in Group J.

The hosts have had a poor campaign and sit fifth in the group, whilst their opponents are group underdogs as ever and have picked up just a solitary point so far.

Match preview

Iceland competed at a World Cup for the first time in their history in 2018, but their hopes of repeating that feat four years later now hang by a thread, and will very likely have been extinguished whatever the result on Monday.

Strakarnir okkar now lie seven points behind North Macedonia and Armenia - in second and third respectively - so, with three games remaining including this one, they would need an extremely unlikely set of results to grab the second qualification spot.

A draw in their most recent game against Armenia effectively sealed their fate, with 18-year-old Isak Bergmann Johannesson's late equaliser rescuing a 1-1 draw but ultimately changing little in a game where three points was essential.

Arnar Vidarsson was promoted from managing the under-21 side to take charge of the full national team in 2020, but has been unable to match up to their underdog heroics of recent years and has witnessed his side win just one and lose four of their seven qualifiers to this point.

They will, at least, be confident in returning to winning ways for the first time in six games on this occasion considering the level of their opponents.

After a surprise 1-1 draw away to Armenia in their previous game, normality was restored for minnows Liechtenstein as they fell to a 4-0 defeat against North Macedonia on Friday.

Martin Stocklasa will have been pleased to see his side hold out for almost the entirety of the first half but, once Darko Velkovski had opened the scoring in the 39th minute, the floodgates opened and three second-half goals for the visitors left Liechtenstein's goal difference at -17.

The Blues-Reds have only won two of their previous 64 World Cup qualifying matches and lost all 10 games in trying to get to the 2018 tournament, so picking up one point in this campaign can be seen as a genuine improvement for a team ranked 188th in the world, with Gibraltar and San Marino the only European teams below them.

As has been the case for a while, the Liechtensteiners are playing simply for pride now but will continue to put the effort in and could yet surprise an off-colour Iceland on this occasion.

Iceland World Cup Qualifying - Europe form:
  • L
  • W
  • L
  • D
  • L
  • D
  • W
  • D
  • L
  • D
  • L
  • D

Iceland form (all competitions):

Liechtenstein World Cup Qualifying - Europe form:
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • L
  • D
  • L

Team News

Iceland boss Vidarsson largely trusts his experienced core of players but has been forced into a change in recent games, with captain Aron Gunnarsson absent to due to injury, and the captain was not fit to be a part of the squad once again for this international break.

Birkir Bjarnason, Andri Baldursson and Johannesson have formed a strong midfield unit in his absence but only Bjarnason started in the midfield three on Friday, with Victor Palsson and Thorir Johann Helgason taking the place of the latter two.

This may have been a case of rotation, with two games in the space of 72 hours, and considering the result last time out, it would not be surprising to see at least one of Baldursson and Johannesson return to the starting XI.

After having looked much more solid with a back five against Germany and Romania, Liechtenstein conceded four with that setup last time out and Stocklasa will perhaps now consider returning to a four-man defence.

Iceland possible starting lineup:
Runarsson; Saevarsson, Hermannsson, Ingi Bjarnason, Thorarinsson; Palsson, Bjarnason, Johanesson; Kjartansson , Gudmundsson, Gudjohnsen

Liechtenstein possible starting lineup:
B. Buchel; S. Wolfinger, Malin, Kaufmann, Hofer, Goppel; Sele, Frommelt, Hasler; Y. Frick, N. Frick

We say: Iceland 2-0 Liechtenstein

Despite Iceland's struggles of late, a home fixture against lowly Liechtenstein should not trouble them overly and we are backing them to secure a comfortable victory, which will make their points tally a little more respectable, at least.

Top tip

Our expert tipster partners at Sporita.com are predicting under 3.5 goals 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.Under 3.5:data

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