Iceland midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson says reaching Euro 2016 will build the country’s football infrastructure and leave a legacy for future generations.
Sigurdsson was instrumental in Iceland’s qualifying campaign, which delivered the nation its first appearance at a major tournament finals, and he said that being able to watch their home country in action at Euro 2016 would inspire young Icelandic footballers.
“Qualifying brings a lot of money into the federation which will go down to the kids, the coaching and the facilities,” said Sigurdsson. “So the impact is not just from a player’s perspective.
“It gives kids growing up hope that even if you’re from a very small country you can think that anything is possible.”
Speaking ahead of his side’s Group F opener against Portugal, Sigurdsson said the pressure was off for Iceland after they qualified for a European Championship finals for the first time in the nation’s history.
Iceland finished second in qualifying Group A to book their ticket to France, while qualifying opponents Holland failed to make it through.
Sigurdsson said: “We haven’t really set ourselves any targets. We’re in a tough group and the biggest achievement for us was to get there.
“We were in a tough qualifying group with Holland, Turkey and the Czech Republic, and everyone was very surprised that we managed to get here.
“So we will enjoy it, hopefully get a good start to the Euros and do as well as possible.”
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