Iceland joint head coach Lars Lagerback does not believe Britain’s decision to leave the European Union and its ramifications at home will affect the England players ahead of their Euro 2016 clash in Nice on Monday.
The United Kingdom has been plunged into financial and political uncertainty following success for the campaign to depart the EU in a referendum held on Thursday.
Addressing the media before the round-of-16 clash at Allianz Riviera, Lagerback agreed with the suggestion from an Icelandic journalist that his team could cause another ‘Brexit’ by securing passage to the quarter-finals.
“That’s a good way to put it,” he said.
“We can always hope for that. Even if I don’t know if Brexit is good or bad, I don’t want to comment on that.”
Pressed on whether or not the resignation of the Prime Minster and the stock market fall caused by the triumph for the ‘Leave’ vote will affect manager Roy Hodgson and his squad at their training camp in Chantilly, Lagerback said: “I don’t know the players but I know Roy personally and I don’t think he [will be] concerned.
“I don’t know how it will develop, [but] I don’t think things like that influence you in a situation like this. Of course it can influence you privately, but I don’t think it will affect them.”
Iceland have been one of several debutants or smaller countries making an impact at this European Championship, something Lagerback ascribed to the freedom granted to players to choose a new club when their contract expires, a landmark ruling that was enforced – ironically by the European Court of Justice – in 1995.
“You see in this development from the Bosman ruling, accelerating in the last five or six years, all small countries have players at good clubs – that’s why it’s getting together and tighter at international level,” he said.
As for whether or not Iceland, having impressed on their first appearance on the big stage, can continue to secure passage to major tournaments in the future, Lagerback was uncertain.
“Of course it’s very difficult to speculate,” he said. “It’s a really good group of players, including the Under-21s and Under-17s.
“We have talented players going forward, but as a small country it’s always difficult to qualify. You don’t have the number of players to choose from. It’s difficult to win games for small countries.”
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