Iceland coach Lars Lagerback insists his players are not in the quarter-finals of Euro 2016 to make up the numbers and will push for their most memorable scalp to date against France.
Iceland take on the hosts at the Stade de France on Sunday, on the back of wins over Austria and England and an unbeaten tournament to date.
But former Sweden boss Lagerback and co-head coach Heimir Hallgrimsson made sure their squad are not about to rest on their laurels ahead of the opportunity of a lifetime.
“We changed the first-team meeting just a little bit to remind them that, even though we had a really great win for Iceland against England, we are not at all finishing the tournament,” Lagerback told a pre-match news conference in Saint-Denis.
“We reminded them that we have gone through four really good games but we still have a fifth game coming up.
“We wanted to keep their feet on the ground. We had a little talk about that and found some details we could use to provoke them a little bit.
“Hopefully they realised that we are here as footballers and shall always be 100 per cent professionals.”
Lagerback is keen for Iceland’s shock troops to focus on the carrot of a semi-final in Marseille next week – a goal that brought out the 67-year-old’s artistic side.
“I tried to build a powerpoint picture to show that we are still in it,” he explained. “It was a bad picture probably.
“It’s a road that has two directions – one that is going home and one that is going towards Marseille.”
While captain Aron Gunnarsson confirmed Lagerback’s fears over the picture – “I think he should stick to coaching,” – there can be no doubting the convictions of a veteran tactician, who is set to retire after his role in masterminding Iceland’s glorious run is complete.
“I think France is the favourite but I wouldn’t call them a big favourite – maybe it’s 40/60 or whatever,” he added.
“The most important thing is we go out and believe we can beat them. If we have that attitude we can cause them some problems.”
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