Iceland’s Euro 2016 qualification can act as a catalyst for the country’s youth to emulate the feats of the current national side, midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson has said ahead of their Group F opener against Portugal on Tuesday.
Iceland will play their first match at a major tournament in St Etienne and after narrowly missing out on the 2014 World Cup in Brazil, the Swansea City player believes the future is looking bright for a side once considered international minnows.
“As children growing up, we never really looked at our national team. We looked at Brazil and Spain but now the youngsters are watching us and I hope they’re looking up to us,” Sigurdsson told reporters in France.
“People kept on telling me that Iceland would never play in a major tournament but I always believed it would happen and it’s great we’re there.”
The 26-year-old, who also had spells at Tottenham Hotspur and Reading, added that Iceland should look to Leicester City’s title-winning season to seek inspiration.
“You know, it has been a crazy season but every team is sitting and watching Leicester and thinking, ‘How is that possible?’ Maybe it will be similar with Iceland,” Sigurdsson added.
“If you have belief, good players and confidence then anything is possible.”
Austria and Hungary are the other teams in the group.