BURNLEY, England (Reuters) - Iceland winger Johann Berg Gudmundsson says he would relish the chance to face England - and beat them again - at next year’s World Cup in Russia.
Gudmundsson, who plays in the Premier League for Burnley, scored for Iceland in their 2-0 win over Kosovo on Monday which earned them qualification for the World Cup for the first time.
Asked by reporters if he would like a World Cup clash with England, who Iceland shocked at Euro 2016 with a 2-1 second round win in Nice, Gudmundsson grinned:
“Hopefully yes - hopefully we’ll get them in the group phase. It was a great game for us last time and I believe we could beat them again,” he said.
The 26-year-old believes the subdued and critical mood around England’s successful qualification for Russia shows the Three Lions are still suffering something of a hangover from that embarrassing loss in France.
“You read it in the media - they always come back to that game. The Iceland humiliation,” he said.
“The demand (on England) is a bit more. They should be doing a bit better but they won the group comfortably so you can’t be too hard on them.
“It’s about what they do in Russia - when it matters on the big stage in Russia. That’s when you have to do well. I’m not expecting - and hopefully you’re not - for England to win the World Cup. Maybe you are?
“(But) I think they should be doing a bit better and hopefully they can do it in the next World Cup - as long as they don’t meet us,” he said.
Burnley, who face West Ham United on Saturday, have enjoyed a great start to the season and are perched in sixth place in the league and Gudmundsson says there are common roots to the rise of the Clarets and the success his national team are enjoying.
“There are a lot of similarities between the teams. Normally we at Burnley are the underdog, not a lot of pressure. But we as a team believe we can do it in this league and it’s the same with Iceland - we can do it at that level.
“There are definitely similarities, in both teams there is a group of players willing to work for each other, no egos to ruin it for everyone else. Everyone is going in the same direction and that’s really important in team sport.”
Reporting by Simon Evans; Editing by Rex Gowar