Competition date 18 November 2020 Competition type UEFA Nations League Group A2
Home team England goals
  • goal scored by D. Rice
  • goal scored by M. Mount
  • goal scored by P. Foden
England badge
Home team score 4
Away team score 0
Iceland badge
Away team Iceland goals
Home team goals
  • goal scored by D. Rice
  • goal scored by M. Mount
  • goal scored by P. Foden
Away team goals
England's Phil Foden

Southgate's summary

The Three Lions boss provides his assessment of the victory, as well as a look back at some previous encounters against Iceland

England manager Gareth Southgate


England boss Gareth Southgate spoke immediately after the match, to provide his thoughts on the victory and his team's performance.

“There were good opportunities for young players, especially, but also some older players. We are still trying to build and improve all the time. There was some lovely football, it was good to watch, and for the young ones to get their goals was very special.

“The reality is that a lot of the squad we have had over the past three months are going to peak in three, maybe five years’ time.

“That is when they will have a lot more caps, a lot of experience internationally and a lot more club experience. We think it is worth investing the time in them and they are learning a lot from very good senior professionals.

“We are still working on the balance and profiles of players in the system.

“To see Bukayo (Saka) again was a real plus, he’s had three really excellent performances through this week, for somebody so young especially.

“It gives us balance – to have an attack-minded player in that position is really helpful.

“It was good to see Mason (Mount) in that central area again and I thought he made excellent forward runs.

“Our attacking play was very, very good. Right from the back, the players built with the ball so well. They moved it crisply, they took up good positions. Then Phil (Foden), Jack (Grealish), Harry (Kane), their link play was excellent.

“I’m really pleased for Phil (Foden). He’s such an exciting player.

“It was a big week for him to come back in and it was not easy to walk through the door when you have left as he did previously.

“But for us, it was done and we know what he is capable of. It was good to get him into the game against Ireland and to get the two goals today was a glimpse for everybody of what he is capable of.

“It’s just getting that right balance. They are going to have another five months of the season now with their clubs where they are going to play in big games and learn even more.”

Previous Encounters 

England's record against Iceland is certainly a mixed bag, as we've only played them four times at senior level in the past and enjoyed two wins, a draw and a defeat.

Of course, our last meeting was in September when we edged victory in Reykjavik thanks to Raheem Sterling's late penalty to get our Nations League campaign off to a winning start.

The last game before that is one which will go down in Iceland's history as one of their greatest results to date, after a heroic performance at EURO 2016 saw them knock out the Three Lions in Nice, France.

That game is over four years ago now, and plenty has changed for both nations in that time...England's team has a largely different look and feel to it both on and off the pitch while Iceland are now considered one of the regular challengers for qualification in the UEFA region as opposed to the plucky underdogs tag they took on in France.

It had all started so positively in 2016 too, when Wayne Rooney put England ahead from the spot, but a quickfire response from Iceland saw two goals in 12 minutes from Ragnar Sigurdsson and Kolbeinn Sigthorsson to seal a historic win.

England's Wayne Rooney during the defeat to Iceland at EURO 2016

Our other clash with Iceland came back in 2004 when they were the visitors to the City of Manchester Stadium as England prepared for that summer's UEFA EURO 2004 Finals in Portugal. 

Rooney and Darius Vassell grabbed two goals each with Frank Lampard and Wayne Bridge adding the others, and you can watch highlights of that game above.

The first game between the two teams came back in 1982 when the nations played a friendly at the same venue in Reykjavik where they will once again meet in 2020. 

It ended 1-1 on that occasion, with Paul Goddard scoring a second-half equaliser to cancel out Arnor Gudjohnsen's opening goal.

UEFA Nations League head-to-head


First-half goals from Declan Rice and Mason Mount and a second-half brace from Phil Foden after the break seal the win

England's Phil Foden celebrates his first goal

England ensured they ended 2020 on a high with a convincing 4-0 victory over ten-man Iceland in the UEFA Nations League.

Two goals in the space of four first-half minutes from best mates Declan Rice and Mason Mount established a comfortable cushion for the Three Lions, who could have had more during a dominant opening 45 minutes.

And a late brace from the impressive Phil Foden added further gloss to the scoreline at Wembley as England proved too strong for an Iceland side who played the final 36 minutes a man light after Mar Saevarsson was sent off for two bookable offences. 

Gareth Southgate made three changes to the side beaten in Belgium on Sunday and saw his team dominate possession in the opening stages.

The hosts were forced to be patient against an organised Iceland outfit but broke the deadlock through Rice, who glanced home his first international goal from Foden’s tempting free-kick in the 20th minute.

England's Phil Foden

Bukayo Saka was denied by a smart save as England immediately went in search of a second, which arrived shortly afterwards with Saka again heavily involved.

The Arsenal man’s cross narrowly evaded Harry Kane but when the ball rebounded off an Iceland defender, Mount pounced on the loose ball in the area and found the bottom corner with a neat finish.

Southgate’s side showed no let up for the remainder of the half and Foden was next to go close, seeing his shot well saved by Ogmundur Kristinsson after a fine run and pass from Harry Maguire.

Foden, making his first England start at Wembley, continued to look lively and fired in a fizzing low effort which was kept out by Kristinsson’s fingertips before Kane came close twice in as many minutes towards the end of the first period, narrowly missing the target on both occasions.

England's Bukayo Saka

The hosts started the second half as they had ended the first, controlling possession in the Iceland half, and the visitors’ task became more difficult when Saevarsson, already on a caution, received his second yellow for pulling back Saka on the edge of the area.

Kari Arnason spurned a presentable opportunity on the hour mark as Iceland looked to halve the deficit, heading a corner wide having found space in the box, but that was a rare moment of concern for England in a half that remained largely one-way traffic.

Kane and Foden each saw shots blocked before the Manchester City star netted the third goal which England’s dominance merited in the 80th minute.

Substitute Jadon Sancho was integral in the build-up, exchanging passes with Saka before squaring for Foden to sweep a precise finish into the bottom corner and give Kristinsson no chance.

He doubled his tally in style four minutes later, collecting possession 25 yards out and firing a left-footed effort past the goalkeeper.

England's Jack Grealish

Maguire saw a long-range effort of his own saved and Saka headed an inviting Foden cross wide as England continued to press but the visitors avoided further punishment.

Three points for the Three Lions wrapped up a third-placed finish in Group A2, behind Denmark on a head-to-head basis after both sides collected ten points from six matches.

England (3-4-3): 1 Jordan Pickford (Everton); 2 Kyle Walker (Manchester City), 4 Eric Dier (Tottenham Hotspur), 5 Harry Maguire (Manchester United; 3 Kieran Tripper (Atletico Madrid), 7 Mason Mount (Chelsea), 8 Declan Rice (West Ham United), 20 Bukayo Saka (Arsenal); 19 Phil Foden (Manchester City), 9 Harry Kane (Tottenham Hotspur) (c), 16 Jack Grealish (Aston Villa)

Substitutes: 12 Tyrone Mings (Aston Villa) for Walker 64’, 14 Harry Winks (Tottenham Hotspur) for Mount 64’, 11 Jadon Sancho (Borussia Dortmund) for Grealish 76’, 21 Tammy Abraham (Chelsea) for Kane 76’, 17 Ainsley Maitland-Niles (Arsenal) for Tripper 85’

Substitutes not used: 6 Michael Keane (Everton), 13 Nick Pope (Burnley), 15 Ben Chilwell (Chelsea), 18 Dominic Calvert-Lewin (Everton), 22 Dean Henderson (Manchester United), 23 Jude Bellingham (Borussia Dortmund)