EURO 2022 Tips: Iceland can bring attacking heat

France left-back Sakina Karchaoui
Left-back Sakina Karchaoui has been a good attacking outlet for France

"France have had spells in games where they have switched off, and Iceland can take advantage of that to at least score."

Back Both Teams To Score in Iceland v France at 2.01/1

The EURO 2022 group stage comes to a close on Monday evening, and Kevin Hatchard has picks from Iceland v France and Italy v Belgium...

Iceland can go out with heads held high

Iceland v France
Monday 18 July, 20:00
Live on BBC

Considering Iceland were seen pre-tournament as one of the weakest sides, they have performed admirably. They have drawn 1-1 with both Belgium and Italy, and could arguably have won both games. Only a lack of clinical finishing has cost them points.

Iceland could still progress to the knockout phase, but they are only a point ahead of both Belgium and Italy, and probably need to at least avoid defeat against a French side that has looked impressive so far. There are no fresh injury concerns, and Wolfsburg forward Sveindis Jonsdottir will once again look to take on defenders and wreak havoc.

France have beaten Italy 5-1 and edged out Belgium 2-1, so have won their group with a game to spare. So far, the pre-tournament fears about disharmony between the players and controversial coach Corinne Diacre haven't proven valid, but we are only two games in, and the pressure isn't really on yet.

The French have certainly caught the eye with some thrilling attacking play, and although they face a quarter-final against either the Netherlands or Sweden (this was written before Sunday's matches), they are still one of the leading names in the Winner market, trading a smidge behind England and Germany at 4.57/2.

I'm certainly not tempted by that price - France will have an incredibly tough route to the final, and they are without star striker Marie-Antoinette Katoto for the rest of the tournament. The PSG star has a serious knee injury, and will spend several months on the sidelines. Ouleymata Sarr could get the chance to replace her from the start.

Iceland can at least find the net

France have had spells against Italy and Belgium where they have switched off, and they are yet to keep a clean sheet. Iceland are a threat from set plays, notably from the long throws of Jonsdottir, and they have scored in 14 of their last 16 internationals.

Even without Katoto, France should score here, so I'm happy to back Both Teams To Score at 2.01/1. If you use the Sportsbook's Bet Builder, you can back France to win and BTTS at 2.915/8.

It's worth keeping an eye on the team news, but if left-back Sakina Karchaoui starts, she is worth considering in the Anytime Assist market at 6/1. The PSG defender has an excellent understanding with Delphine Cascarino down the left, and she set up the opening goal against Belgium with a delightful far-post cross to Kadidiatou Diani.

Italy too short to grab quarter-final place

Italy v Belgium
Monday 18 July, 20:00
Live on BBC

Italy have been one of EURO 2022's disappointments so far, and they have work to do to progress to the last eight. The Azzurre were smashed 5-1 by France, producing a hopelessly disorganised defensive display, and they only really shone in the closing stages of their 1-1 draw with Iceland.

Belgium haven't been much better. They took ages to get going against Iceland in a 1-1 draw that could easily have been a defeat, but they did at least show some fight against the French. They need to get quality attacking players like Tessa Wullaert in better positions, and she has complained about "a lack of depth" to the team's attacking play.

Belgium will be without the suspended Amber Tysiak, after she was sent off against France. Italy must decide whether to hand a start to Juventus' Barbara Bonansea, after she caught the eye against Iceland with a lively display as a substitute. Arianna Caruso might be the one to make way.

Italy worth opposing

Italy are 2.111/10 to take the win here, and there's little evidence so far to justify that price. Milena Bertolini's side has been surprisingly disjointed at the back (Sara Gama has been a shadow of her former self), and they have only scored two goals.

I don't think there's much to choose between these sides in what is a straight shootout for a quarter-final place, so I'll simply back Belgium/Draw Double Chance at 1.8810/11.

I do however think Bonansea can make an impact for Italy. The 31-year-old scored seven goals in 18 Serie A games for Juventus last season. She can be backed at 2.111/10 to score or assist, so if she starts the match, that's worth a wager.

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