Portugal vs Iceland: Who will start for Strákarnir okkar in their first ever game at a major tournament?

Lars Lagerbäck will make history tomorrow when he names the Nordic nation's first ever starting line-up for a major tournament. But who will he pick?

Portugal vs Iceland: Who will start for Strákarnir okkar in their first ever game at a major tournament?
Lars Lagerbäck has some big decisions to make regarding Tuesday's team selection - particularly up front. (Photo: FIFA)

Though we are already four days into Euro 2016, major tournament debutants Iceland still have to wait until tomorrow to play their opening fixture - one which the Nordic nation will come to a standstill to watch, with history to be made.

In just over 24 hours, Lars Lagerbäck will name the first ever Icelandic team at a major tournament, hoping to get it absolutely right in order to help the side secure a dream result against Portugal.

The former Sweden coach rarely made any shock decisions in qualifying, and didn't tinker with his team until their fifth game - though that is partially down to the side winning their opening three fixtures, then losing their fourth.

However, the XI he deploys tomorrow will be a selection that he is likely to have pondered over without rest this week, with the form of individuals and the style of the opposition to think about.

With all things considered, just who will start for Strákarnir okkar in their first ever major tournament fixture?

Consistency is key at the back

Throughout qualifying, things were relatively consistent with regards to the personnel in Iceland's back line.

Bar Ögmundur Kristinsson being given a game in goal in their final fixture against Turkey, the back five was the same for their last six games - made up of Hannes Þór Halldórsson in goal, then a back four of Birkir Már Sævarsson, Kári Árnason, Ragnar Sigurðsson and Ari Freyr Skúlason.

For the first four games of qualifying, right-back Sævarsson was kept out of the team by Theódór Elmar Bjarnason. However, he forced himself into the picture following a 2-1 defeat for Strákarnir okkar to the Czech Republic.

Sævarsson should keep his place there too for Tuesday's game with Portugal, despite Lagerbäck experimenting with the likes of Haukur Hauksson and even midfielder Aron Gunnarsson since Iceland qualified for the Euros.

The chemistry of this back five will be absolutely vital tomorrow too, with a certain Cristiano Ronaldo tasked with breaching it.

Gylfi Sigurðsson; Iceland's talisman

Moving up the pitch, Strákarnir okkar have played in a 4-4-2 formation throughout Lagerbäck reign and their midfield will continue to consist of four players in France.

Gylfi Sigurðsson is the main man in midfield; the player who pulls all the strings and makes things happen for the side. A creative force, he even played up front - and scored - for Iceland when they visited the Netherlands in qualifying, such is his attacking prowess and eye for goal.

However, he should be in a regular central midfield role on Tuesday, playing just behind the two strikers and supplying them with the service needed to make Iceland's mark at the tournament.

The Swansea City man is expected to be partnered by another South Wales-based Icelander - Cardiff City's Aron Gunnarsson. The team's captain, Gunnarsson is a box-to-box midfielder with an incredibly high work ethic. 

Boasting two hard-working central midfielders, Iceland will press high and afford opponents little time in the middle of the park in France.

Gylfi Sigurdsson is the player that makes Iceland tick. (Photo: ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images)
Gylfi Sigurdsson is the player that makes Iceland tick. (Photo: ODD ANDERSEN/AFP/Getty Images)

Creativity extends to the flanks

However, despite their talisman being in the centre of the midfield four, Strákarnir okkar also have inventive players out wide.

Birkir Bjarnason, nicknamed 'Thor' in his homeland, is naturally an attacking midfielder, but usually operates on the left for his country. The 28-year-old's ability to use both feet makes him a danger on the flanks, as he is able to cut inside and shoot as well as deliver a terrific cross.

He comes into the tournament off the back of a title-winning season with his club Basel, scoring 10 goals from 21 starts as they were crowned Swiss champions once again, and will be one of the first names on Lagerbäck's team sheet. He started all 10 games in qualifying.

On the opposite flank will likely be a man playing to put himself in the shop window; Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson. The skilful 25-year-old was relegated to the third-tier of English football this season with Charlton Athletic and will hoping to make a step back up in the transfer window this summer.

Known for scoring spectacular goals, a hat-trick for his country against Switzerland in 2013 made him the first player in 13 years to hit three for Iceland and he will be hoping to show his goalscoring ability again in France.

He's scored just once for Strákarnir okkar since, and will be hoping to improve on his surprisingly low tally of five goals for the Nordic nation this summer.

Emil Hallfreðsson will be competing for a spot either out wide or in central midfield, but is expected to have to settle for just an appearance off the bench after a fairly disappointing season with Udinese.

Spots up front up for grabs

While the other nine places in the team are seemingly decided, which strike partnership Lagerbäck will opt for remains unclear.

In qualifying, Alfreð Finnbogason started just one of 10 games but looks nailed on to feature from the off on Tuesday after ending the season in splendid form.

Seven goals in 14 games since January for FC Augsburg mean Finnbogason is no longer competing to start, but seemingly just awaiting the news of who his Icelandic strike partner will be.

Alfred Finnbogason celebrates scoring for FC Augsburg.  (Photo: Simon Hofmann/Getty Images)
Alfreð Finnbogason celebrates scoring for FC Augsburg. (Photo: Simon Hofmann/Getty Images)

In the running for that spot are three forwards; Kolbeinn SigþórssonJón Daði Böðvarsson and, arguably the country's most successful and well-known export, Eiður Guðjohnsen. However, the latter, now 37-years-old, has become more of a super sub than a regular for Strákarnir okkar in recent years.

Sigþórsson, on the contrary, started all 10 of Iceland's qualifiers, but bagged just three goals for Nantes this season. Böðvarsson's return of two goals since moving to 1. FC Kaiserslautern in January isn't much better though, and the former should get the nod after a decent return of three in qualifying.

Despite his poor domestic season in France, Sigþórsson has 20 goals in 39 appearances for Iceland and so will hope to show the country where he plays his club football just what he is capable of.

Whether he and Finnbogason can form a good partnership up front, and quickly, remains unclear, with them starting just one Euro qualifier together, but Sigþórsson did find the back of the net in that one game - a 2-2 draw at home to Latvia.

Predicted Iceland XI - Portugal (4-4-2): Halldórsson; Sævarsson, Árnason, R. Sigurðsson, Skúlason; Guðmundsson, Gunnarsson, G. Sigurðsson, B. Bjarnason; Sigþórsson, Finnbogason.