Bjarnason: Never thought I’d see this day

Elmar Bjarnason attributes Iceland's group-stage performance to team spirit, and says that qualifying for the next Euro 2016 round allows them to play with more freedom.

The tournament debutants shocked the footballing world with their draw against Portugal in their openeing match, but also their stunning dramatic last-minute victory over Austria on Wednesday – a result that secured their place in the last 16.

"I'm really proud. It's an unbelievable moment to play with my good friends," the winger, who provided the assist for the winning goal, told reporters.. "I have played alongside them for many years, at Under-17s and Under-19s and now this, it's unreal," he continued.

"Looking up to the stands, 15,000 Icelandic people gathered, I never thought I could see the day and it's just a feeling of pride mainly.

"The belief in the team is tremendous. We've beaten big nations on the way here and got results against some of the biggest nations in the world like Portugal, Holland, Czech Republic and Turkey."

National team coaches, Heimir Hallgrimsson and Lars Lagerback will now prepare the side for their upcoming knockout-round clash against Group B runners-up, England.

"The belief is there but we also know we have to hit 110 per cent on the day to get a result and hopefully it will be that day against England."

"They probably haven't played their best game yet in the tournament and they want to show and prove to everyone they have a good team," he continued.  "If you see it player by player, they have one of the strongest sides in the cup and if they hit form on the day they're going to be hard to beat. 

"With our work ethic, we will step up our game on the ball because going through was our goal and now we can play a bit more freely."