Heimir Hallgrimsson says that England couldn’t recover from the psychological blow sustained by conceding an equaliser immediately after opening the scoring.
The Iceland co-manager admits that they were left stunned by conceding a penalty – converted by Three Lions skipper Wayne Rooney – as early as they did, but hailed his side’s quick response as the turning-point in the Euro 2016 last-16 clash.
“The equaliser was a key moment,” Hallgrimsson said after the match. “We were shocked to concede that early, but immediately replying had an even bigger impact on them. It was huge psychologically.
“They wanted to finish us as soon as possible. You never know what would have happened had we not levelled the scoring right away.
“We always believe in ourselves and that is why we are here. If you want the best out of life, you have to be ready when the opportunity comes. And the boys were ready.
“This is a day people will talk about for the rest of our lives. And now we have an even bigger chance coming up. We are realistic. We have a game plan that we can use.”
Iceland now travel to Saint-Denis where they will face hosts France in a quarter-final that Hallgrimsson feels his team will be even more dangerous in.
“I think we have been improving slowly,” he added. “This was our best game, both in defence and in attack. We didn’t gave away a lot of chances and created some good chances ourselves. But our best is yet to come.
“Hopefully we will get more tickets for the next [France] game, so we can import more Icelandic people. And they should get tickets for the next game as well.”