UEFA: Iceland run 'positive' for 24-team Euros, format has problems

Acting UEFA general secretary Theodore Theodoridis has acknowledged that there have been problems with the new 24-team European Championship format, but said Iceland's dream run has helped prove it is worthwhile.

European Championship debutants Iceland, the smallest nation ever to qualify for a major finals, stunned England with a 2-1 win in the round of 16 on Monday.

Their reward is a quarterfinal meeting with Euro 2016 hosts France on Sunday.

Theodoridis, who confirmed he will not stand in the UEFA presidential election, said that Iceland's performances in the competition have helped to justify an expanded format.

"It's a model," he was quoted as saying by Reuters. "We will be using it as a positive image for the expansion.

"It's pleasant for football to have one or two Cinderella stories. If you always have the same eight teams qualifying it becomes a little boring."

The quality of pitches used for Euro 2016 has been a concern and Theodoridis said scheduling had also been tricky, citing the additional rest France had got ahead of their round-of-16 tie.

"At the end of the day you have eight more countries that have strongly helped develop football in their countries," he said. "You've raised the competitiveness and raised the possibilities for people to dream.

"But the 16-team format was simpler. There were cases like that of Albania, who had to wait three days to know if they had qualified for the last 16, there was also the difference in recovery time of three days between France and Republic of Ireland."