Belfast Telegraph

UK Website Of The Year

Euro 2016: Underdogs Iceland score a 1-1 draw against Portugal

Published 14/06/2016

Iceland's Birkir Bjarnason celebrates after scoring his sides first goal during the Euro 2016 Group F soccer match between Portugal and Iceland at the Geoffroy Guichard stadium in Saint-Etienne, France, Tuesday, June 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
Iceland's Birkir Bjarnason celebrates after scoring his sides first goal during the Euro 2016 Group F soccer match between Portugal and Iceland at the Geoffroy Guichard stadium in Saint-Etienne, France, Tuesday, June 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo controls the ball during the Euro 2016 Group F soccer match between Portugal and Iceland at the Geoffroy Guichard stadium in Saint-Etienne, France, Tuesday, June 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)
Iceland's Birkir Bjarnason celebrates scoring during the Euro 2016 Group F soccer match between Portugal and Iceland at the Geoffroy Guichard stadium in Saint-Etienne, France, Tuesday, June 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo, left, is challenged by Iceland's Birkir Bjarnason during the Euro 2016 Group F soccer match between Portugal and Iceland at the Geoffroy Guichard stadium in Saint-Etienne, France, Tuesday, June 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)
Portugal's Pepe, left, hits Iceland's Jon Dadi Bodvarsson with his boots during the Euro 2016 Group F soccer match between Portugal and Iceland at the Geoffroy Guichard stadium in Saint-Etienne, France, Tuesday, June 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
Iceland's Birkir Bjarnason celebrates scoring during the Euro 2016 Group F soccer match between Portugal and Iceland at the Geoffroy Guichard stadium in Saint-Etienne, France, Tuesday, June 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
Iceland players celebrate their equalizer goal during the Euro 2016 Group F soccer match between Portugal and Iceland at the Geoffroy Guichard stadium in Saint-Etienne, France, Tuesday, June 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
Iceland's Birkir Bjarnason celebrates after scoring his sides first goal during the Euro 2016 Group F soccer match between Portugal and Iceland at the Geoffroy Guichard stadium in Saint-Etienne, France, Tuesday, June 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
Iceland's Birkir Bjarnason, left, celebrates scoring an equalizer next to Portugal goalkeeper Rui Patricio, during the Euro 2016 Group F soccer match between Portugal and Iceland at the Geoffroy Guichard stadium in Saint-Etienne, France, Tuesday, June 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo fires a shot during the Euro 2016 Group F soccer match between Portugal and Iceland at the Geoffroy Guichard stadium in Saint-Etienne, France, Tuesday, June 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Laurent Cipriani)
Iceland's Birkir Bjarnason celebrates after scoring his sides first goal during the Euro 2016 Group F soccer match between Portugal and Iceland at the Geoffroy Guichard stadium in Saint-Etienne, France, Tuesday, June 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
Iceland's Birkir Bjarnason celebrates after scoring his sides first goal during the Euro 2016 Group F soccer match between Portugal and Iceland at the Geoffroy Guichard stadium in Saint-Etienne, France, Tuesday, June 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo grimaces while warming up before the Euro 2016 Group F soccer match between Portugal and Iceland at the Geoffroy Guichard stadium in Saint-Etienne, France, Tuesday, June 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo drives the ball during the Euro 2016 Group F soccer match between Portugal and Iceland at the Geoffroy Guichard stadium in Saint-Etienne, France, Tuesday, June 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo, left, is tackled by Iceland's Aron Gunnarsson during the Euro 2016 Group F soccer match between Portugal and Iceland at the Geoffroy Guichard stadium in Saint-Etienne, France, Tuesday, June 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo, right, runs with the ball during the Euro 2016 Group F soccer match between Portugal and Iceland at the Geoffroy Guichard stadium in Saint-Etienne, France, Tuesday, June 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo, center, falls between Iceland's Gylfi Sigurdsson, left, and Birkir Bjarnason during the Euro 2016 Group F soccer match between Portugal and Iceland at the Geoffroy Guichard stadium in Saint-Etienne, France, Tuesday, June 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
Portugal players celebrate after Nani, 2nd left, scored the opening goal during the Euro 2016 Group F soccer match between Portugal and Iceland at the Geoffroy Guichard stadium in Saint-Etienne, France, Tuesday, June 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
Portugal players celebrate after Nani, 2nd left, scored the opening goal during the Euro 2016 Group F soccer match between Portugal and Iceland at the Geoffroy Guichard stadium in Saint-Etienne, France, Tuesday, June 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo, right, looks at referee Cuneyt Cakir of Turkey during the Euro 2016 Group F soccer match between Portugal and Iceland at the Geoffroy Guichard stadium in Saint-Etienne, France, Tuesday, June 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
Portugal's Nani, right, celebrates scoring the opening goal with team mate Andre Gomes during the Euro 2016 Group F soccer match between Portugal and Iceland at the Geoffroy Guichard stadium in Saint-Etienne, France, Tuesday, June 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo, right, takes a shot next to Iceland's goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson, left, during the Euro 2016 Group F soccer match between Portugal and Iceland at the Geoffroy Guichard stadium in Saint-Etienne, France, Tuesday, June 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)
Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo runs with the ball followed by Iceland's Kolbeinn Sigthorsson, left, and watched by Portugal coach Fernando Santos, right, during the Euro 2016 Group F soccer match between Portugal and Iceland at the Geoffroy Guichard stadium in Saint-Etienne, France, Tuesday, June 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Pavel Golovkin)
Portugal's Nani, left, celebrates scoring the opening goal with team mate Andre Gomes during the Euro 2016 Group F soccer match between Portugal and Iceland at the Geoffroy Guichard stadium in Saint-Etienne, France, Tuesday, June 14, 2016. (AP Photo/Michael Sohn)

Birkir Bjarnason scored Iceland's first goal at a major tournament as Portugal were held to a frustrating 1-1 draw in their Euro 2016 opener.

Bjarnason cancelled out Nani's first-half opener in Saint-Etienne as Iceland defied the odds - and almost relentless Portugal pressure - to claim an unlikely point from their Group F clash.

Portugal had 25 attempts on goal compared to Iceland's four but were either wasteful or frustrated by the impressive Hannes Halldorsson.

Nani and Cristiano Ronaldo may particularly rue aiming clear-cut headers straight at the Iceland goalkeeper.

Iceland's attacks were rare but incisive and they almost caught Portugal out inside three minutes. Gylfi Sigurdsson found space down the left and cut inside Danilo Pereira on a charge into the box but Rui Patricio beat away his initial shot and also proved equal to his follow-up effort.

Iceland's fans were energised but that proved as good as it got for some time as Portugal soon began to take control.

Vieirinha tried his luck from distance and Ronaldo headed over. Ronaldo, making a record-equalling 127th Portugal appearance, threatened again after being picked out by a long ball from Pepe but fluffed his shot.

The Real Madrid star then produced some magic on the left to pick out Nani with a superb cross but Halldorsson brilliantly saved a point-blank header with his feet.

It came as no surprise when Portugal took the lead after a slick counter-attack with just over half an hour gone. Andre Gomes was given too much room on the right and his low ball into the box was neatly tucked home by Nani with a first-time shot.

Joao Moutinho had a couple of long-range efforts before the break and Portugal's dominance looked set to continue in the second half as Ronaldo volleyed narrowly wide after the restart.

But Portugal paid for their profligacy as Bjarnason stole in to equalise after 50 minutes. Vieirinha lost the flight of a deep cross from Johann Gudmundsson and Bjarnason ran in behind him to hit a low volley past Patricio.

Portugal went back on the offensive and Gomes forced a save from Halldorsson, who snuffed out another attack by gathering at Nani's feet.

Nani went close again with a header that flew narrowly wide and Ronaldo blazed over before Halldorsson kept out a deflected Ricardo Quaresma attempt. Ronaldo then headed a gilt-edged chance at Halldorsson from a Nani cross.

Iceland substitute Alfred Finnbogason tested Patricio five minutes from time before Ronaldo had two late free-kicks to snatch victory. His first attempt was handled by Alfred Finnbogason in the wall, leading to the second, but it was blocked and the final whistle blew.

Online Editors

Your Comments

COMMENT RULES: Comments that are judged to be defamatory, abusive or in bad taste are not acceptable and contributors who consistently fall below certain criteria will be permanently blacklisted. The moderator will not enter into debate with individual contributors and the moderator’s decision is final. It is Belfast Telegraph policy to close comments on court cases, tribunals and active legal investigations. We may also close comments on articles which are being targeted for abuse. Problems with commenting? customercare@belfasttelegraph.co.uk

Read More