Iceland knock out Austria to live last 16 dream


Iceland Jon Dadi Bodvarsson celebrates after scoring a goal. REUTERS/John Sibley
Iceland Jon Dadi Bodvarsson celebrates after scoring a goal. REUTERS/John Sibley

Iceland advanced to the knockout stages in their first-ever European Championship with a thrilling 2-1 defeat of Austria in Paris.

Jon Dadi Bodvarsson and Arnor Traustason scored the goals as the result ensured the tiny island nation a runners-up finish in Group F at the Stade de France on Wednesday, continuing their improbable Euro 2016 journey.

The win, coupled with Portugal and Hungary’s 3-3 draw, sets a round of 16 date with England.

Bodvarsson opened the scoring for the Icelanders in the 18th minute.

From a throw in, he deftly controlled a headed on pass in the box, turned and slotted his right-footed shot across a helpless Robert Almer and into the far corner.

David Alaba was pulled down in the box by Ari Freyr Skulason as the Bayern Munich man chased a lobbed through ball. But Aleksandar Dragovic’s ensuing spot kick bounced off the left post and out of goal to keep Iceland in front.

Alaba then found himself open in the box shortly after the break, but his low, left-footed shot was cleared up and over the net by a quick-reacting Kari Árnason, who looked to have saved a goal.

Austria’s breakthrough, though, came in the 60th minute. Substitute Alessandro Schopf received an Alaba pass at the top of the box, cut away from an Iceland defender and rolled his left-footed attempt into Iceland goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson’s far corner to give his side a lifeline.

Goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson came to Iceland’s rescues in the 72nd minute, getting down low to stop another Schopf shot that looked destined for the back of the net.

Austria continued to push in the latter stages, with Alaba again forcing a save in the 80th minute. But Iceland would seal the points in second-half-stoppage time — a stretching Traustason steering home Teddy Bjarnason’s from a last-gasp counter to secure the historic victory.

Report by ESPN FC/Soccernet.com

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