Debutants Iceland hold Portugal to shock draw
ST ETIENNE, FRANCE – Battling outsiders Iceland enjoyed a memorable big-stage debut as they clinched a shock 1-1 draw against Euro 2016 Group F favourites Portugal in a captivating match on Tuesday.
It was a miserable evening for Portugal‘s top scorer Cristiano Ronaldo even though he equalled Luis Figo’s record of 127 caps for his country.
Iceland produced a typically industrious performance in their maiden appearance at a major tournament with winger Birkir Bjarnason cancelling out Nani’s first-half opener.
Although Portugal dominated for long spells, the result was no more than Iceland deserved.
“We should have scored more goals but we didn’t and pragmatic Iceland took full advantage,” Portugal coach Fernando Santos told a news conference.
“It was by no means a brilliant performance by us. We have to move better between the lines and keep our focus in defence.
“Considering today’s results, our next game against Austria could have a huge impact. I always said this was a complex group and I still think anything can happen,” added Santos.
With Hungary beating Austria 2-0 earlier, a fascinating battle for late-16 berths looms with Iceland taking on Hungary in their next game.
A string of good saves by goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson, coupled with Ronaldo’s wasteful finishing, was a significant factor for the Nordic nation who fulfilled their pre-match promise to show no nerves.