Tuesday 27 September 2016

Fate deals Iceland a cruel blow

Iceland 1 Hungary 1

Published 19/06/2016 | 02:30

Hungary's Daniel Bode, left, and Iceland's Ragnar Sigurdsson, right, challenge for the ball during the Euro 2016 Group F match in Marseille. Photo: Claude Paris/AP
Hungary's Daniel Bode, left, and Iceland's Ragnar Sigurdsson, right, challenge for the ball during the Euro 2016 Group F match in Marseille. Photo: Claude Paris/AP
Hungary's Richard Guzmics challenges Iceland's Kolbeinn Sigthorsson for the ball during their Group F match in Marseille. Photo Yves Herman/Reuters
Iceland's Kari Arnason and Hannes Halldorsson in action against Hungary's Nemanja Nikolic druing the Group F match. Photo: Jean-Paul Pelissier/Reuters

Iceland is said to be a land of sagas but not all their long stories have a happy ending. There have been plenty of late goals in this tournament but none has been crueller than the one Birkir Saevarsson put into his own net three minutes from the end.

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Iceland were moments away from almost certain qualification for the knockout phase of Euro 2016, Then came a low cross from Nemanja Nikolic, which the full-back slid in to intercept.

Given the angle at which he met the ball there was nowhere else for it to go but over the line. However, Saevarsson ought to console himself with the thought that, had he not gone for the ball, Daniel Bode would have had a tap-in.

Iceland had taken the lead through a Gylfi Sigurdsson penalty five minutes before the break after Tamas Kadar fouled Iceland's captain, the bearded and very Viking-like figure of Aron Gunnarsson

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