Friday 9 December 2016

Miracle men Iceland book last 16 spot against England

Iceland 2 Austria 1

Simon Peach

Published 22/06/2016 | 19:11

Iceland players celebrate a goal by Iceland's Arnor Ingvi Traustason during the Euro 2016 Group F soccer match between Iceland and Austria
Iceland players celebrate a goal by Iceland's Arnor Ingvi Traustason during the Euro 2016 Group F soccer match between Iceland and Austria

Iceland, the smallest country to ever grace a major tournament, will face England in the Euro 2016 last-16 after securing a remarkable late win against Austria.

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Hailing from a tiny island of just 330,000 inhabitants and unable to play outside for large chunks of the year to due to the freezing conditions, it was remarkable that the North Atlantic nation even made it to the finals.

Iceland have upset the apple cart once again, though, securing a last-gasp 2-1 win against Austria, ranked 10th in the world, thanks to Arnor Ingvi Traustason's stoppage-time effort in Paris.

Their first-ever win at a major tournament sets up a fascinating last-16 clash on Monday in Nice against England - a country approximately 165 times the size of Iceland.

The minnows threatened from the outset as Johann Gudmundsson's thunderous early effort hit the goal frame, with Jon Dadi Bodvarsson opening the scoring smartly after 18 minutes after officials missed Aron Gunnarsson stepping across the line when providing the mammoth throw that led to the opener.

Aleksandar Dragovic wasted the chance for Austria to go in level after hitting a penalty against the post, but an improved second-half display brought a goal as substitute Alessandro Schopf scored a smart solo effort.

Marcel Koller's side peppered the Iceland goal for the remaining 30 minutes yet not only failed to get the win they required but suffered a late defeat, with substitute Traustason finishing a stoppage-time break.

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