Heroic Iceland set up last-16 clash with England

Wed Jun 22, 2016 3:24pm EDT
 
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By Patrick Vignal

PARIS (Reuters) - Iceland wrote the most glorious page in their sporting history when a stoppage-time winner gave them a deserved 2-1 victory against Austria for a place in the knockout stages of Euro 2016 on Wednesday.

The tiny country, making its first appearance at a major tournament, will go to face England in the round of 16 and the team's spirited performance at the Stade de France on a stormy evening suggested they could give them a hard time.

"Our national holiday is on June 17," said Iceland coach Helmir Hallgrimsson. "I guess we need to change it now. That's what this means to us".

Substitute Arnor Ingvi Traustason scored from close range deep into added time after collecting a through ball from Elmar Bjarnasson following a swift counter-attack.

The last-gasp goal secured Iceland second place in Group F, level on five points with Hungary, who drew 3-3 with Portugal in an action-packed encounter in Lyon.

The Hungarians clinched top spot on goal difference while Portugal finished on three points and went through as one of the best third-placed teams.

Austria, who had come to France as dark horses after a qualifying campaign featuring nine wins from 10 games, finished last and will go home with just one point after a 2-0 defeat by Hungary and a 0-0 draw with Portugal.

The smallest country to qualify for a European Championship, Iceland had started the tournament by holding Portugal and Hungary to 1-1 draws through resilient displays.   Continued...

 
Iceland's Arnor Ingvi Traustason celebrates with Birkir Bjarnason after scoring the second goal.            REUTERS/Christian Hartmann