UEFA Euro 2016
Stade Geoffroy-Guichard, Saint-Étienne
Group F favourites Portugal were held to 1-1 draw against tournament debutants Iceland at the Stade Geoffroy-Guichard in Saint-Étienne.
A first-half goal from Nani was cancelled out by Birkir Bjarnason’s second-half strike, whose goal was Iceland’s first ever in major tournament history.
Iceland initially started well and very nearly took a surprise lead within the first couple of minutes when Gylfi Sigurdsson cut inside to force Rui Patrício into a fine save at his near-post.
In the 17th minute Portugal went close to taking the lead when Vierinha cut inside to fire an effort that Hannes Halldórsson saved at the second attempt.
Three minutes later, Portugal should have went ahead when a brilliant Cristiano Ronaldo cross was met by Nani who had a free header, but Halldórsson made a fine instinctive save with his feet, although Nani should have scored.
Two minutes later Portugal went close again. A Vierinha cross was met by Ronaldo with a header but it flew just wide of the post.
Three minutes later, Portugal had a glorious chance to take the lead when a fine cross-field pass from Pepe found Ronaldo who looked set to volley home, but he unusually swung his foot and missed; spurning a great chance.
After the half-hour mark, Portugal took the lead. In the 31st minute, André Gomes combined with Vierinha who found Gomes again and the Valencia midfielder sent in a fine ball across goal that was met by Nani who fired home past Halldórsson at the near-post to atone for missing an earlier opportunity.
After the break, Portugal started well and went close to getting a second. In the 46th minute, a João Mário ball forward was half-cleared into the path of Ronaldo who volleyed narrowly wide.
Four minutes later, Iceland levelled the scores against the run of play. An Iceland cross fell to Bjarnason after some lacklustre defending from Vierinha who instead of watching his man, was guilty of ball-watching allowing the Iceland midfielder to sneak in at the back-post and volley home past Patrício. It was a historic goal as it was Iceland’s first goal ever in their first ever major tournament.
In the 59th minute, Portugal went close to going ahead again. Gomes shifted the ball onto his left foot before forcing Halldórsson into a good save where the keeper had to tip the ball behind. From the resulting corner, Raphaël Guerreiro’s first-time effort was saved well by Halldórsson.
Eleven minutes later, Portugal nearly went ahead when a Guerreiro delivery from a freekick was flicked-on by Nani whose header flashed millimetres wide of the far-post.
Seven minutes later, Portugal went close again. Substitute Ricardo Quaresma fired a deflected effort that forced Halldórsson into a good save at his near-post.
In the 81st minute, Portugal had a great chance to take the lead when a Quaresma corner was headed just over by Pepe.
Three minutes later, Portugal should have gone ahead. A Nani cross fell kindly to Ronaldo but his header was saved well by Halldórsson who gathered at the second attempt, but Ronaldo should have scored by his lofty standards.
A minute later, Iceland went close to scoring a shock winner. Portugal failed to deal with an Iceland attack and when substitute Alfred Finnbogason received the ball in the area, his snapshot forced Patrício into a good save with the Sporting keeper palming the ball away.
Time was running out for Portugal but there was one last opportunity. After an initial Ronaldo freekick was hand-balled, the referee awarded Portugal another freekick more within Ronaldo’s range. The winger stepped up but he could only fire against the wall.
That was the last action of the match as Iceland’s first ever tournament match left Portugal frustrated thanks to Bjarnason’s equaliser.
The result meant that Iceland go joint second with Portugal with a point, behind Hungary in first who have three points. Austria are bottom without a point.