Euro 2016 round up: Iceland 2 Austria 1 - and what the result means

Iceland forward Jon Dadi Bodvarsson celebrates after scoring.
Iceland forward Jon Dadi Bodvarsson celebrates after scoring.PHOTO: AFP

The smallest nation at the Euros produced the biggest finish as Iceland marked their debut with a sensational last-gasp victory over Austria to finish second in Group F, confirming their place in the knockout stage.

They will meet England on Monday in Nice in the last 16 clash but for now, will savour what has been a memorable campaign.

Iceland started brightly at the Stade de France and hit the woodwork within the first few minutes thanks to a stinging shot from Johann Berg Guomundsson.

They grabbed the lead in the 18th min when skipper Aron Gunnarsson's long throw caused mayhem in the Austria box and striker Jon Dadi Bodvarsson shot low to give the minnows a shock lead.

Stunned by the goal, Austria were galvanised and slowly took control of the game. A foul on David Alaba in the 36th min resulted in a penalty but right-back Aleksandar Dragovic dragged his effort onto the post.

 
 
 
 

Austria refused to surrender though and poured forward at every opportunity and were finally rewarded in the 60th min when second-half substitute Alessandro Schöpf finds the bottom corner to level the scores.

From there, it was the Austrians who bombarded Iceland's goal and it required some heroic defending and inspired saves from goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson to keep Iceland in the game for the point they needed to advance to the next round.

And in added time, with almost all the Austria players in the Iceland half searching for the winner, Iceland launched a swift counter and sub Arnór Traustason slid home the winner at the far post to break Austrian hearts while sparking wild celebrations in his own country.

Match highlights

- Iceland signal their intent as early as the second minute when Johann Berg Guomundsson lets fly from 25 yards and his stinging shot crashes against the crossbar.

- Marko Arnautovic dispossess goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson in the 12th min but slips at the vital moment and cannot recover to shoot into an open goal. A let off for Iceland after a bright start.

- A long throw by captain Aron Gunnarsson causes havoc in the Austria penalty area in the 18th minute. The ball finds its way to striker Jon Dadi Bodvarsson who produces a smart finish to give the minnows a shock lead.

- Marko Arnautovic has two quick chances in the 30th min but cannot score. The first is a snap shot just outside the box which is easily saved. He has a free header seconds later but misses the goal by a mile.

- Austria get a lifeline in the 36th min when David Alaba is fouled in the area by Ari Freyr Skúlason. Right-back Aleksandar Dragovic steps up to take the penalty but hits the post to let Iceland off the hook.

- Alaba looks certain to score within two minutes of the restart but his goal-bound shot is blocked by the diving Kári Árnason's left leg.

- Another goal-saving block by Iceland. This time from Skúlason who uses his head to stop a shot in the 53rd min.

- Substitute Alessandro Schöpf goes on a mazy run before shifting the ball quickly to his left foot and hits a low shot past Halldorsson into the far corner. Austria are right back in the game on the hour mark.

- Neat interplay by Iceland in the 65th min creates an opening for Gylfi Sigurdsson but his shot is palmed away by Austrian stopper Robert Almer.

- Schopf is played in by fellow sub Marc Janko in the 72nd min but Halldorson, who has only been a professional goalkeeper for two years, produces an outstanding save with his legs.

- After defending for almost all of the final 10 min and added time, Iceland launch a counter-attack in a 3 v 1 situation and substitute Arnor Ingvi Traustason slides home the winner to send the supporters and the bench crazy.

The talking point

Forget the Chinese Zodiac. This has most certainly been the year of the underdogs. If Leicester City winning the Premier League was not enough, the Euros has produced a string of shock results. Between them, Northern Ireland, Wales and Slovakia have managed four wins, collected 13 points and all progressed to the knockout rounds. Add Iceland, population 330,000, to that list of fairytales.

Man of the Match

Impossible to signal out one member of Iceland's backline. All five men put in a heroic display as they kept Austria at bay. Halldorsson made a string of key saves, including one soon after Austria had equalised. Centre-backs Birkir Már Sævarsson and Ragnar Sigurðsson were imperious in the air, winning header after header as they held the towering Janko at bay while full-backs Kári Árnason and Ari Freyr Skúlason covered every blade of grass on their respective flanks and made several key tackles and interceptions. This was truly a team effort by the men in blue.

What the result means

Iceland's reward is a dream tie against England in the last 16. Ironically, had they not scored the late winner they would have finished third in Group F and found themselves in the top-half of the knockout stage bracket, which offers an easier path to the final. Instead, they overtook Portugal who will face Croatia on Saturday. World No. 10 Austria, who were tipped by many as the tournament's dark horses, will leave France with no wins and plenty of questions asked about their form.

Key statistics

Iceland continue to defy expectations in all manners. They came into this game averaging just 28 per cent possession, the lowest of all 24 teams, and somehow walked away with a win and all three points having managed just 30 per cent possession against Austria, who had 23 shots but exited the competition with a whimper.

What they said

Kari Árnason: "I can't really describe this, doing this with your best friends is fantastic. That's the feeling of all the lads in the group. We're a tight-knit group and what we've done is fantastic. It's extra fun to do this with my best friends. Having 10,000 people here from Iceland is unbelievable. It's like having your family at the game. I know probably 50 per cent of the crowd - or at least recognise them! This is extra sweet."