Iceland storm into Euro pre-quarters, beat Austria 2-1
Paris, June 23 (IANS) A late strike from midfielder Arnor Ingvi Traustason helped Iceland storm into the last 16 of Euro 2016 as his side beat Austria 2-1 in a group stage encounter at the Stade de France here on Tuesday.
Jon Daoi Bodvarsson opened the scoring for Iceland in the 18th minute of the tie. Alessandro Schopf then equalised for Austria at the hour mark (60) but then Traustason sealed it with seconds left on the clock (90+4).
Bodvarsson was able to convert the first real opportunity that came his way. It was Johan Gunnarsson who found teammate Kari Arnason with a long throw and the latter nodded it to the striker. Bodvarsson then took a touch, skipped past a defender and fired a low shot right into the bottom corner to give Iceland the early advantage.
Australia had their chance to draw level in the 36th minute as David Alaba was pulled down in the penalty area but Aleksandar DragoviA squandered the fine opportunity by dragging his spot-kick wide off target.
At halftime Iceland were still leading 1-0.
After the restart Austria stepped on the peddle in search of the equaliser. Around the 60th minute mark Alaba found Schopf with a crisp pass. The midfielder then went on a weaving run and finished it brilliantly slotting it past rival goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson.
Austria needed all three points to qualify for the pre-quarters and therefore they pressed forward in numbers. This led to gaps in the defence which was masterfully exploited by Traustason, who stuck a foot out and sent in a low cross into the net to grab the winner.