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Euro 2016 Qualifying: Gylfi Sigurdsson Double Gives Iceland First Ever Win Over Holland

in Sports/Top News

HOLLAND’S World Cup hangover lingers on and they remain off the pace in their attempt to qualify for Euro 2016 after a 2-0 defeat in Iceland.

Two goals from Gylfi Sigurdsson secured victory for Iceland, who have nine points from nine in Group A and sit alongside the Czech Republic with their 100% record.

Holland have three points, with their first ever defeat by Iceland arriving after losing their first group game to the Czechs.

The expanded version of the next Championships mean they remain alive to qualify but their form – on the back of a World Cup semi-final – suggests they will have a job on their hands.

The night will go down in Icelandic football history and gives the clearest signal yet that they are ready for a major tournament after almost going to the World Cup this summer.

They got on top from the start, enjoying early possession, but would not have counted on Gregory van der Wiel giving them a helping hand. Birkir Bjarnason was just about to touch the ball into the Dutch box with nine minutes gone when the PSV defender needlessly stepped across the front of him and sent him to the ground. Sigurdsson slap the penalty beyond Jasper Cillessen.

Holland’s response was laboured. Only Arjen Robben appeared to have the key to unlocking Iceland but all too often he found team-mates out of sync.

Robin van Persie eventually tuned into him and took Robben’s fine through-ball in his stride but was denied by Hannes Thor Halldorsson, before Robben himself passed up a chance, nodding wide when it looked easier to convert Daley Blind’s cross.

The miss proved costly, too, as a minute before the break, when a corner was not cleared, Sigurdsson adjusted his footing with the ball on the rise and cleverly drove in on the volley from 12 yards.

Holland started the second half with Van Persie hitting over from outside the box – to the jeers of home fans – but the away side were definitely seeing more of the ball. Another fine Blind cross looked set for Van Persie but it was deflected on its way and the Manchester United striker found himself in the wrong position to get a shot on target.

Back at the other end Iceland put together a thrilling one-touch move that ended with Kolbeinn Sigthorsson putting in a cross which Bjarnason narrowly failed to reach.

With minutes remaining Jon Dadi Bodvarsson could have made the victory even more comprehensive as he broke clear but his shot was wide. – The Guardian


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