By Izuchukwu Okosi
Iceland coached by former Nigeria handler Lars Lagerback showed no nerves as they held Portugal to a 1-1 draw in the second game in Group F of the Euro 2016 Tuesday night at the Stade Geoffroy Guichard in Saint Etienne.
Nani grabbed Portugal’s goal in the 31st minute but Birkir Bjarnason ensured Iceland will begin their journey at the European Championship on a promising note.
Andre Gomes displayed great vision to send a pass to Nani who showed brilliant composure inside the box to bury the ball into the bottom right corner for Portugal’s goal.
Nani and Cristiano Ronaldo had both attempted to get their team ahead earlier.
Nani attempted to convert a lofted cross as he jumped high and head the ball down to the middle of the goal. Hannes Halldorsson showed his brilliant reflexes and pulled off a glorious save to stop the ball from hitting the net.
Ronaldo who equalled Luis Figo’s 127 caps for Portugal was not able to wrap his foot around the ball in the 21st minute from a deep lofted pass from middle of the park.
Birkir Bjarnason leveled for Iceland five minutes into the second half. Johann Gudmundsson sent a precise lofted cross into the box. Bjarnason then latched on to it and finished with a quick shot.
Nani headed the ball from a Raphael Guerrero freekick which went wide off the left by a whisker.
In the other Group F match earlier, Hungary defeated Austria 2-0 to climb to the top of the pool.
Adam Slazai and Zloban Steiber were the scorers for the Hungarians who punished Austria for lost chances in the game.