Iceland's EuroHopes on Ice after Late Magyar Equalizer

Published on 20-Jun-2016 by J Square Humboldt

Soccer    Soccer Daily Review

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Iceland's EuroHopes on Ice after Late Magyar Equalizer

So close.

A number of factors must come together for a small population country to compete with the big fish in Euro 2016's pool.

It's a once-in-a-generation thing at the most optimistic, and that's where Iceland is right now.

With a population -- 323,000 -- similar to the metro area of Lincoln, Nebraska, it was impressive enough that the national team affectionately known as Strákarnir okkar -- Our Boys -- even made it to the party.

Up until now, Icelandic football was best known for the theatrics of Stjärnan FC:

Expectations have been raised.

As soon as Their Boys stunned a suddenly impotent Portugal with a 1-1 draw, fans on the tiny island created by volcanoes began to dream of bracket play.

Dudes just needed to hold on against Hungary.

Didn't happen.

Call it karma. Iceland's only goal came after a highly dubious penalty award when 40-year-old 'keeper Gábor Király showed his age and put teammate Tamás Kádár in it. But really, Aron Gunnarsson should've gotten a 5.6 for the dive that led to Gylfi Sigurðsson stepping up:

So, really, the unavoidable own-goal from Birkir Sævarsson was the latest example of turnabout being fair play.

Besides, if he didn't knock it in, Dániel Böde would have.

As a result, Group F truly is wide open:

Euro 2016 Group F standings

They all have a chance to advance. The tale will be told on Wed 22 Jun when Iceland meets Austria and Hungary takes on Portugal.