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Iceland continues fairy tale run with win over Austria


Iceland’s fairy tale run through Euro 2016 will continue into the knockout stages.

A stoppage-time winner led Iceland past Austria, 2-1, on Wednesday, sealing a second place finish in Group F. The loss eliminates Austria from the tournament, while leaving Cristiano Ronaldo and Portugal in third place.

Iceland’s historic winner came in the 94th minute, sealing the nation’s spot in the Round of 16. With Austria pushing for a winner, Iceland broke on the counter with Arnor Traustason punching home the winner for the smallest team to ever feature in the European Championships.

Jon Dadi Bodvarsson fired Iceland into the lead in just the 18th minute with the latest special moment in the nation’s underdog Euro run. After earning a long throw-in, Iceland’s Kári Arnason flicked a header towards the back post and onto the foot of Bodvarsson. The Iceland forward made no mistake, firing past goalkeeper Robert Almer with his second touch to push his side into the lead.

Austria was given a chance to equalize in the 36th minute as Ari Freyr Skúlason was called for a penalty after a foul in the box. Aleksandar Dragovic stepped up, but his ensuing penalty kick rocketed off the post to preserve Iceland’s lead.

Midway through the second half, Austria did find a much-needed goal through Schöpf, who fired a pass from David Alaba to level the score. However, it wouldn’t be enough as Austria fell to elimination with the raw.

Following the result, Iceland will take on England on June 27.


Iceland goalkeeper Hannes Haldorsson provided six saves on the day, keeping Iceland’s hopes of the knockout round alive.


Arnor Traustason’s late winner was a historic one for Iceland, whose feel-good run will continue into the Round of 16.


In what has become a theme of the tournament,  Aleksandar Dragovic failed from the penalty spot as his side crashed out of Euro 2016 with an early exit.


  1. Ultimately, all that matters is AJ being comfortable with his decision, and he seems to be right now.

    Maybe he turns into a G. Rossi down the line, who knows? It’s probably disingenuous of both of us to speculate either way.

    P.S. For what it’s worth, I’m not sure AJ would even be a lock for Iceland’s 23…they’re rather deep at the positions he plays (not sure what that says about the USMNT…lol)…now if he was a defender, that’d be another storyline. Iceland’s Scandinavian league back-line keeps getting by by the skin of their teeth.

    • “P.S. For what it’s worth, I’m not sure AJ would even be a lock for Iceland’s 23”

      Haha, agreed. I was just thinking the same thing.

  2. Even though he’s injured right now and would not have taken part, I can’t imagine how he couldn’t be having second thoughts. No matter how many ways you dice it, his relationship with the U.S. is significantly weaker than with Iceland and he chose the U.S. on the belief that that was his best shot at international participation. Turns out he was wrong.

    • Sean and KenC,

      Quick question: Name the only Icelandic person to ever play in a World Cup?

      Also, had he been healthy, he’d have been the only Icelander to ever play in a Copa America.

      AJ’s very supportive of both squads on Twitter, and hasn’t shown any signs of questioning his international choice. Odds are, Iceland are not gonna be qualifying for most major tournaments going forward, even with their soccer revolution. The metrics just don’t support it.

      You guys make it sound as if he chose to play for Tonga.

      • It also needs to be pointed out that when AJ made his decision (June 2013), Iceland was in a qualifying spot in the standings for the World Cup, so it’s not as if he didn’t have that factor (qualifying for the WC) hanging over his head as he was mulling his options.

      • I think youre viewing this in much too an individualistic sense here. Yes, on a personal level, he made history by being the first Icelander to play in the World Cup and will likely have another shot at it. Playing for the US was a tactical decision to satisfy a dream to play in the WC and im sure he was thrilled to achieve it. And if AJ was truly narcissistic thats all hed care about, but I dont think he is. Most people just arent like that. How can you argue that he wouldnt be having SOME kind of second thoughts? We arent in AJs head but knowing human nature we can make educated guesses. And also in accordance with human nature, what people say, or in this case, tweet, and what they think, dont always match.

        On an individual level, playing for the US is a special occasion and he will be unique amongst icelanders for a long time most likely. But on a collective level, as an Icelander, he could have been part of the greatest run his country has ever made. Who wouldnt want to be a part of that? He is Icelandic after all.

        This run in the Euros is FAR more significant than an Icelander playing in the WC. Ask any Icelander what their proudest moment in Icelandic soccer history and not ONE will say watching AJ play as the first Icelander in the WC.

  3. I wonder if Aron Johansson has had any 2nd thoughts about his decision to play for the US Nats. Presumably he figured Iceland would never qualify for Euros or the WC, let alone make it out of group play.

  4. Their coach has worked miracles. Meanwhile Austria was a great disappointment. Most predictions had them second in this group.

  5. I would love to see them beat England. Of course because it’s a beautiful underdog story, but also because I like to imagine the reaction of the English fans and press.

  6. To give you an idea of how small the country is (and how great an achievement it is), I know a bunch of Icelandic guys and many of them know and/or played youth ball with these players. Nice to see them go through! Too bad they got drawn into the death bracket with their last-minute win but hey, at least now they can say they got a win in the euros.


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