Football

Iceland's last-gasp draw feels like a loss

After being ahead until almost the end of the match, underdogs Iceland concede a late own goal

GROUP F

ICELAND 1

(Gylfi Sigurdsson 40-pen)

HUNGARY 1

(Birkir Saevarsson 88-og)

Rarely can two 1-1 draws have stirred such conflicting emotions in a team.

Just days ago, Iceland's players were floating on air after holding Portugal on their major championship debut.

But yesterday morning (Singapore time), those same men were slumped on the turf in misery, having seen a landmark victory snatched from their grasp by Hungary.

Iceland had been on course for a famous win after Gylfi Sigurdsson's 40th-minute penalty, only for Birkir Saevarsson to knock the ball into his own net two minutes from the end of the Group F clash.

"Oh yes, very different," sighed co-coach Heimir Hallgrimsson, when asked about the feelings after the two matches.

"We were happy with a point against Portugal but really, really disappointed with a draw today.

"The dressing room was silent after the game."

Man of the Match Kolbeinn Sigthorsson agreed, saying: "This is quite a big loss for us, this draw.

"It absolutely feels like a lost game, but we are still unbeaten. So, we can still be positive and go into the last match with full confidence."

Hallgrimsson said he was proud of the effort his players put in but added the relentless chasing eventually took its toll.

"What were the possession stats? 70-30? That's hard, that takes a lot out of you," he said.

"They worked us hard, we didn't use the ball so well and it was probably a bit of tiredness.

"They kind of outran us in the end.

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"But they also made some good changes from the bench, attacking changes, and sometimes when you take a risk it pays off.

"This is a very good Hungary team, and other sides are going to have problems against them, that's for sure."

With two points in the bag going into their final game against Austria, Iceland's fate remains in their own hands.

"We have to be upbeat, we are still in it of course. But we were so close to almost qualifying," Hallgrimsson said. "Maybe tomorrow we will be happy with a point against Hungary.

"We are lucky we are in the last group so we can see if three points is enough or if we need to go for a win." - Reuters.

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