Football

Lagerback has plenty to do

EURO 2016 FRIENDLY

NORWAY 3
(Stefan Johansen 1, Paal Andre Helland 40, Alexander Sorloth 67)

ICELAND 2
(Sverrir Ingi Ingason 35, 
Gylfi Sigurdsson 81-pen)

Iceland looked nothing like the side that powered their way to the Finals of a major tournament for the first time as they slumped to a 3-2 defeat by Norway yesterday morning (Singapore time) in their final friendly ahead of Euro 2016.

With Iceland coach Lars Lagerback (below) fielding a makeshift defence, the Norwegians stunned the visitors with a goal in the first minute when Stefan Johansen gleefully rifled home the rebound after Vegard Forren's header was parried.

Norway, who lost a play-off to Iceland's Euro Group F opponents Hungary, looked like they had copied the style that has brought Iceland success, soaking up pressure, forcing mistakes and hitting the visitors on the break.

Always a threat from set-pieces, Iceland equalised 10 minutes before half-time when Sverrir Ingi Ingason headed home a well-worked short corner but, five minutes later, they were behind again after Paal Andre Helland fired home a superb free-kick.

The introduction of veteran striker Eidur Gudjohnsen as a half-time substitute did little to improve Iceland's fortunes and they conceded again in the 67th minute when Alexander Sorloth lifted the ball over the goalkeeper and into the net.

Unable to sit back as they normally do, Iceland battled to dictate the play against a young Norwegian side with a point to prove.

Despite struggling to establish any sort of defensive organisation or attacking platform, Gylfi Sigurdsson reduced the deficit from the penalty spot nine minutes from the end after a deliberate handball by Forren.

Lagerback has plenty to do before Iceland kick off their Euro 2016 Group F campaign against Portugal on June 14 before meeting Hungary and Austria.

- Reuters.

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