The last time the two teams met was a year ago in the first match of their respective world championship campaigns in Egypt. Portugal won that match, 25-23. Remarkably, it was the third Iceland-Portugal handball clash in the space of a week, having played two European championship qualifiers just before heading to Egypt. Portugal won the first match, in Portugal, 28-25, but Iceland won the home leg in Reykjavík by a convincing 32 goals to 23. The teams also met at Malmö 2020, when Iceland won 28-25. Before this, they won one match each in qualifying for the 2017 world championship.
In short, the recent ties show that the two teams know each other well, and that they are quite evenly matched—making for a potentially entertaining start to the Euros.
Iceland and Portugal have played against each other 28 times overall. Iceland won 19 times, Portugal seven, and two ended in a draw.
Injury and the pandemic have hit Portugal hard in the run up to the tournament. Andre Gomes, one of Europe’s most exciting young attackers, is injured and out of the squad. Wingers Luis Frade and Alexis Borges are also out; as is right-side corner man Pedro Portela and the right-side shooters Diogo Silva and Joao Ferraz.
It is also less than a year since the sudden death of Alfredo Quintana, the excellent Portuguese goalkeeper.
A strong handballing nation with a rich pool of talent, Portugal will still field a team capable of winning this evening.
Coverage starts on RÚV at 19.15.
You can also watch Germany-Belarus today at 16.50, live on RÚV 2.