Iceland loses 0-3 to Belgium

12.09.2018 - 09:29
Mynd með færslu
 Mynd: Mummi Lú - RÚV
The Icelandic men’s national football team lost last night 0-3 at home to Belgium, the number-two ranked team in the world. The Belgian victory was convincing, but the Icelanders came away with much to feel positive about—especially compared to their 6-0 thrashing in Switzerland on Saturday.

The Icelandic team began strongly, and the first 25 minutes looked like it was anybody’s game to win. A very poor five-minute period changed that, as the Belgian attacks came thick and fast down both the left and the right sides, eventually presenting an opportunity to Romelu Lukaku, who headed the ball over the goal. 

Referee Sergei Karasev judged that Sverrir Ingi Ingason had impeded Lukaku and awarded the Belgians a penalty, which Eden Hazard scored with confidence into the right corner, while goalkeeper Hannes Þór Halldórsson jumped to the left. It was 0-1 at 29 minutes. 

Two minutes later, the visitors took a corner from the right side and the kick was much longer than their previous corners, swinging out right in front of the goal. Vincent Kompany headed the ball to goal, but it was batted away by Hannes Þór, straight into the path of Lukaku, who managed to hustle the ball over the line. Birkir Már Sævarsson was in the goal mouth and cleared it almost before anybody noticed the ball had gone in, but the referee awarded the goal and the replays showed he was right to do so. 0-2 at 31 minutes. 

Belgium kept up the pressure, but the score remained unchanged at half time. 

Belgium continued strongly and Iceland worked hard to defend, but a period starting in the 70th minute saw Iceland start to keep possession and push forward towards the goal. Gylfi Þór took posession with a good tackle and passed to Rúnar Már, getting the ball back again and presenting a thunderous shot that Thibault Courtois struggled to save.  

Ten minutes later came the third Belgian goal, scored neatly by Lukaku with a beautiful assist from Dries Martens. Birkir Már had saved a shot from a good corner just moments before. 

The final score was Iceland 0, Belgium 3, meaning Iceland lost their first two UEFA Nations League games, and their first two games under new coach Erik Hamrén, with a total of nine goals to nill. 

Birkir Már Sævarsson got the only yellow card of the game. Kolbeinn Sigþórsson came on as a substitute, marking his first national game in a couple of years.  

This was Iceland’s first loss on home soil in five years. But Belgium was the strongest team to visit during that time.

Alexander Elliott
Project manager
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