Tonight at Reykjavík’s Laugardalsvöllur stadium, Ghana’s Black Stars were hauled down from the heavens and devoured by our boys in a glorious 2-2 smiting. Indeed, the West African side proved a tantalising amuse bouche for Aron Einar’s Barmy Army, who are already champing at the bit for their Argentinian main course on June 16th.
The march towards World Cup glory was spearheaded by Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson, who assisted in Kári Árnason’s opener and started the move that was finished by Alfreð Finnbogason. With Gylfi Sigurðsson in a deeper role, the Burnley man was given room to impress and took on the responsibility of being the side’s main attacking force. Gylfi himself looked sharper and will be grateful for both the captain’s armband and these valuable game minutes. Regular captain Aron’s absence as he heals from injury was the one major negative from this evening’s unfriendly—although he was to be seen training gently before and after the game.
The fact that Iceland once again faded towards the end of the match, conceding two second-half goals, will be of little concern to coach Heimir, whose plan to simultaneously terrify the opposition and lull them into a false sense of security was carried out expertly.
How it happened:
6’ – Kári nods home from Jóhann Berg’s excellent inswinging delivery to make it 1-0.
40’ – A lovely interchange between Gylfi and Birkir Bjarnason produces a good save from Lawrence Ati-Zigi, but he can’t prevent Alfreð from nodding home from a couple of yards. 2-0.
66’ – A lapse in concentration from Ragnar Sigurðsson sees Kasim Nuhu blast home. 2-1.
87’ – Ghana get in down the left-flank and Thomas Partey grabs the equaliser from close range. 2-2.
Hannes Þór “Wild Claws” Halldórsson Scalps collected: 6
Made a good first-half save, expertly flicking a long-range effort around the corner. Had little chance with either of the goals.
Hólmar Örn “The Butcher” Eyjólfsson Scalps collected: 7
Made an impressive goal-saving clearance in the first 15 minutes and was tidy with the ball. Relished physical battles with the lively Ghanaian attackers.
Ragnar “Shaggy Breeches” Sigurðsson Scalps collected: 5
While he grew into the game, a lapse in concentration allowed Ghana to score. He will feel the warriors in waiting breathing down his neck.
Kári “The Disciple of Doom” Árnason Scalps collected: 7
Lept like a minke whale to score Iceland’s first. He was physically imposing as always, although poorly-positioned for Ghana’s equaliser.
Ari Freyr “The Unforgiven” Skúlason Scalps collected: 5
Struggled with the pace he was faced with and was bailed out by the good defensive work of Birkir.
Man of the Match: Jóhann “The Berginator” Guðmundsson – Scalps collected: 8
A trademark whipped corner made Kári’s job simple, while he pressed brilliantly and was a catalyst for the second goal. Growing in confidence and responsibility on the international stage.
Gylfi “The Viking Virtuoso” Sigurðsson – Scalps collected: 7
Was a little constrained in the deeper role but battled well. Showed his quality in the second goal and looks sharp after injury. A welcome sight.
Emil “The Emilinator” Hallfreðsson – Scalps collected: 5
He will be a tactical asset for Heimir when our boys are protecting a result, but was again too easily exposed by pace. Not mobile enough to be in a midfield two.
Birkir “Horror Hooves” Bjarnason – Scalps collected: 7
Committed a fantastic foul when Ghana broke forward ominously in the first-half. Helped create the second, but perhaps more at home in the middle of the park.
Björn “The Baby-Faced Bastard” Sigurðarson – Scalps collected: 6
Hunted well with Alfreð and put in a real shift, stretching the Ghanaian defence. An improvement on his outing against Norway.
Alfreð “Arctic Fox In The Box” Finnbogason – Scalps collected: 7
Looked lively and earned the corner for the first, before bagging the second with a poacher’s goal. His hold-up play was also impressive.
Jón Daði “The Scythe of Selfoss” Böðvarsson – Scalps collected: 5
Struggled to make an impact and would be fortunate to start against Argentina.
Rúrik “The Siren” Gíslason – Scalps collected: 6
Positive when he came on, making driving runs at Ghana’s defence. He should get minutes in Russia.
Sverrir Ingi “The Kneecapper” Ingason N/A
Ólafur Ingi “The Shaman” Skúlason N/A
Arnór Ingvi “The Viking Horse” Traustason N/A
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