On Thursday night, Iceland secured its place in the UEFA Women’s Championship finals next summer with a 3-2 victory over Ukraine. A record number of people to attend a women’s football game in Iceland, or 6,647, showed up to support the team.
This was after their coach, Sigurður Ragnar Eyjólfsson, sent out a heartfelt letter to 70 companies in Iceland to buy tickets for their staff. His dream was to change the world by filling the 10,000 capacity stadium.
He may not have managed to fill it, but it was the first time that both stands had to be opened. And the first time that Iceland had scored three goals at home on his watch. So happy were KSÍ (Icelandic Football Association) with their girls, that they awarded them a 10 million ISK bonus.
Margrét Lára Viðarsdóttir and Katrín Ómarsdóttir scored two goals early on, giving Iceland a head start, but Ukraine managed to even the score with Viru Dyatel scoring before half-time and Daryna Apanaschenko with only 18 minutes to go. Having been on the pitch for only a few minutes, Dagný Brynjarsdóttir saw to it that Iceland won, scoring the third goal at 76 minutes.
The game itself was not plain sailing. Ukraine began by pushing forwards, and maintained the pressure throughout. Despite two early goals by Iceland and the Ukrainians needing a three goal lead, they never gave up. This resolve almost cost Iceland dearly a couple of times and despite playing a better second half, they failed to create many real opportunities. Even at the last minute, Ukraine could have scored. It was clear how much this meant to both of the teams, with a palpable sense of nerves, tempers started to flare in the second half with yellow cards being handed out like candy on Halloween.
All this was forgotten in jubilance as the crowd stood in anticipation for the last few minutes of the game. At the final whistle, it was clear, our girls had fought tooth and nail and won, not only the game
but the crowd. The stadium went berserk with the pride of 6,647 (very cold) people. It doesn‘t get much better than that.
Well done girls!
Goal: Þóra B. Helgadóttir.
Defence: Dóra María Lárusdóttir, Sif Atladóttir, Katrín Jónsdóttir
fyrirliði, Hallbera Guðný Gísladóttir.
Midfield: Edda Garðarsdóttir, Katrín Ómarsdóttir, Sara Björk Gunnarsdóttir.
Attack: Fanndís Friðriksdóttir, Margrét Lára Viðarsdóttir, Hólmfríður
12 Teams that will play in the UEFA Euro Championship Women’s finals:
Sweden, Germany, Italy, Norway, France, Finland, England, Denmark,
Holland, Iceland, Russia, Spain.