From Iceland — As It Happened: #EuroSaga Begins As Iceland Inflict 1-1 Defeat On Portugal

As It Happened: #EuroSaga Begins As Iceland Inflict 1-1 Defeat On Portugal

Published June 15, 2016

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Yesterday was a big day for Iceland, and especially for their starting eleven, who took to the field in Saint Etienne to play Cristiano Ronaldo’s Portugal. We watched the game in reopened concert venue Nasa, and at the UEFA Fanzone on Ingólfstorg, and live-tweeted a couple of thoughts.

No pressure, like.

It wasn’t long before Iceland’s Nordic dominance started to assert itself.

It got a bit heated.

Cristiano was sweating from the start.

Portugal players seemed to go down easily, to put it mildly.

Iceland tried a bit of failed tiki-taka.

The Icelandic goalie was having a strong game.

When star midfielder Gylfi Sigurðsson went down after a nasty stamp, there was a collective gasp in the room…

People all around Europe were getting behind Iceland.

Portugal were dropping like flies…

Then it happened. Portugal went 1-0 up.

Iceland withheld a sustained bout of pressure from the Portugal side.

Iceland pushed forward, and Portugal pushed back.

The half ended at 1-0.

We went out in the sun to drink some rum and ginger, and were gifted a Carlsberg flag-cape (flape) by Grapevine staffer Helgi. It was to be powerful totem for the second half.

A photo posted by Reykjavik Grapevine (@rvkgrapevine) on

People were starting to listen…

And the second half began!

It wasn’t long before Birkir Bjarnason lashed home Iceland’s first ever major tournament goal. Practical the whole country leapt to their feet and screamed…

We made the BBC television coverage.

football grapevine tweet on BBC Euro 2016

Meanwhile, our defence was solid. Ish.

Oh no! The picture was knocked out at Nasa, and apparently, all over Iceland. We decamped to Ingólfstorg to watch in the sun.

Iceland were defending well.

Aron Gunnarsson was the hero of the game, sending in tackle after tackle on the ineffectual star Cristiano Ronaldo.

After a tense three minutes of added time, the final whistle blew, and Icelanders celebrated deliriously in the streets of downtown Reykjavík.

Some of these tweets got over 900 RTs, and we were told Grapevine was trending in Edinburgh.

Cristiano Ronaldo wasn’t happy about the crushing 1-1 loss, and proceeded to unleash some sour grapes upon Iceland’s heroic minnows, despite it being their first ever game in an international tournament finals.

But Gunnarsson’s face says it all.

And now, having earned a famous first Euro group-stage point, Iceland march onwards! For our predictions on what’ll happen next, read our guide to Iceland’s path to certain victory at Euro 2016.

And now to prepare for battle against Hungary!

Also read: “Why Now?” Iceland’s Football Insiders On The Icelandic Game.

Also read: Football On The Edge Of The World—An In-Depth Look At Icelandic Football

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