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Iceland 1-1 France: Last-gasp penalty not enough

Dagný Brynjarsdóttir equalised from the spot deep in added time but it was not enough for Iceland to join France in the last eight.

Women's EURO highlights: Iceland 1-1 France

Iceland fell just short of the UEFA Women's EURO 2022 quarter-finals despite ending France's perfect Group D record with a Dagný Brynjarsdóttir penalty 12 minutes into added time. France, who had led from the opening minute, were already through in first place before tonight; Belgium beat Italy 1-0 to claim second in Iceland's stead.

Key moments

1' Malard scores after 43 seconds
12' Jónsdóttir hits crossbar with header
55' Baltimore shot loops on to woodwork
67' Geyoro strikes post
90+12' Brynjarsdóttir equalises from spot

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Match in brief: France give Iceland the blues

With first place already secure and Marie-Antoinette Katoto ruled out of the finals injured following Thursday's defeat of Belgium here, France coach Corinne Diacre rang the changes, also resting Delphine Cascarino, Grace Geyoro and Griedge Mbock Bathy from the initial XI, meaning first tournament starts for Sandy Baltimore, Melvine Malard and Selma Bacha. Malard got the opener just 43 seconds in, playing a fast-paced one-two with Clara Matéo before a finish that eluded Sandra Sigurdardóttir, the scorer then paying tribute to Katoto with her goal celebration.

Melvine Malard salutes injured Marie-Antoinette Katoto
Melvine Malard salutes injured Marie-Antoinette KatotoAFP via Getty Images

Iceland were still urged on by a large following in Rotherham – many of who had travelled on free buses from their previous tournament venue in Manchester put on by their FA and the Icelandic Embassy in London. They looked to respond and Sveindís Jane Jónsdóttir headed on to the bar, but at the other end Baltimore forced goalkeeper Sigurdardóttir into a diving save.

A Malard cross was met by the foot of Baltimore but her shot was blocked while Sara Björk Gunnarsdóttir stopped a Matéo effort on the line. Still, Iceland kept pushing and ended the first half strongly, a deep corner finding its way to the surprised Berglind Björg Thorvaldsdóttir, who misconnected and skied the ball with her knee.

France, with Cascarino among those introduced, came close on 55 minutes with another slick move and a Baltimore shot looping on to the bar. For Iceland was the bad news that Belgium were ahead, and they made a push Agla María Albertsdóttir, winning her 50th cap, forced a Pauline Peyraud-Magnin save before Gunnarsdóttir headed just wide.

Gunnarsdóttir was among those then withdrawn in a triple Iceland substitution to reconfigure their attack, but Geyoro came on for France and hit the frame of the goal into which she scored three before the break in the opener against Italy. Thorvaldsdóttir put a shot just past the post, and Cascarino tested Sigurdardóttir in a lively closing stanza, Peyraud-Magnin denying Brynjarsdóttir at close-range in added time.

The Belgium game had already ended when Iceland got a penalty deep in added time for a foul on Gunnhildur Yrsa Jónsdóttir. Brynjarsdóttir converted to a huge roar but that was the last kick of the game. France end on seven points and return here to face the Netherlands on Saturday. Iceland's impressive bid comes up just short.

As it happened: Iceland vs France

Player of the Match: Melvine Malard (France)

Iceland vs France Player Of The Match: Melvine Malard

"A lively centre-forward performance, good runs behind the line, combination play and taking on defenders. Well-taken goal."
UEFA Technical Observer panel

Andri Valsson, Iceland reporter

A performance to be proud of in the heat in Rotherham tonight. A big error at the beginning was uncalled for, but the team never stopped fighting. With more luck, they could have won. Credit to coach Thorsteinn Halldórsson as well, who quickly brought on fresh feet with a triple substitution as news broke of the goal in Manchester. They really went for it, and at least on the night got their reward with the equaliser. Three points against three great teams is something to build on. There are many great young players in the squad who will only continue to develop, and this tournament here will provide them with great experience. Until next time for Iceland!

Vanessa Tomaszewski, France reporter

The group situation allowed Corinne Diacre to rotate and test several players within her usual 4-3-3 system, with starts for Bacha, Aïssatou Tounkara, Sandie Toletti, Baltimore and Malard. The Malard-Baltimore combination was pivotal and particularly outstanding while when Cascarino came on she made great defensive efforts and dropped back to recover many balls. The sweltering heat undoubtedly had an impact but nevertheless top of the group: on to the quarter-finals!

France coach Corinne Diacre talks to Grace Geyoro after the final whistle
France coach Corinne Diacre talks to Grace Geyoro after the final whistleAFP via Getty Images

Reaction

Corrine Diacre, France coach: "We wanted to win the group and we did that after two games. This evening I was able to give playing time to other players, and that went very well. We have no new injuries so we have 22 players available for the quarter-finals and that is important."

Thorsteinn Halldórsson, Iceland coach: "I'm proud of my team. I can't say any more than that. We put in a lot of effort in and tried to win and wanted to, we played a strong team. I had my phone in my pocket and knew what was going on [in the other game] and I knew we needed to score two goals. But first of all we wanted to score a least one and we did at the end. We didn't lose in the tournament and I am proud of my team and of the fans."

Melvine Malard reaction

Melvine Malard, Visa Player of the Match: "The coach showed her confidence in me and I just wanted to play my football out there. It's a big competition and it went pretty well so I’m pleased. [On her celebration tribute to Katoto] We weren't expecting a player like her to get injured and be ruled out. She is still with us and when we score we will think of her, she is still here for us and we are still here for her."

Sandy Baltimore, France forward: "I was very happy [to start]. I got some playing time. I enjoyed it. I talked with [Malard] before the game and we found each other a lot [on the pitch]."

Dagný Brynjarsdóttir, Iceland goalscorer: "Obviously I'm disappointed we are not going to the quarter-finals, but I'm proud of how we played today. I just wished we had played like that in the other two games. Today we showed how good we are on the ball. We'll take the positive things from this game and build on that. Obviously we are in this to win and it was our goal coming into the tournament to get one win. We didn't reach that goal in this tournament, but we got three points so we can be proud of that."

Sara Björk Gunnarsdóttir, Iceland captain: "I'm really proud of the team and the performance today. I'm proud of the development we have had from the last tournament. Obviously I'm disappointed with how it went, I think we deserved more, but it was close."

Gunnarsdóttir: Iceland will build on this

Glódís Perla Viggósdóttir, Iceland defender, on the fans: "It's everything. When you are tired and things aren't going your way, you hear the love and support from the fans, that gives the extra energy you need. I'm so proud to be from a country that has taken over a city in England with more fans than a big nation like France. I'm extremely proud and so thankful."

Key stats

  • The opening goal was seven seconds faster than Finland's Matchday 1 opener against Spain, making it the quickest finals goal since the group stage was introduced in 1997
  • France scored within ten minutes in all three of their group games here in Rotherham.
  • All eight France group goals came in the first half.
  • Iceland become the first team to draw all three games in a Women's EURO group.
  • Iceland are also the first team to be eliminated from a group unbeaten.
  • France are among the last eight for the seventh EURO running.

Line-ups

Iceland: S Sigurdardóttir; Árnadóttir (Jensen 86), Viggósdóttir, I Sigurdardóttir, Gísladóttir (Gunnlaugsdóttir 60); Gunnarsdóttir (G Jónsdóttir 60), Vilhjálmsdóttir, Brynjarsdóttir; S Jónsdóttir (Gudmunsdóttir 60), Thorvaldsdóttir, Albertsdóttir (Jacobsen Andradóttir 81)

France: Peyraud-Magnin; Torrent, Tounkara, Renard, Bacha (Karchaoui 63); Toletti (Geyoro 63), Bilbault (Palis 46), Matéo; Diani (Cascarino 46), Malard (Sarr 79), Baltimore

What's next?

France stay here in Rotherham to complete a clean sweep of all four Women's EURO games at this venue to take on holders Netherlands, Group C runners-up, in the last quarter-final on Saturday, hoping to avenge their shoot-out loss at the same stage in 2009.

Iceland also have a huge game with the Netherlands (whose coaching team were all watching on in Rotherham) coming up very soon. They host Belarus in their penultimate FIFA Women's World Cup qualifier on 2 September and a win would mean Iceland require only a draw four days later in Utrecht to pip the Dutch and qualify for their first global finals, avoiding the play-offs.