REVIEW: Iceland have become the last European nation to qualify for the World Championship next January after a thrilling match in Porto that left the Portuguese national team in despair and empty-handed
Iceland ready for France 2017 despite a narrow defeat
As the last European country to qualify, Iceland can start preparing for the World Championship 2017 in France.
Portugal were close to booking the ticket in the return match in Porto, but their 21:20 win was not enough in the end.
Portugal vs Iceland 21:20 (10:7); first leg 23:26 / Aggregate score 44:46
After a thrilling match in the Dragao Caixa in Porto, Iceland are ready for the World Championship 2017 in France next January, as the three-goal lead Iceland had taken to Portugal from the first match turned out to be enough.
However, it only took Portugal 13 minutes to catch up with these three goals, and all was square again when Portugal led 6:3.
That lead soon changed to four goals to which the home team managed to hold more or less for the rest of the first half which ended 10:7.
After the break Portugal continued to be up by four goals up, but slowly Iceland worked themselves into the match, and with nine minutes and nine seconds left, Asgeir Örn Hallgrimsson equalised for the visitors for the first time in the match at 17:17.
Portugal then kicked back in gear and forged ahead to 20:17, and at this point in the low-scoring match it was clear that the Portuguese would only need a three-goal win to clinch their World Championship berth.
However, Iceland scored three goals in a row, and as Kari Kristjansson equalised again, this time at 20:20 with 25 seconds left, the last doubt was removed and Portugal’s winning goal only had cosmetic significance.
TEXT: Peter Bruun / ts
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