SAINT-ETIENNE, France, Sporting Alert – Birkir Bjarnason volleyed in with the side of his foot from close range and Iceland held out for a 1-1 draw with Portugal in a Euro 2016 Group F game at Saint-Etienne on Tuesday.
Portugal took the lead in the 31st minute when Nani scored with a clinical finish from close range and the group favourites took a 1-0 lead into halftime.
However, just when you thought Portugal was about to push on and grab another goal in the second half, Iceland stunned Cristiano Ronaldo and co. in the 50th minute out of absolutely nothing.
Against the run of play, Bjarnason latched on to a floated cross from the right-hand side to beat goalkeeper Rui Patricio with an impressive one-time finish.
Tuesday’s goal at the Euro 2016 was the first for Iceland at a major tournament.
Meanwhile, Ronaldo equalled Luis Figo’s national team record of 127 appearances for Portugal, but the Real Madrid forward was mostly frustrated during the contest, after he failed to make an impact.
The 31-year-old found Nani with a perfect delivery early in the first half, but his strike partner saw his header brilliantly kept out by Hannes Thor Halldorsson from six-yards.
Ronaldo missed a wonderful chance to score in the 26th minute, after the Portugal captain failed to connect on a lovely over the top pass by Pepe.
And the frustration continued for the star winger in extra-time after he failed to beat the wall with back-to-back free kicks from 33 and 24 yards.
“It’s down to team work. You can’t put one player to stop a guy like Ronaldo. It has to be a team effort, closing the areas,” said Iceland manager Heimir Hallgrímsson.
“There were a lot of players responsible for Ronaldo tonight. We did a really good job, well done the lads.”
Portugal dominated the game, had 66 percent of the ball, with 27 total attempts, but wasted many good chances to settle the contest.
In the other game in the group, Hungary upset 10-man Austria 2-0 with two second half goals to go top of Group F.
Adam Szalai slid home from inside the six-yard box to score his first goal in 12 appearances, after 61 minutes, and Zoltan Stieber added another three minutes from time and Hungary conquered the odds to get its Euro 2016 campaign off to a winning start.
Szalai combined with Laszlo Kleinheisler to score the game’s opening goal in the 62nd minute, before Stieber took advantage of a thin Austria backline to make it 2-0 in the 87th minute – chipping over the goalkeeper with a clever finish.
Austria was reduced to 10 players after Aleksandar Dragovic was shown a second yellow card in the 66th.
The sending off seemed a bit harsh, though.