An 89th-minute header from substitute Tryggvi Gudmundsson gave Iceland a 2-1 win against Faroe Islands at the Laugardalsvöllur stadium in Reykjavik and kept alive their hopes of qualifying for UEFA EURO 2004™.
Iceland closing in
The win moved Iceland within two points of the top of the group, following Scotland and Germany's 1-1 draw earlier on Saturday. Iceland currently lie in fourth place in Group 5 with six points from four matches, and visit the side immediately above them, Lithuania, on Wednesday. Faroe Islands, bottom of the section with one point from four matches, are at home to group leaders Germany on the same night.
Iceland were in control throughout the first half but were unable to break through until four minutes after half-time, when Eidur Gudjohnsen's free-kick from just outside the penalty area rebounded back off the crossbar and striker Helgi Sigurdsson was on hand to score with goalkeeper Jákup Mikkelsen helpless.
However, the away side drew level two minutes past the hour with their only real goalscoring chance of the match, as Rógvi Jacobsen rose highest to head a Jákub á Borg free-kick beyond Árni Gautur Arason and into the net.
The home team pressed forward in search of three vital points, but were denied by some spectacular saves from Mikkelsen, and it seemed the match would end all square. However, a minute from time, Gudmundsson met Thordur Gudjónsson's right-wing cross with a powerful header and sent the ball into the top left-hand corner of the net to earn his side victory.
'We had to wait'
After the game Iceland coach Asgeir Sigurvinsson was delighted to have snatched three points. "I'm very pleased with the victory even though we had to wait," he said. "We used the wings well and made lots of chances. We should have controlled the game more but many of our players play in England and are not in the best shape at the moment [as the season has just ended]."
In sharp contrast, Faroe Islands coach Henrik Larsen was extremely disappointed. "I think we deserved to win," he said. "We had difficulty playing our short passing game. I was very pleased with how we played in the second half."