Andrés Iniesta struck what could prove an invaluable goal in Spain's UEFA EURO 2008™ qualifying campaign as he claimed a winner against Iceland with nine minutes to spare in Palma de Mallorca.
Spain had edged to a 2-1 victory against Denmark on Saturday but still only had six points from their first four games. It could have gone to seven from five but Iniesta produced a timely and strong right-footed shot to keep Spain within four points of surprise Group F leaders Northern Ireland, while leaving Iceland level at the foot of the table with Latvia and Liechtenstein.
Iceland had the first chance when Emil Hallfredsson fired across the face of Iker Casillas's goal, but after that Spain took over, only to be denied time and again by visiting keeper Árni Arason. The No1 twice saved from David Silva early on, before David Villa's swerving effort from out wide clipped the crossbar. Arason was then alert to tip away a slice from team-mate Ólafur Örn Bjarnason before stopping a deflected Villa strike.
It got worse for Spain when Fernando Morientes left the pitch on a stretcher late in the first half, to be replaced by Fernando Torres, yet after the break the hosts continued to press, Villa again being denied by Arason and then nodding wide. Substitute Miguel Ángel Angulo and Iniesta both demanded further heroics from the Iceland keeper, although the FC Barcelona midfielder then beat Arason after being set up by Villa to the relief of the home crowd. Spain will hope to continue their climb when they visit Latvia and Liechtenstein in early June; Iceland meet the Alpine principality that week before going to Sweden.