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Norway fall to Iceland in fortress Reykjavik

Published: Saturday 17 September 2011, 23.01CET
"I think all teams are a bit afraid to play against us in Iceland," said coach Siggi Eyjólfsson after three early goals gave his side a crucial 3-1 victory against a devastated Norway.
by Stefán Stefánsson
from Reykjavik
Norway fall to Iceland in fortress Reykjavik
Hólmfrídur Magnúsdóttir celebrates scoring ©KSÍ
 

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Published: Saturday 17 September 2011, 23.01CET

Norway fall to Iceland in fortress Reykjavik

"I think all teams are a bit afraid to play against us in Iceland," said coach Siggi Eyjólfsson after three early goals gave his side a crucial 3-1 victory against a devastated Norway.

"I think all teams are a bit afraid to play against us in Iceland," said coach Siggi Eyjólfsson after his side put themselves in early control of UEFA Women's EURO 2013 qualifying Group 3 with a 3-1 defeat of Norway.

Two-time European champions Norway beat first-time qualifiers Iceland on their way to the 2009 semi-finals, but they now already face an uphill struggle to top the section after their loss in Reykjavik. Hólmfrídur Magnúsdóttir struck either side of a Margrét Lára Vidarsdóttir penalty in the opening 32 minutes and although Ingvild Stensland pulled one back, Norway were beaten.

Iceland had already opened their campaign with a 6-0 defeat of Bulgaria, and were hoping for a win reminiscent of their victory against France four years ago that set them on their way to the last EURO finals. Magnúsdóttir had already gone close when she broke from halfway to open the scoring on eight minutes.

Vidarsdóttir, top scorer in 2009 qualifying, then added to her four goals against Bulgaria after she was fouled in the box by Maren Mjelde and converted the penalty. Magnúsdóttir made it three by heading in an Ólína Vidarsdóttir cross and although Ingvild Stensland gave Norway hope with 20 minutes left from the edge of the box, Iceland – missing injured defender and set-piece specialist Edda Gardarsdóttir – held on and captain Katrín Jónsdóttir hit the crossbar.

Eyjólfsson, whose team will aim to keep up their fine Laugardalsvöllur record at home to Belgium on Wednesday, said: "We played a great first half, in total control, and hit the bar in the second half, and 3-1 against higher-ranked opposition is great. We had to stay focused in the second half against a great Norwegian team so the win is tremendous.

"I think all teams are a bit afraid to play against us in Iceland, we have a good team and hunger to show that we are good at football. If we win the next game our status in the group is very good, especially after this win over Norway because it can be vital later on."

Norway, meanwhile, are coming to terms with a fresh blow after their FIFA Women's World Cup group-stage exit but will aim to get off the mark at home to Hungary on Wednesday, and may already be looking to the home rematch on 19 September next year. Coach Eli Landsem said: "I have no explanation for this right now. We have worked very hard with the aim of taking control of the game, but instead were all below par."

Last updated: 18/09/11 14.49CET

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