Ólina Vidarsdóttir sounded a positive note about Iceland's future after their UEFA Women's EURO 2013 campaign ended with a 4-0 defeat by Sweden at the quarter-final juncture.
The Chelsea LFC defender also lamented Iceland's failure to implement their game plan, but vowed to come back stronger in four years time. Meanwhile, midfielder Sara Björk Gunnarsdóttir could not fault her team-mates, who she felt "gave everything" but came up short against a superior Sweden side.
"Nobody believed in us expect for ourselves," added Vidarsdóttir, whose team arrived in Sweden without a point to their name at this level. They soon lay that ghost to rest, however, namesake Margrét Lára Vidarsdóttir holding her nerve to score from the spot at the death in an opening Group B 1-1 stalemate with Norway.
A subsequent 3-0 reverse against the holders Germany did little to dampen Iceland spirits. Indeed, they responded by edging out the Netherlands 1-0 courtesy of Dagný Brynjarsdóttir to take their place in the last eight as one of the best third-place finishers. It meant Siggi Eyjolfsson's charges became the first team from their nation to make it past the group stage of a final tournament at any level. For that reason alone, they can go home with their heads held high.
Ólina Vidarsdóttir, Iceland defender
We planned to play with aggression and to be compact. We didn't succeed in doing that during the first 20 minutes but after that we improved. Sweden are a very physical team, with quick players who can shoot from distance. It was difficult to come out after the break being 3-0 down but I though we held it together. We became more organised and if we had started the game in this manner, it could have been a different result. However, they were obviously better than us today.
We came here as underdogs. Nobody believed in us expect for ourselves. We know what we’re capable of and we’re very proud to be here today even if the result wasn't a good one. Looking back on the tournament, we’re pretty happy to have made it this far.
The future is bright; we've got good young players coming through. We’ll qualify for the next EUROs and do even better.
Sara Björk Gunnarsdóttir, Iceland midfielder
It was our intention to keep the game tight in the early exchanges. Their movement was too much for us, however, and we lost our shape. They scored three early goals and we lost focus. You can't afford to do that against a team like Sweden. We're extremely proud of how far we've come. I know we haven't ended on a positive note but we gave everything today. We can be proud to have made the quarter-finals.
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