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Iceland soar after EURO experience

Published: Friday 18 September 2009, 14.11CET
Iceland left UEFA WOMEN'S EURO 2009™ with their heads held high and the 12-0 FIFA Women's World Cup qualifying defeat of Estonia proved Siggi Eyjólfsson's side "have had no problem coming back down to earth".
by Stefán Stefánsson
from Reykjavik
Iceland soar after EURO experience
Iceland impressed in Finland and have hit free-scoring form on their return home ©Sportsfile
Published: Friday 18 September 2009, 14.11CET

Iceland soar after EURO experience

Iceland left UEFA WOMEN'S EURO 2009™ with their heads held high and the 12-0 FIFA Women's World Cup qualifying defeat of Estonia proved Siggi Eyjólfsson's side "have had no problem coming back down to earth".

Iceland may not have secured a point at UEFA WOMEN'S EURO 2009™ but they left with their heads held high after a promising final tournament debut, and a 12-0 FIFA Women's World Cup qualifying defeat of Estonia on their homecoming proved, in the words of coach Siggi Eyjólfsson, that they "have had no problem coming back down to earth".

Vidarsdóttir treble
His side, who lost narrowly to Norway, France and Germany in Finland, had actually kicked off qualifying with their last pre-EURO game, beating Serbia 5-0 with four Margrét Lára Vidarsdóttir goals. She was the top scorer in European qualifying with 12 and is already on course for another big total after a hat-trick against Estonia thanks to goals on four, nine and 38 minutes, moving past her half-century on her 58th cap. That made it 7-0 at half-time and after the break Hólmfrídur Magnúsdóttir added a treble of her own as part of the team's record margin of victory.

Perfect record
Eyjólfsson's home competitive record now consists of a perfect seven wins with 38 unanswered goals. "We decided to move on from the European Championship but put all the experience into our memory bank," the coach said. "We had already began the World Cup with a 5-0 win over Serbia and knew we had to put all our focus on this tournament. It was also great to play again in Iceland where we get lots of support – after all we have won all our games here and not conceded a goal."

Qualifying task
Reaching Germany in 2011 is not easy, as to even make the play-offs they must top Group 1 ahead of a side that finished above them in both EURO qualifying and the final tourmament group stage, France. Iceland go to the Stade de Gerland on 24 October, but Les Bleues – whose 1-0 loss in Reykjavik in June 2007 proved the turning point for Eyjólfsson's side – know they will have a match on their hands after what Iceland did to Estonia in that nation's debut top-level qualifier.

'Great preparation'
"Before the game we talked about the fact that goal difference could be important so we had to stay focused and not let our opponents slow us down, rather create chances and score goals," Eyjólfsson said. "This was great preparation for our next game, to sharpen our attack, before the finals in Finland we mostly concentrated on defence. The next game against France will show were we stand."

Last updated: 18/09/09 14.54CET

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