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Iceland down Netherlands to make history

Netherlands 0-1 Iceland
Dagný Brynjarsdóttir's first-half header took Iceland past their opponents and into the last eight with their first-ever finals victory.

Iceland down Netherlands to make history
Iceland down Netherlands to make history ©UEFA.com

Iceland coach Sigurdur Eyjólfsson had stated his squad were forged to make breakthroughs, and having claimed their maiden point at this level in the draw with Norway earlier in UEFA Women's EURO 2013, they defeated the Netherlands to venture into the quarter-finals.

Dagný Brynjarsdóttir's header on the half-hour mark at the Växjö Arena was enough to ensure progress as one of the two best third-placed teams in the competition. Though he will have to wait until the conclusion of Group C before knowing whether his team will play Sweden or France for a place in the last four, Eyjólfsson, who spent much of the game shielding his eyes from the glorious evening sunshine, can now look ahead to even brighter horizons. Condemned to bottom spot in Group B, the Netherlands, surprise semi-finalists four years ago, exit without a goal to their name.

Both teams knew victory would secure a quarter-final berth regardless of the day's other result in the section, and their determination to shape their own destiny was evident. Katrin Jónsdóttir had a header steered off the goal-line by Dyanne Bito before Hólmfridur Magnúsdóttir surged onto Rakel Hönnudóttir's judiciously-weighted pass. A post, this time, saved the Dutch.

Roger Reijners' side tested the woodwork too when Lieke Marten's long-range drive was tipped onto her bar by Gudbjörg Gunnarsdóttir, but the Netherlands' good fortune at the opposite end finally ran out as Brynjarsdóttir sneaked between two defenders before directing a header beyond Loes Geurts.

Had Margrét Lára Vidarsdóttir not headed wide just after, the outcome would have been in little doubt before the break. Instead, Iceland made their boisterous fans sweat, and not merely due to the pleasant evening sun as the Netherlands pushed the ever-threatening Lieke Martens into a central role in the hope the FCR 2001 Duisburg forward could find a way through.

She almost did, but Gunnarsdóttir scrambled to her right to push away a low drive before doing the same thing on the opposite hand to parry Sherida Spitse's shot and see her nation into the knockout stages.

Player of the match: Dagný Brynjarsdóttir (Iceland)

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