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Iceland abuzz after 'landmark' Portugal draw

"The supporters can party tonight," said an elated Gylfi Sigurdsson after Iceland held Portugal 1-1 on their EURO debut, a result that left Fernando Santos ruing missed chances.

Iceland's players salute their fans in Saint-Etienne
Iceland's players salute their fans in Saint-Etienne ©Panoramic

Heimir Hallgrímsson, Iceland joint coach
We feel good. We knew how strong Portugal are. They had the ball much more and it's really difficult to play against them. They have one of the best teams here and will probably go far, but our defending was fantastic. We were really well organised and worked hard. Apart from one or two situations, we were focused. It's hard to single anyone out – it was a team effort and we can go into the next game more relaxed.

We knew that we wanted to play long balls against them and knew we would usually win the first ball. At half-time, we said we didn't win the second ball enough, and we lost the ball too quickly. We had to be cleverer and move the team up the pitch more.

So many things are happening for the first time for Iceland. The win against Holland was a first and this was another first-time achievement. It felt like we were at home today. The Iceland fans were fantastic. That made us feel a little better, and when the players got tired, the fans made them stronger. It's another landmark for us. A point against Hungary and we'd be nearly there, and that's a great feeling to have.

Gylfi Sigurdsson, Iceland midfielder
It's a great point. It was an extremely difficult game – we were defending for perhaps 88 minutes, and as you can perhaps hear I‘m losing my voice, since we had to talk a lot and run a lot off the ball. But we've shown before we‘re more than good enough to defend for 90 minutes against these teams. It shows the character in the team to go 1-0 down against a team like Portugal and still stay in the game.

Gylfi Sigurdsson: We proved we belong at this level

It's great to see that we're good enough for this level. It's great to get a point from this first game. Now there are two games left – one win will probably be enough to advance, but we want to finish it as soon as possible and win the next game to make sure of it.

The fans were wonderful. You could see before the game that everybody was singing the same song. I think all of us got goosebumps while we were warming up. Great support and a great point, so the supporters can party tonight.

Aron Gunnarsson, Iceland midfielder
It's unbelievable. We had a game plan and stuck exactly to it. And we got a point against a really strong Portugal side that tried everything they could to score another goal. I could sense they relaxed a little bit and started showing off after they scored, but that just didn't work against us.

My groin injury has been playing up and I haven't trained for the past three days so my plan was to work myself gradually into the game, which I did. The first half wasn't that great, but as soon as we got more involved in the match, things started going much better and I think I played my part in defence as planned. That's what you expect from a defensive player.

Nani: We were superior to Iceland

Fernando Santos, Portugal coach
We weren't surprised by Iceland – we know how they play. We should have played even quicker between the lines. We were to blame for not scoring. We were too anxious and should have been more patient, but we wanted to win this game. Our goal is the game – we play on Saturday [against Austria] and we'll be there to win it.

We knew it would be a hard game but we also know we played better and that we should've won. We made a lot of chances, scored one and should've scored more. We controlled the game and we needed to be more alert to stop their cross coming in. We conceded to something that we knew they were going to do.

There are always difficulties in the first game. I think we'll bounce back to play two great matches. There's no point crying over spilt milk. I said this group was difficult and things don't always go according to plan.

We don't have two mobile forwards. We need the midfielders to be mobile. We should have been pacier and we didn't cross well enough, though it's true we had two good shots – and their goalkeeper is still wondering how he saved Nani's header.

Nani, Portugal forward and man of the match
We controlled the match and showed that we were the better team all along. All they did was play long balls. They were very strong, but we controlled the match. We were unlucky, because we had a lot of chances. But this was only the first match. We hope that this a warning, and that we will start winning matches from now on.

We had the match under control even in the second half. We moved the ball around well, but Iceland are a very strong team; they have a lot of players who are physically strong.

They are very aggressive at fighting for the ball. The second half was a bit more difficult. But we performed well and controlled the match. Now it's about recovering and preparing for the next matches, because we still have a lot of matches to play.