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Forward thinking puts Iceland ahead

Iceland coach Eyjólfur Sverrisson says his side will not curb their attacking instincts in the play-off second leg against Scotland when they go to Edinburgh looking to build on a 2-1 win.

Forward thinking puts Iceland ahead
Forward thinking puts Iceland ahead ©Getty Images

Iceland coach Eyjólfur Sverrisson says his side will look to press home their advantage in Edinburgh on Monday after defeating Scotland 2-1 in the first leg of their 2011 UEFA European Under-21 Championship play-off in Reykjavik.

Jamie Murphy opened the scoring for the visitors on 19 minutes but Iceland hit back 15 minutes later through Johann Gudmundsson before substitute Almarr Ormarsson clinched victory with 12 minutes to play. It was Gudmundsson's sixth goal of qualifying and Iceland's 31st in nine games, so Sverrisson has no intention of curbing such attacking enthusiasm in Scotland.

"We are going to defend our lead, but then again we have played to win in all our games and that has worked for us," he said. "We are not afraid to attack and we will do that in the next game and make the Scots work hard in defence. I assume Scotland will play like they did tonight. I have seen many of their games and it is interesting to note they always concede more goals at home than away."   

Sverrisson took heart from his team's strength of character after they battled back after shipping an early goal. "We played well, took our chances and won," he said. "That's what counts. It was disappointing Scotland scored but my boys kept going. Instead of losing their spirit they kept coming up the wings to create chances.

"Of course you are always a bit nervous when attacking too much. I try to hold them back a little and we always try to have six players between our goal and the ball when we lose it, but without hesitating in attack."

Sverrisson's task in Scotland will be complicated by suspensions to defenders Hólmar Örn Eyjólfsson and Skúli Jón Fridgeirsson, who were both booked. While Iceland aim to reach the finals for the first time, Scotland are looking to get back there for a first appearance since losing in the semi-finals in 1996. Murphy's away goal, his fifth strike in qualifying, gives them reason to believe they can finish the job at Easter Road.

"We aren't out of it in any way," he said. "We need a 1-0 win at home to go through to the finals, which is all you can ask for really. We also needed a win against Austria at home [in the final group game] and we did it that night. Let's hope it's another great night for us at Easter Road. It might take us until the very last minute. We have scored a few last-gasp goals in this campaign and have shown we never give up. It will be the same against Iceland and hopefully we can do it."