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Atlason hat-trick helps Iceland past Belarus

Iceland 4-1 Belarus
Emil Atlason scored a hat-trick as the hosts maintained their perfect record in qualifying Group 10, with Belarus yet to get off the mark.

Emil Atlason scored a hat-trick in Iceland's victory
Emil Atlason scored a hat-trick in Iceland's victory ©Fótbolti.net

Iceland maintained their perfect start to UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifying Group 10 with a 4-1 home victory against Belarus.

Emil Atlason opened the scoring inside seven minutes before Jón Dadi Bödvarsson and Atlason's second put the host firmly in control. Yuri Kovalev pulled one back for the visitors early in the second half but it was to be Iceland's and Atlason's day. The striker grabbed his third to seal the win 19 minutes from time and extend Iceland's lead at the section summit to six points.

Iceland went into the game full of confidence having beaten their opponents in the opening Group 10 fixture in March and won away from home at Armenia in their second outing. Indeed, the hosts made a promising start with Atlason scoring his fourth goal of qualifying in the seventh minute. Bödvarsson doubled the advantage ten minutes before the break and Eyjólfur Sverrisson's side never looked back after the prolific Atlason made it 3-0 just two minutes later.

Kovalev responded for the visitors 11 minutes after the restart only for Atlason to complete his hat-trick and seal Iceland's third win in as many games towards the end. Belarus are next in action at home to France on 9 September while Iceland entertain Kazakhstan a day later.

"We believed we could win comfortably," said Atlason after the game. "We came into this intending to attack and it went very well. I'm very proud, especially of the team. We've talked about reaching the final tournament so this success doesn't surprise us. I'm delighted to have scored a hat trick. It is my first hat trick for the national team and it felt great."