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Familiar debut for Iceland

Iceland's first match in a UEFA senior final tournament will be against familiar opposition as they met France twice in qualifying, although the debutants will hope for better than the defeat with which they ended Group 3.

Iceland qualified via the play-offs after being pipped by France in their group
Iceland qualified via the play-offs after being pipped by France in their group ©Sportsfile

Iceland's debut match in a UEFA senior final tournament for either gender will be against familiar opposition as they played France twice in qualifying Group 3.

• When these teams met at Reykjavik's Laugardalsvöllur national stadium on 16 June 2007, both sides were yet to drop a point. Top seeds France dominated but none of their 23 shots found a way past Iceland goalkeeper Thóra Helgadóttir and Margrét Lára Vidarsdóttir secured a 1-0 home win nine minutes from time after being set up by Dóra María Lárusdóttir, then her club-mate at Valur Reykjavík.

• The teams were:
Thóra Helgadóttir, Ásta Árnadóttir, Erla Steina Amardóttir (Dóra María Lárusdóttir), Sif Atladóttir, Edda Gardarsdóttir, Gudrún Sóley Gunnarsdóttir, Asthildur Helgadóttir, Katrín Jónsdóttir, Greta Mjoll Samuelsdóttir (Hólmfrídur Magnúsdóttir), Dóra Stefánsdóttir, Margrét Lára Vidarsdóttir.
France: Sarah Bouhaddi, Corine Franco, Ophélie Meilleroux, Sandrine Dusang, Sonia Bompastor, Camille Abily, Sandrine Soubeyrand, Elise Bussaglia, Louisa Nécib (Elodie Thomis), Gaetane Thiney (Laetitia Tonazzi), Hoda Lattaf.

• The result was big news in Iceland and five days later their 5-0 defeat of Serbia was watched by 5,976 fans at the Laugardalsvöllur, a national record crowd for a women's international. They lost their next game 2-1 in Slovenia but other than that neither they nor France dropped another point before their final match in La Roche-sur-Yon on 27 September 2008.

• France needed a win to overtake Iceland and took the lead on six minutes through Sandrine Soubeyrand. Katrin Jónsdóttir equalised two minutes into the second half but three minutes later Candie Herbert restored the French lead, an advantage they never relinquished.

• The teams were:
Céline Deville, Corine Franco, Laura Georges, Sabrina Viguier, Sonia Bompastor, Sandrine Soubeyrand, Elodie Thomis, Camille Abily, Elise Bussaglia (Delphine Blanc), Louisa Nécib, Candie Herbert (Sandrine Brétigny).
Iceland: Thóra Helgadóttir, Ásta Árnadóttir (Harpa Thorsteinsdóttir), Dóra María Lárusdóttir (Rakel Hönnudóttir), Holmfridur Magnusdóttir, Edda Gardarsdóttir, Gudrún Sóley Gunnarsdóttir, Sara Björk Gunnarsdóttir, Katrín Jónsdóttir, Ólína Gudbjörg Vidarsdóttir, Dóra Stefánsdóttir (Katrín Ómarsdóttir), Margrét Lára Vidarsdóttir.

• Their overall qualifying records were:
France P8 W7 D0 L1 F31 A2 PTS21
Iceland P8 W6 D0 L2 F27 A4 PTS18

• Iceland now faced a play-off, having lost at that stage to Germany in the 1997 edition and Norway eight years later. But they made a superb start in the away first leg in the Republic of Ireland with a Hólmfrídur Magnúsdóttir goal after two minutes, although Stephanie Curtis levelled just past the hour.

• The teams met again four days later at a freezing Laugardalsvöllur and two goals from Lárusdóttir either side of a Margrét Lára Vidarsdóttir strike ensured Iceland prevailed 4-1 on aggregate.

• Overall Iceland and France have played six times, all in UEFA European Women's Championship qualifying. In the 1997 edition, France drew 3-3 in Iceland before a 3-0 home win. Eight years later Les Bleues prevailed 2-0 at home and 3-0 away. Overall France have four wins and Iceland one win with one draw, and France lead 13-5 on the goal count.

• Whereas Iceland are in their first finals, France have competed in all three editions since the eight-team showpiece stage was introduced, though they departed in the group stage in 1997, 2001 and 2005. Les Bleues suffered the same fate in their sole appearance in the FIFA Women's World Cup finals in 2003.

• Margrét Lára Vidarsdóttir was the leading scorer in the qualifying group stage with eleven goals and, including the play-offs, in qualifying overall with a tally of 12.