Icelandic Football UK: My Favourite Goal
The Icelandic minnows were the shock troops at the Euros. A win in their crucial final group match against Austria would see them qualify from the group stages at their first ever major tournament. Arnor Traustason was the hero of the hour and his story had a touch of fantasy as he did not feature in any of Iceland’s qualifiers for Euros – and the midfielder had entered the pitch only 10 minutes from time.
An absorbing match that had everything, the game opened up in the last 20 minutes as both teams went in search of a winner with the scoreline at 1-1. In Injury time, Austria went in search of a second goal that could have changed their destiny, however, Iceland inflicted the sucker-punch with a textbook counter-attack. however, the ball was cleared out of the Iceland danger area to Elmar Bjarnason who went on a mazy run on the right wing. Austria only had one defender to deal with Brikir Bjarnason and Arnor Traustason who were steam-rolling into the Austrian into the 18 yard box. The right footed pass from Elmar Bjarnason was whipped in across the Austrian goalmouth – A nation held its breath.
Traustason slid as he connected with the ball and for a moment appeared unsure if he had actually scored his 4th International goal or hit the side-netting. When Arnor looked again and realisation had registered, up he rose to his feet and what followed was bedlam, as high emotion gripped the Stade de France.
Arnor Ingvi Traustason supplied the rip-roaring dream climax to this match when, with the very final touch of the ball, he finished past Robert Almer to claim a scarcely believable winner and continue Iceland’s fairytale at the European Championship.
It was one of the magical moments of the Euro history, who can forget Icelandic TV commentator, Gummi Ben's commentary of the goal? Amid the unforgettable scenes and sky-splitting noise when referee Szymon Marciniak blew for full time.
What happened on a balmy night in Nice five days later against England was the pinnacle of Icelandic football much to the dismay of England.
Words From Icelandic Football UK, Twitter: @marcboal