Dagny Brynjarsdóttir rifled home a penalty deep into stoppage time but a 1-1 draw with Group D table-toppers France was not enough to stop Iceland from crashing out of Euro 2022.
The Nordic side had been second best for long spells but a VAR intervention following a late corner resulted in prolonged drama that eventually saw the referee consult the monitor and point to the spot.
It denied Les Bleues the chance to equal their all-time record of 17 straight victories after Melvine Malard struck after just 43 seconds to net the quickest goal of the tournament.
Corinne Diacre’s side always looked the more menacing with both Sandy Baltimore and substitute Onema Geyoro hitting the woodwork while Malard and Geyoro had goals ruled out by VAR.
Iceland pressed late on and got their reward, but it all came too late as Belgium’s win over Italy saw them finish second in the table behind France.
Les Bleues will now look ahead to a mouthwatering quarter final with Holland on Saturday July 23.
VAR takes centre stage but France remain a major threat. It is hard to read too much into that result. France were already guaranteed to finish top of Group D and made six changes to their line-up.
The onus was very much on Iceland to secure the result to join them in the last eight, but on another day Les Bleues could have run out convincing winners to extend their 13-month winning run. It may smart for Diacre and Co that they did not equal their all-time record of consecutive victories, but they have bigger things to worry about on their immediate horizon.
The heavyweight clash with reigning champions Holland is arguably the pick of the quarter finals and their coach Mark Parsons has already stoked the flames ahead of it by suggesting that his side see an opportunity and that France won’t want to play them.
As for Iceland, they have the unenviable honour of being the first side ever to go out in the group stage despite being unbeaten, but ultimately they did not do enough in the final third to turn those three draws into potential victories.
PLAYER OF THE MATCH
Melvine Malard (France). Took her goal with real composure and was a relentless threat for much of her time on the pitch. Unlucky not to have added to her tally and has done her hopes of featuring more as the tournament progresses no harm at all.
ICELAND: S Sigurdardottir 7, Gudny Arnadottir 6, Viggosdottir 7, I Sigurdardottir 6, Gisladottir 7, S Gunnarsdottir 7, Brynjarsdottir 7, S Jonsdottir 6, Vilhjalmsdottir 6, Albertsdottir 7; Thorvalsdottir 6. Subs: G Jonsdottir 6, Gunnlaugsdóttir 6, Gudmundsdóttir 6, Andradóttir n/a, Jensen n/a.
FRANCE: Peyraud-Magnin 6, Torrent 6, Tounkara 6, Renard 7, Bacha 6, Toletti 7, Bilbault 7, Mateo 7, Diani 7, Malard 8, Baltimore 7. Subs: Palis 6, Cascarino 6, Karchaoui 6, Geyoro 7, Sarr 6.
1’ – GOAL! – Iceland 0-1 France. It’s the worst possible start for Iceland. Malard flicks a ball into the path of Mateo, who drives at the Icelandic defence before rolling it back to her teammate. Malard arrives on cue and rolls a simple 20-yard strike into the bottom corner.
12’ – ICELAND CHANCE! Jónsdóttir arrives late at the far post to meet a right-wing corner but sees her firm header flick off the top of the crossbar and fly over.
41’ – ICELAND CHANCE! How did that stay out? France make a real mess of defending a left-wing corner and when the ball makes its way all the way through to Thorvaldsdottir, she can’t react in time and can only balloon the ball into the air with the goal gaping.
55’ – FRANCE CHANCE! Sandy Baltimore almost wriggles free on the left side of the area but sees her shot deflect off a defender and cannon back off the crossbar.
57’ – ICELAND CHANCE! Albertsdottir drives down the left, cuts inside but sees a 25-yard shot parried away by Peyraud-Magnin.
60’ – ICELAND CHANCE! Gunnarsdottir sees a flick header flash just wide after she somehow beat Peyraud-Magnin to a cross from the right. The French keeper has not looked comfortable dealing with deliveries all night long.
67’ – FRANCE CHANCE! Geyoro turns on the left side of the box and sees a low strike deflect off a defender and flash back off the near post.
76’ – ICELAND CHANCE! Thorvaldsdottir slaps the turf in frustration. She holds the ball up superbly and then spins her marker with a combination of skill and strength before fizzing a 25-yard drive just past the far post.
90+11’ – GOAL! – Iceland 1-1 France. Dagny Brynjarsdóttir keeps her nerve to lash home the spot kick but it won’t be enough. Belgium have won in the other Group D match. The penalty was awarded after a melee in the France box as Icelandic players attacked a right-wing corner. The referee was eventually asked to check the monitor and after multiple views pointed to the spot!