The Icelandic men’s handball team beat Estonia 38-24 yesterday in the qualifying round for the 2010 European Championship in Austria, while the men’s national football team lost 2-1 in a friendly game against the Faroe Islands.
Both games were played in Iceland.
“We were as prepared as we could be, which made this victory happen. We led by twelve goals in the first half and that doesn’t happen by itself,” Iceland’s handball coach Gudmundur Gudmundsson told visir.is.
“We didn’t underestimate the opponent and therefore we got such a good head start. But despite a great outcome and a firm position we haven’t started celebrating a seat in Austria yet because there is still a long way to go,” Gudmundsson added.
Iceland’s performance was characterized by prime defensive play and fast breaks. One of the game’s best players was Ásgeir Örn Hallgrímsson, who also performed well against Macedonia last week. Like in that game, many of Iceland’s key players were injured.
In the football game, both Faroese goals were scored in the first half. The first was a header by captain Fródi Benjaminsen and the second was an own goal by Iceland’s Gudjón Árni Antoníusson, visir.is reports.
“I thought we lacked interest in the first half,” said Iceland’s coach Ólafur Jóhannesson. “The second half was slightly better but we lacked decisive chances to score, although we did get one goal in the very end.”
Most of Iceland’s shots were deflected by Faroese goalkeeper Gunnar Nielsen, the best player of the game. Iceland’s only goal was scored by Jónas Gudni Saevarsson. Both teams used the game to train their younger, more inexperienced players.