The Icelandic national team in men’s handball achieved a draw, 26-26, against France in the third round of games in qualifying group C in the World Cup in Qatar tonight. In qualifying group D two Icelandic coaches, Dagur Sigurðsson of Germany and Guðmundur Guðmundsson of Denmark, also tied with a score of 30-30.
Iceland’s match against France was considered to be extremely exciting with Iceland having stepped up their game, playing excellent offense and defense, and demonstrating solid goalkeeping, ruv.is reports.
“It was a good game. We played with force in the defense but they were a tough opponent,” Iceland’s coach Aron Kristjánsson told visir.is. “The boys played a strong game and we made progress. Now we just have to continue because we have a key match against the Czech Republic left.”
Iceland scored the first goal of the game, which was followed by three French goals. France maintained the lead until the middle of the first half when Iceland equalized at 6-6. Iceland then took the lead, the score being 14-12 for Iceland at half time.
Iceland started out strong in the second half, scoring the first two goals. France then equalized at 16-16. Iceland took the lead again, only to lose it to France when there were 12 minutes left of the game. After that the teams scored in exchange with a draw being the final result.
Aron Pálmarsson and Ásgeir Örn Hallgrímsson scored the most goals for Iceland with five each and goalkeeper Björgvin Páll Gústavsson deflected ten shots.
Iceland now places fourth in the qualifying group with three points. Sweden tops the group with six points, followed by France with five points and Egypt with four points. The Czech Republic and Algeria bottom out with no points.
Iceland lost its first game against Sweden but beat Algeria in the second game. The next game is against the Czech Republic on Thursday.