Iceland Wins Euro Qualifier Against Albania, 1-0
The Icelandic National Men’s football team won its Euro 2020 qualifying match against Albania on Saturday, with a final score of 1-0, mbl.is reports. Iceland earned three points as a result of the win.
Although Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson, who scored the winning goal during the 22’ minute, admitted to Vísir that the game “wasn’t pretty,” he and his teammates were thrilled with the result, which brought Iceland up to six points in the group. Albanian coach Edoardo Reja didn’t mince words when asked about the final score, however, saying that Iceland’s win was “undeserved,” and that it was the kind of match in which the team that scored first was likely to come out the victor.
“As I’ve said many times, Icelanders are very strong physically – particularly in the air – and as such, Albania kept the ball mostly on its own half of the pitch and tried to find a hole in Iceland’s defense. That would have been possible if the game had evolved differently. But then we made terrible mistakes in our defense, such that three players were like bowling pins – just stood there and did nothing but make horrible mistakes. It was that kind of game – where the team that scored first was more likely to come out victorious.”
The match was a scrappy one, with Iceland on the receiving end of more fouls than Albania. When asked if his team had played a rough game, Reja replied that it was “…a hard game, but football is a hard game” and moreover that he thought that Iceland’s players had a tendency to dive rather easily.
Regardless of how elegant the match was (or wasn’t), Johann Berg reiterated that it was an important one for Iceland to win, both in terms of the points earned and the expectations it sets for Iceland in the long term.
“Everyone’s been saying that we’re old, tired, and the game wasn’t sold out, which is unusual for us. We were determined to win the match.”
Iceland is currently in third place in their qualifying group, on six points. Turkey is in first place with nine and France is in second with six. The team’s next match will be against Turkey on June 11.