Cristiano Ronaldo failed to live up to the billing as Portugal are held by minnows in group F; Hungary won Austria earlier by 2-0 to to...
Cristiano Ronaldo failed to live up to the billing as Portugal are held by minnows in group F; Hungary won Austria earlier by 2-0 to top the group surprisingly
Portugal 1-1 Iceland
Portugal were held to a 1-1 draw in their Group F opener as Iceland produced a second half response to the Selecção’s opening goal.
Nani had given Fernando Santos’ men a lead just after the half hour mark with a near-post finish, but Birkir Bjarnason produced an emphatic leveller to gain a deserved point for Iceland, and also provide their first goal at a major tournament.
Portugal had 25 attempts on goal compared to Iceland’s four but were either wasteful or frustrated by the impressive Hannes Halldorsson.
Nani and Cristiano Ronaldo may particularly rue aiming clear-cut headers straight at the Iceland goalkeeper.
It came as no surprise when Portugal took the lead after a slick counter-attack with just over half an hour gone. Andre Gomes was given too much room on the right and his low ball into the box was neatly tucked home by Nani with a first-time shot.
But Portugal paid for their profligacy as Bjarnason stole in to equalise after 50 minutes. Vieirinha lost the flight of a deep cross from Johann Gudmundsson and Bjarnason ran in behind him to hit a low volley past Patricio.
Hungary 2-0 Austria
Hungary pulled off somewhat of a surprise as they defeated Austria 2-0 thanks to a pair of second half goals, ensuring the perfect start for Bernd Storck’s men.
Adam Szalai’s first international goal gave the Magical Magyars the lead just after the hour mark, before Alexander Dragovic saw a second booking to reduce Austria to 10 men, and former Hamburg man Zoltan Stieber added a late clincher on the break.
The result was unexpected with Austria boasting a technically excellent forward line. They needed just 30 seconds to serve warning of their ability as David Alaba seized on a loose ball and lashed a left-footed shot against the woodwork from distance.
But for all Austria’s excellence, Hungary, making their first European Championship finals appearance for 44 years, were able to match them through strong organisation.
Things went from bad to worse for Austria as they were reduced to 10 men four minutes late in the game. Martin Hinteregger actually thought he had equalised with a long-range strike after a scramble in the area but the whistle had been blown for a challenge by Dragovic on Tamas Kadar. Austria protested but their woes were soon compounded as Dragovic, booked in the first half, was shown a second yellow card and then a red.
That sapped the spirits of Austria and they were caught again three minutes from time as Hungary broke from deep and Stieber chipped over Almer to spark wild celebrations.