Iceland tops Group A of the Euro 2016 Qualifiers and took a big step to qualifying after grabbing a 1-0 win over the Netherlands on Thursday in Amsterdam.
Iceland has been one of the biggest surprises during the qualifiers, and national team head coach Lars Lagerback has done a phenomenal job in getting the squad to pull together as a team and upset bigger nations like the Netherlands and the Czech Republic.
Lagerback’s squad pulled off another upset on Thursday as they beat the Netherlands for the second time in the qualifiers. Gylfi Sigurdsson scored the lone goal of the game from the penalty spot in the 51st minute after Gregory van der Wiel fouled Birkir Bjarnason inside the penalty area. Sigurdsson has scored three goals in the two meeting against the Dutch, as he had both goals in the 2-0 win in Reykjavik back in October of last year.
The Netherlands has been the big disappointment so far, as the bronze medal winners from the 2014 World Cup sits in third in the group, eight points behind first-place Iceland and six points behind the second-placed Czechs. The Dutch got off to a rough start against Iceland as center back Bruno Martins Indi got sent off in the 33rd minute.
Despite being a man down, the Dutch had a slight advantage in possession and had plenty of shots on net. Iceland goalkeeper Hannes Thor Halldorsson, who plays for NEC in the Dutch league, was on his game and made a couple of crucial saves as the Dutch pressed on for an equalizer.
The win means that Iceland can’t finish worse than third in the group. They have a fairly easy schedule as they play Kazakhstan, Latvia and Turkey in the last three games. If they get one of the two automatic spots to Euro 2016, it will be the first time Iceland takes part in a major international tournament.