Match report: France leave it late to beat Iceland
France left it late to grab an unconvincing 1-0 victory over Iceland thanks to a late penalty from Eugenie Le Sommer in Tilburg.
It was Iceland who had the first attempt of the game inside 8 minutes when Fanndis Fridriksdottir tried her luck from outside the box but to no avail as her effort sailed wide of the target.
France had their first opening a minute later when Le Sommer slid in Clarisse Le Bihan before she hit her shot across the face of goal and wide. Le Sommer then had a chance of her own on 14 minutes as the Lyon attacking midfielder got on the end of Amandine Henry’s corner but headed her effort wide.
Henry was involved in the next positive French move as she set up Camille Abily her effort was then well blocked by Agla Maria Albertsdottir. Iceland were holding firm not allowing their French opponents to create many clear-cut chances.
However Oliver Echouafni’s side were inches away from taking the lead on 36 minutes as Abily played in Henry before her powerful low shot was palmed away by Gudbjörg Gunnarsdóttir in the Icelandic goal.
Iceland were obviously severe underdogs going into the match but a minute later had a good opportunity of their own as Dagny Brynjarsdóttir got under a perfectly whipped in Hallbera Guany Gísladóttir cross and headed her effort over the crossbar.
Élise Bussaglia was next in line to try her luck for the French after she got on the end of a Le Sommer pass but got the finish all wrong and fired her effort over the crossbar from a good position.
Brynjarsdóttir was a danger from corners causing all sorts of havoc in the French area and once again she got on the end of a Hallbera Guany Gísladóttir corner but with the same result as she headed just wide of the right-hand post.
France started the second half on the upper hand creating another good goal scoring chance on 53 minutes as Bussaglia hit a powerful right foot shot from outside the box only to see it blocked by a last ditch Albertsdottir tackle.
Gunnhildur Yrsa Jonsdottir was next to test the French fans nerves as she got onto the end of a Brynjarsdóttir header but she miscued effort on goal resulting in only a goal kick.
Bussaglia was a constant threat with her running and she was denied what would have been a superb goal on 62 minutes when he curler was plucked out of the air by Gunnarsdóttir.
Abily was impressing for the French and she thought she had scored after a Le Sommer pass but she fired her effort wide in what was growing to be a frustrating evening for them.
72 minutes had passed and the French still had no answer to break down a very determined Iceland side but if not for Gunnarsdóttir they would have been ahead as she kept out an Élodie Thomis strike from the edge of the area.
Wendie Renard thought she had broken the deadlock as she saw her header crash off the crossbar after Abily’s cross had taken out the Icelandic defence.
With time running out the French were awarded a penalty as Elin Metta Jensen pulled down Henry and up stepped the impressive Le Sommer to slot the ball into the net to a huge sigh of relief from everyone associated with the French.
— WomensSoccerUnited (@WSUasa) July 18, 2017
Hi my names Josh Bunting I study Sports Journalism at UCFB Etihad Campus , Reporter at Sheffield Wednesday football club.