Hungary and Portugal qualified from group F after a thrilling 3-3 draw featuring a brace for captains Balazs Dzsudzsak and Cristiano Ronaldo. Iceland grabbed a last-minute winner to beat Austria 2-1 and take second spot.
The results mean tournament debutants Iceland will play England on Monday while Hungary and Portugal must wait until later on Wednesday night to find out their last 16 opponents.
As in their previous match against Austria, Portugal – and in particular Nani – were wasteful in the early stages. Unlike in the last game, this time they were punished, veteran midfielder Zoltan Gera, 37, hammering in the opener for Hungary on 19 minutes.
Portugal failed to properly deal with a corner and the former West Brom man controlled the loose ball on his chest before slamming a perfectly-struck volley past Rui Patricio in the Portugal goal.
The group favorites responded well and enjoyed a decent spell of pressure immediately after going behind, Cristiano Ronaldo testing Gabor Kiraly with a long range free kick. Portugal’s star man was becoming increasingly involved in the contest and finally made a telling contribution when his incisive, slide rule pass took five defenders out of the game and enabled Nani to blast home first time from ten yards out.
With Cristiano Ronaldo’s personal tally of consecutive missed free kicks at major tournaments touching 40, the Real Madrid man would have been furious when Balazs Dzsudzsak scored on a free kick to give Hungary the lead once again two minutes after the break. The Hungarian’s effort took a huge deflection off Andre Gomes before finding the net.
Portugal’s most-capped player rarely stays out of the action for long; just two minutes later, he once again looked to have stolen the limelight, brilliantly backheeling in a low cross from Joao Mario on the left to keep his side’s tournament alive.
In a game that was rapidly becoming a tale of the two captains, Dzsudzsak wasn’t to be denied. The Hungary skipper had a 55th minute free kick blocked. As the ball ran back to him he cut inside before striking for goal with his left foot. The ball struck the outstretched leg of a Portuguese defender, bounced in to the turf and flew past Rui Patricio to put the Hungarians back in the lead at 3-2.
Next it was the Portuguese skipper’s turn. Again a cross from the left and again a Cristiano Ronaldo equalizer, this time a header. The two captains shared four goals in 15 minutes.
Hungary responded again, as the tournament’s most open game maintained the tempo, striking the post though Adam Szalai before a period of relative calm descended as both teams seemed content to settle for the draw that saw them both through.
Ice men hold firm to make knockouts
A goal in each half booked Iceland a historic first tournament win and top spot in Group F and a place in the last 16.
Iceland, playing in their first major international competition, started brightly. Johann Gudmundsson rattled the post from more than 25 yards out after just two minutes. Nine minutes later, Austria had a golden chance of their own when Stoke City winger Marko Arnautovic dispossesd the goalkeeper but he couldn't capitalize.
The tournament first-timers weren't cowed by the let-off though and took the lead in the 18th minute when Kaiserslauten striker Jon Bodvarsson collected a flick on from a long throw at the back post before sidefooting it home, to the unrestrained delight of the fans in blue in the Stade de France.
They weren’t so happy in the 35th minute when their midfielder Olafur Skulason was adjudged to have brought down David Alaba in the box. The Bayern Munich man would’ve been most people’s favorites to take the penalty, but it was defender Aleksander Dragovic who stepped up. He struck the post, just as Cristiano Ronaldo had against the Austrians four days earlier.
Austria emerged for the second half with a point to prove and after a few scares, the Icelandic defence was finally breached on the hour mark when Schalke midfielder Alessandro Schöpf finished off a slaloming run with a composed low finish.
Austria needed a win to stand any chance of progression, but both Marc Janko and Schöpf missed golden opportunities to put them ahead. But with the clock ticking down and Austria commiting all their players forward, Iceland broke down the right. Kari Arnason’s pass found Arnor Trustason in space and he slid the ball home, sparking a brief pitch invasion from the bench and bedlam from the blue section of the stadium.
It was a fitting end to the highest night of drama at the tournament so far.
As it happened