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Last Updated: Saturday, 2 September 2006, 15:59 GMT 16:59 UK
Northern Ireland 0-3 Iceland
By Lyle Jackson

Gunnar Helder Thorvaldsson of Iceland
Gunnar Helder Thorvaldsson of Iceland scores the first goal
A woeful defensive display saw Northern Ireland fall to a disastrous home defeat to Iceland in their opening Euro 2008 qualifier at Windsor Park.

Poor marking allowed Gunnar Heidar Thorvaldsson to score on 13 minutes.

Hermann Hreidarsson was left free at the far post from a corner to make it 2-0 and Eidur Gudjohnsen finished well for the third in the 36th minute.

David Healy netted for Northern Ireland on 60 minutes but the effort was ruled out for a push by Stuart Elliott.

Northern Ireland had been quietly confident of getting the qualifiers off to a good start after a recent friendly win in Finland.

But the sell-out crowd at Windsor Park was stunned as Iceland made the breakthrough.

NI defender Stephen Craigan found himself outnumbered as Gunnar Thorvaldsson reacted fastest to Brynjar Gunnarsson's ball and fired past the exposed Maik Taylor.

Iceland extended their lead in the 20th minute when Hreidarsson scored after Johannes Gudjonsson's corner was not cut out.

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Elliott's free-kick after 34 minutes was cleared off the line by Hreidarsson while Steve Davis forced a save from Arni Arason.

But it was the visitors who struck again when Gudjohnsen finished clinically after a cross from Gretar Steinsson was only partially cleared.

Lawrie Sanchez threw Burnley teenager Kyle Laverty into the attack with 27 minutes left.

To complete a miserable day for Northern Ireland, captain Aaron Hughes came off with a gash above his eye near the end.

Northern Ireland, who failed to score in their entire Euro 2004 campaign, now face Spain at home on Wednesday.


Northern Ireland: Taylor, Baird, Capaldi (Duff 76), Aaron Hughes, Craigan, Clingan, Gillespie, Elliott (Lafferty 63), Davis, Healy, Quinn (Feeney 83).
Subs Not Used: Carroll, McCann, Jones, Sproule.

Booked: Healy.

Iceland: Arason, Steinsson, Indridi Sigurdsson, Ingimarsson, Hreidarsson, Brynjar Gunnarsson (Gislason 75), Arnason (Danielsson 55), Joey Gudjonsson, Gudjohnsen, Hannes Sigurdsson (Hjalmar Jonsson 64), Thorvaldsson.
Subs Not Used: Kristjan Finnbogason, Helguson, Arnar Vidarsson, Gunnarson.

Booked: Indridi Sigurdsson.

Goals: Thorvaldsson 13, Hreidarsson 20, Gudjohnsen 37.

Att: 14,500.

Ref: Tommy Skjerven (Norway).

SEE ALSO
Boss Sanchez deflated by defeat
02 Sep 06 |  Internationals
Saturday football photos
02 Sep 06 |  Football
Euro 2008 tables
02 Sep 06 |  Internationals


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