| May 19, 2019

Iceland holds Ronaldo's Portugal to shock 1-1 draw

Iceland holds Ronaldo's Portugal to shock 1-1 draw

PARIS, June 15: Cristiano Ronaldo's Portugal was upstaged by a team of Icelanders and Hungary beat Austria on a day of surprises at the European Championship on Tuesday.

The smallest country ever to play at a European Championship, with its population of 330,000, Iceland made its major tournament debut in style with a 1-1 draw.

Ronaldo lacked his usual accuracy in front of goal, missing a great chance in the first half with only Hannes Halldorsson to beat and then sending a powerful header straight at the Iceland goalkeeper from close range in the second.

Even his trademark free kicks came to nothing on a night he'd rather forget in Saint-Etienne.

"Iceland ... just defend, defend, defend and play the counterattack," Ronaldo said. "They had two chances and they scored one goal. It was a lucky night for them."

It fell to Nani to put Portugal ahead with a neat finish in the 31st minute, only for Birkir Bjarnason to level in the 50th on one of Iceland's few attacks.

"So many things are happening for the first time to Iceland," the team's co-coach Heimir Hallgrimsson said. "This is another first-time achievement. It was fantastic to play here."

Portugal coach Fernando Santos was left to rue the missed chances in a game that followed Hungary's 2-0 victory over 10-man Austria in the other Group F match.

"We should have scored more goals, there is no secret about that," Santos said. "We are to blame for that."

The second round of group matches starts Wednesday, with police in northern France braced for possible trouble after violence last week involving supporters from England and Russia in the southern city of Marseille.