Belgium 1-1 Iceland: Player ratings as spoils shared in Euro 2022 clash
Belgium and Iceland played out a 1-1 draw in their opening Euro 2022 Group D fixture at the Academy Stadium on Sunday evening.
Justine Vanhaevermaet’s penalty cancelled out Berglind Thorvaldsdöttir’s header, with Thorvaldsdöttir also missing a spot kick in the first half, as the spoils were shared.
After a cagey opening half an hour, Iceland were presented with a golden opportunity to break the deadlock and inject some life into proceedings when the lively Sveindis Jane Jónsdóttir’s effort struck the outstretched arm of the slightly unfortunate Davina Philtjens. However, Thorvaldsdöttir’s tame spot kick was held by Nicky Evrard.
Elena Dhont flashed Belgium’s best opportunity of the first half narrowly past the post following the best team move of the game as the opening 45 finished goalless.
Jónsdóttir continued to pose Iceland’s greatest threat in the second half and forced a strong save from Evrard following a surging run.
But Iceland wouldn’t be denied for long and moments later they made the breakthrough. Karolina Lea Vilhjalmsdottir’s curling delivery found its way to the unmarked Thorvaldsdöttir at the back post, and the Iceland striker atoned for her earlier missed penalty and headed home.
The goal sparked Belgium into life, and they deservedly drew level after 66 minutes. Gunnhildur Jónsdóttir clumsily fouled Elena Dhont in the box, and Vanhaevermaet dispatched the subsequent spot kick.
Buoyed by their equaliser, Belgium enjoyed the better of the latter stages, and Tessa Wullaert twice came close to giving her side the lead, firstly with an audacious effort from range, and then with a bending strike that was well saved by Sandra Sigurdardóttir.
The momentum swung again as Iceland pushed for the winner in the dying stages, Dagny Brynjarsdottr coming close with a couple of headers, but there was ultimately nothing to separate the two sides.
GK: Nicky Evrard – 7/10 – Guessed correctly to save Thorvaldsdöttir’s first half penalty, kept Jónedóttir out with her feet in the second.
RB: Jody Vangheluwe – 6/10 – Had a really good battle with Jónedóttir, making a particularly impressive last ditch tackle in the first half to keep out the Iceland winger. Struggled a bit more in the second half.
CB: Laura De Neve – 5/10 – Left Thorvaldsdöttir unmarked at the back post as Iceland took the lead.
CB: Sari Kees – 6/10 – Steady and solid, won plenty in the air.
LB: Davina Philtjens – 5/10 – Conceded a penalty after blocking Jónedóttir’s effort with her out stretched hand. Struggled against Iceland’s strength on the wing.
CDM: Justine Vanhaevermaet – 7/10 – Cooly converted her spot kick to net Belgium’s equaliser. Calm on the ball.
CM: Julie Blesmans – 6/10 – Neat and tidy on the ball without setting the game alight.
CM: Janice Cayman – 6/10 – Snuck in at the back post for Belgium’s first real sight of goal. Combined well with De Caigny to carve open her side’s first proper opportunity of the match.
CAM: Tine De Caigny – 6/10 – Combined well with Cayman as part of the best move of the first half, creating an opening for Dhont. Unable to fully exert her attacking influence on proceedings.
ST: Tessa Wullaert – 7/10 – Flashed a terrific effort from range narrowly over in the second half, and forced a great save from Sigurdardóttir with a curling effort. Saw more of the ball as the game progressed and Belgium improved.
ST: Elena Dhont – 6/10 – Flashed Belgium’s best chance of the opening 45 the wrong side of the post. Won her side a penalty in the second half, being brought down following a smart turn.
SUB: Hannah Eurlings – 6/10
SUB: Ella Van Kerkhoven – N/A
GK: Sandra Sigurdardóttir – 7/10 – Rushed out of her goal to smother the ball at the feet of Cayman in the second half to halt a potentially dangerous Belgium move. Made a terrific, stretching save to keep out Wullaert.
RB: Sif Atladóttir – 6/10 – Often drifted inside to pick up De Caigny, and kept the Belgium playmaker relatively quiet.
CB: Glödis Viggösdöttir – 6/10 – Caused problems by Wullaert as the second half progressed, having been fairly comfortable in the first period.
CB: Gudrún Amardóttir – 6/10 – Caught out in behind on a couple of occasions in the second half, but otherwise steady and solid.
LB: Halibera Gísladóttir – 6/10 – Had a couple of bursts get forward. Saw a few Belgium half chances come down her side in either half.
CM: Gunnhildur Jónsdóttir – 5/10 – Conceded a spot kick with a clumsy, unnecessary challenge on Dhont.
CM: Dagny Brynjarsdottr – 6/10 – Came close with a trio of headed chances from corners. Broke up play effectively, charged in to tackles like there was no tomorrow.
CM: Sara Bork Gunnarsdottir – 6/10 – Cool and classy on the ball, but didn’t set the world alight.
RW: Karolina Lea Vilhjalmsdottir – 8/10 – Iceland looked dangerous on either wing, with Vilhjalmsdottir full of trickery and very lively. Set up her side’s opener with a teasing back post delivery begging to be buried. Flashed an effort narrowly wide in the latter stages.
ST: Berglind Thorvaldsdöttir – 7/10 – Should have opened the scoring from the penalty spot, but her effort was incredibly tame. Atoned for her miss by drifting to the back post and heading home Iceland’s opener. Linked up well with Jónedóttir and Vilhjalmsdottir on either flank.
LW: Sveindis Jane Jónsdóttir – 8/10 – Earnt her side a spot kick when her effort struck the hand of Philtjens. Saw an effort well saved following a marauding run. Adventurous and dynamic, carried Iceland’s biggest attacking threat.
SUB: Svava Rós Guðmundsdóttir – 6/10
SUB: Agla María Albertsdóttir – N/A
SUB: Alexandra Jóhannsdóttir – N/A