3 July ~ Iceland’s 2-1 victory over England last Monday means have reached the quarter-finals of their first-ever European Championship. Tonight they will face France, and a look back at the first-ever meeting between the two teams shows just how far the tiny island nation have come in footballing terms.
On June 2, 1957 Iceland travelled to Nantes to take on France in their opening qualifier for the 1958 World Cup where, in front of 15,080 spectators at the Stade Marcel Saupin, they were soundly dispatched 8-0.
Sedan striker Célestin Oliver got France’s opening two goals, before Reims’ Jean Vincent and Roger Piantoni, either side of a goal from René Dereuddre of Lens, made it 5-0 before half time. The second half didn’t start any better for the visitors, with Algerian-born Said Brahimi scoring his only international goal on 49 minutes. That was it until the final ten minutes when Piantoni and Vincent rounded off the win.
Iceland lost all four matches in their qualifying group – which also included Belgium – and conceded 26 goals in the process, scoring just six. France, meanwhile, went on to beat West Germany 6-3 in the third-place play-off having lost 5-2 to eventual champions Brazil in the semi-finals.
The above video does not have sound, but does feature a neat flick from the France No 11 (around 1.30) to set up one of their goals.