Sigurdsson stars as Iceland shock Netherlands


Netherlands' World Cup hangover continues to linger and they remain off the pace in their bid to qualify for Euro 2016 after a 2-0 loss in Iceland. The Scandinavians — boosted by a Gylfi Sigurdsson brace — have nine points from nine in Group A and sit alongside the Czech Republic, who also have a 100 percent record. The Dutch have three points, with their first ever loss to Iceland arriving after an opening defeat to the Czechs. The expanded version of the next tournament mean they remain alive in their bid to qualify, but their form — off the back of a World Cup semifinal — suggests they will have a job on their hands to make up the gap. The night will go down in Icelandic football history and gives the clearest signal yet that they are ready for a major tournament after nearly going to the World Cup. They made sure they got on top from the off and enjoyed some early possession, but would not have accounted for Gregory van der Wiel giving them a helping hand. Birkir Bjarnson was just about to touch the ball into the Dutch box with nine minutes gone when the PSV defender needlessly stepped across the front of him and sent him to the ground. A penalty was duly awarded and Sigurdsson stepped forward to place a spot kick beyond Jasper Cillessen. In need of a response, Guus Hiddink's side laboured. They seemed off the pace and only Arjen Robben appeared to have the key to unlocking Iceland, but all too often found teammates out of sync. Robin van Persie eventually tuned into him and took in his fine through ball but was denied by Hannes Thor Halldorsson, before Robben himself passed up a chance, nodding wide when it looked easier to convert Daley Blind's cross. The miss would prove to be a costly one too as a minute before the break, when a corner was not cleared, Sigurdsson adjusted his footing with the ball on the rise and cleverly drove in on the volley from 12 yards. Netherlands started the second half with Van Persie hitting over from outside the box — to the jeers of the home fans — but the away side were definitely seeing more of the ball. Another fine Blind cross looked set for Van Persie but it was deflected on its way and the Manchester United man found himself in the wrong position to get a shot on target. Back at the other end and Iceland put together a thrilling one-touch move that saw Kolbeinn Sigthorsson put in a cross which Bjarnason narrowly failed to connect with. Jon Dadi Bodvarsson could have made it more comprehensive for Iceland as he broke clear with minutes remaining but shot wide, although it mattered little.