Italy kept their chances of reaching the Euro 2022 knockout stages alive by coming from behind to draw 1-1 with Iceland, who will feel it was an opportunity missed because of their early lead and late chances that went begging.
Karolina Lea Vilhjalmsdottir scored only minutes into the contest, before Valentina Bergamaschi cancelled it out as Italy took more control of the game. But Iceland could have made it 2-0 right before the equaliser, while there were also opportunities to go 2-1 up near the end.
Italy made five changes from the team that was thrashed by France, including benching star forwards Barbara Bonansea and Cristiana Girelli. But it seemed to matter little when Iceland raced into an early lead through Vilhjalmsdottir in just the third minute.
Iceland launched a long throw into the box, Italy failed to clear and Vilhjalmsdottir pounced.
The game was more balanced after that that – if anything Italy were the stronger after settling down and had much more of the ball – but Martina Piemonte missed a glorious chance to equalise midway through the first half when she skewed wide a volley from the centre of the penalty area. It was telling that Italy’s best opportunities came with the ball on the floor, yet they often played it long.
Iceland did have more chances to extend their lead in the first half too, with Sara Bjork Gunnarsdottir and Sveindis Jane Jonsdottir both missing the target at the near post.
Another set-piece that Italy failed to clear saw Iceland go within inches of going 2-0 up at the hour mark, but substitute Alexandra Johannsdottir stabbed her effort narrowly wide. They were made to rue the miss because it was just moments before Bergamaschi’s equaliser, the result of a driving run down the left from half-time replacement Bonansea.
With Italy pressure building, Bonansea was only denied a go-ahead goal by Sandra Sigurdardottir's parry onto the inside of the post. Flaminia Simonetti then lashed a good chance wide of the past from 18 yards out, while Bonansea soon fired wide to the other side.
In the closing stages, Vilhjalmsdottir could have won it for Iceland. But while she showed excellent technique to score early, she fluffed her lines and failed to make proper contact in a great position. Similar was true of Sveindis Jonsdottir, who couldn’t sort her feet in front of goal.
1. Italy (4-4-2)
GK: Laura Giuliani - 6/10 - Not actually tested all that much given that Iceland did have some good chances.
RB: Lucia Di Guglielmo - 6/10 - Saw plenty of the ball and hardly gave it away. Not overly effective going forward.
CB: Sara Gama (c) - 4/10 - A little bit all over the place early on and could have used the ball better when she had time to pick passes forward.
CB: Elena Linari - 6/10 - Ultimately fared much better than her surprisingly disappointing defensive partner.
LB: Lisa Boattin -6 /10 - Created a handful of chances. Coped well against Jonsdottir overall.
RM: Valentina Bergamaschi - 6/10 - Got her feet right to convert what could have been a difficult chance to equalise.
CM: Flaminia Simonetti - 7/10 - Keen to try and get forward from midfield and created a few chances.
CM: Martina Rosucci - 6/10 - Began to exert more control in the second half. Passed the ball and kept possession well.
LM: Arianna Caruso - 5/10 - Had a few shots at goal in the first half but was sacrificed at the interval for more experience.
ST: Martina Piemonte - 5/10 - A creative threat asking questions but really should have buried a golden first half chance.
ST: Valentina Giacinti - 5/10 - Didn't carry that much of a threat. Lacked clinical quality.
SUB: Barbara Bonansea (46' for Caruso) - 8/10 - Made a huge difference to Italy's attacking output and created the equaliser.
SUB: Cristiana Girelli (52' for Piemonte) - 6/10
SUB: Elise Bartoli (58' for Gama) - 6/10
SUB: Daniela Sabatino (85' for Giacinti) - 6/10
2. Iceland (4-3-3)
GK: Sandra Sigurdadottir - 8/10 - Made a number of good claims and saves that ultimately preserved a point for Iceland.
RB: Elisa Vidarsdottir - 6/10 - Had trouble handling Bonansea.
CB: Glodis Viggosdottir - 7/10 - Repelled virtually everything that came her way.
CB: Gudrun Arnardottir - 7/10 - Similarly strong defensively.
LB: Hallbera Gisladottir - 6/10 - Sent a lot of long passes forward with little success. Sacrificed in the closing stages for a more attacking change.
CM: Gunnhildur Jonsdottir - 5/10 - Committed a few fouls and wasn't as effective at stopping Italy playing as hoped.
CM: Dagny Brynjarsdottir - 6/10 - Disciplined performance, mostly had to play without the ball.
CM: Sara Bjork Gunnarsdottir (c) - 6/10 - Created one chance and missed one herself. Became increasingly defensive-minded as Italy grew.
RF: Sveindis Jane Jonsdottir - 6/10 - A threat with her technical skills but it was her long throw that caused the opening goal. Faded a little.
ST: Berglind Thorvaldsdottir - 5/10 - Didn't see much of the ball in open play and lasted less than an hour before being replaced.
LF: Karolina Lea Vilhjalmdottir - 7/10 - Excellent finish to put Iceland ahead - it would have been easy to get wrong. Missed a late chance to win it.
SUB: Alexandra Johannsdottir (57' for G. Jonsdottir) - 6/10
SUB: Agla Maria Albertsdottir (58' for Thorvaldsdottir) - 5/10
SUB: Svava Ros Gudmundsdottir (78' for Gunnarsdottir) - 6/10
SUB: Selma Sol Magnusdottir (88' for Vilhjalmsdottir) - N/A
SUB: Aslaug Munda Gunnlaugsdottir (88' for Gisladottir) - N/A)