Cristiano Ronaldo huffed and puffed and so did Portugal for much of the 90 minutes, but that Iceland grit shone through in the end as the team that impressed so much in qualifying held on to an impressive 1-1 draw in their Euro 2016 match in Saint-Etienne. Playing their first match in a major tournament, the tiny country went toe to toe against the might of Ronaldo and co. to come away with a commendable point.
Nani had given Portugal a 31st minute lead, but after Portugal failed to kill the game off despite a number of chances, Birkir Bjarnason struck a sweet volley in the 50th minute to give Iceland a wonderful point.
Iceland could have opened the scoring within the first couple of minutes, as Gylfi Sigurdsson sprang free down the left, before cutting in and trying to curl one into the top corner. However, the Swansea man did not quite hit his strike as well as he would have liked, allowing Rui Patricio to make the save, with the rebound, that also fell to Sigurdsson, kept out, yet again, by the Portugal goalkeeper.
Following that chance, though, it was all Portugal as Ronaldo's men took complete control of possession and the chances. Chance after chance fell to Portugal, with Nani, in particular, a constant threat. The former Manchester United forward had three headed chances, two of which were on target and one of which should have been rippling the net.
Ronaldo, who twinkle toed his way to some space down the left before picking Nani out perfectly, created that big opportunity. The Fenerbahce man, though, headed straight at Hannes Halldorsson, who made a solid reflex save. Ronaldo, who equalled Luis Figo's record of most caps at 127 with this appearance, also had a headed opportunity, but his effort off a fantastic leap went just wide, while another chance, off a long pass from Pepe, went begging when the Real Madrid superstar missed his over the shoulder volley.
Just when it looked like Iceland might hold Portugal out till halftime as the half hour mark came and went, Nani struck. All the good work was done by Andre Gomes, who played a one two with Vieirinha, before playing in a perfect low cross for Nani to deflect into goal at the near post.
With a 1-0 lead, Portugal tried to go for the kill, but that cutting edge in front of goal kept eluding them.
They were made to pay for that profligacy in front of goal by Iceland, who equalised, with their first shot on target since that Sigurdsson double chance. Johann Gudmundsson was given freedom to pick out a cross with his left foot from the right win, and he obliged by finding Bjarnason at the far post, with the midfielder making no mistake with his first-time volley, which went flying past the left of Rui Patricio.
The proverbial kitchen sink came in the next 40 minutes, with several Ronaldo long-range efforts raining down, while the great man also had a glorious opportunity in the 85th minute, but his header, when left free from seven yards, went straight at Halldorsson as Iceland survived, garnering their first ever point in a major tournament.