Scotland 2-1 Iceland
UEFA European Under-17 Championship Qualifiers
Friday, 25 October 2019, 6pm kick off
Scotland: Morrison (31’, 70’)
Iceland: Djuric (19’)
A double from captain Liam Morrison was enough for Scotland to see off Iceland and secure qualification from Group 7 of the UEFA European Under-17 Championship qualifiers.
The result ensures that Brian McLaughlin’s side qualify for the Elite Round of the competition which will be played next March.
It was a lively first half in which both sides could have justified a half time lead with chances at a plenty.
Scotland started the stronger of the two sides and controlled much of the opening exchanges. Kevin Hanratty led the line well and stretched Iceland’s defence on numerous occasions whilst Barry Hepburn and Regan Thomson also impressed. The young Scots looked noticeably comfortable on the ball and played some impressive football throughout.
The majority of the game’s early chances fell the way of Scotland. Thomson could have opened the scoring in the opening 15 minutes but sent his header narrowly over after a good cross from Leon Watson. Jayden Fairley also went close with a fierce drive from distance that went just wide of the target.
Iceland grew into the game and began to show a real threat on the counter attack. Their right sided midfielder Tyrfingsson made several darting runs and was unfortunate to see his early effort sneak wide. Danjel Djuric also looked dangerous and went close with a free kick form distance.
The two would combine for Iceland’s opener. The visitors cleared a loose ball from their own half which found its way to Djuric who drove at the Scotland defence and picked out Tyrfingsson. Who then produced a sublime piece of skill to cut the ball back onto his left foot and deliver a tempting cross to the back post, which was headed in by Djuric.
The goal provoked an almost immediate response from Scotland who equalised soon after. Thomson picked the ball up at the edge of the box and drove past two Iceland defenders before flashing an effort across the face of goal which was eventually turned in by Liam Morrison. The Scotland captain bundling home after Iceland ‘keeper Petersson had made a superb close range save from the original effort.
Both sides had more chances in an end to end opening 45 but neither could convert. Iceland went close through Oskarsson before Scotland hit the crossbar with a strike from Fairley, the midfielder’s left footed effort from distance clipping the upright.
The intensity of the first half carried into the second 45, with Scotland continuing to look the most threatening of the two sides.
The aforementioned Fairley looked intent on getting on the scoresheet and went close again soon after the restart, forcing Petersson into a good save from a free kick from 20 yards.
Similar to the first half Iceland soaked up much of the early pressure before having any notable opportunities themselves but could have scored again just after the hour mark. Oskarsson heading wide of Tom Ritchie’s right-hand post from a corner.
But it was the Young Scots who got a deserved second midway through the second half. A ball broke from a corner to Thomson who showed excellent composure under pressure to turn and dink the ball into the box, right on to the head of Morrison. The central defender epitomising a Captain’s performance with his second of the game.
There was plenty of late drama as Iceland pushed for an equaliser and they would have drawn level if not for a world class save from Ritchie. The Scotland ‘keeper showing fine agility to reach a Djuric shot destined for the top corner.
Hanratty then could have put the game out of reach when put through one on one with Petersson but sent his lobbed effort narrowly off target.
Iceland had further efforts from Haraldsson and Oskarsson, the latter inches away from burying a shot into the bottom corner, but Scotland held on to take all three points.
Up next for Scotland: Croatia at Forthbank on Monday to see who will top the group. Kick-off is 7.05pm, with free entry.
Scotland: Ritchie, Devine, Watson, King, Morrison, Fairley, Smith (Carse, 68’), Thomson, Hepburn (Coulton, 68’), Hanratty (Mellon, 90’), Ramsay (Murray, 85’)
Subs not used: Hogarth, Mochrie, Lowry, Nelson, Duncan
Iceland: Petersson, Palsson, Robertsson, Styrmisson, Tyrfingsson, Djuric, Haraldson, Oskarsson, Hlynsson, Luoviksson (Brekkan, 64’), Alexandersson (Sigurpalsson, 85’)
Subs not used: Arinbjornsson, Armannsson, Karlsson, Jakobsson, Birgisson, Omarsson, Valdimarsson