Iceland forward Jóhann Guðmundsson scored a stunning hat-trick in Berne to salvage an incredible 4-4 draw with Switzerland last Friday in the World Cup playoff, while the team won 2-1 against Albania yesterday.
The visiting team went 4-1 down when Switzerland’s Blerim Dzemaili scored from the penalty spot on 54 minutes. However, Kolbeinn Sigþórsson scored Iceland’s second in the 56th minute after Guðmundsson had put them one up in the third minute of the game.
At 4-2 down, there was still little hope for the North Atlantic minnows, but that all changed on 68 minutes when Guðmundsson, formerly on Chelsea’s books, scored with a sweetly-hit left-foot shot. The 22-year-old then completed an incredible comeback by curling a left-foot shot past Swiss keeper Diego Benaglio in injury time to keep Iceland’s dream of making the World Cup in Brazil next year alive.
Prior to Friday’s game, Switzerland had never fallen behind in this qualifying group and had conceded just one goal, but Gudmundsson gave the hosts something to think about when he scored with a sweetly-hit left-foot strike in the third minute.
Switzerland’s response was swift, first with right-back Stephan Lichtsteiner equalising in the 15th minute and then with centre back Fabian Schaer stabbing home in the 27th minute. Lichtsteiner scored and second on 30 minutes, and when Dzemaili scored from the spot after Valentin Stocker was fouled, it looked as though it would be plain sailing.
However, Iceland’s never-say-die attitude helped them complete an unlikely comeback and ensured they stayed in contention for second place in the group.
Iceland eventually secured second place last night in a victory at their home stadium of Laugardalsvöllur with a 2-1 score against Albania.