Iceland’s goal-scoring hero Birkir Bjarnason claims his team had been aiming to beat Portugal after holding Cristiano Ronaldo’s heavyweight side to a 1-1 draw at Euro 2016.
The Basel midfielder netted the equaliser to earn a famous point for the tiny Scandinavian country in what was their first match at a major tournament.
And the 28-year-old, having written his name into Icelandic football history at Stade Geoffroy-Guichard on Tuesday, revealed the lofty target the side had set for themselves before their daunting assignment in Saint-Etienne.
“We went into this game wanting to win it,” he said.
“It’s always our goal, even if we play against Portugal or Netherlands.
“No games here are easy.
“You can see that today. Hungary beat Austria, who would have thought? But we have to concentrate on the next game,” he added, referring to a clash with Bernd Storck’s surprise Group F leaders, who won 2-0 against their neighbours in Bordeaux earlier in the day.
“We need three points so we have to go for that and hopefully we manage [to do it].”
While delighted with his decisive individual contribution, the modest Bjarnason took the most satisfaction from the dogged rearguard action that denied one of Europe’s traditional powerhouse sides.
“I feel great, we played fantastic football,” he said.
“Fantastic defensive football for 90 minutes against a great team, against great players.
“We can’t be anything else than really happy.
“I’m really proud of [scoring] that goal, of course. But in the end we played really well together, compact and great defence. [A] 1-1 [result] against this team is fantastic.”
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