September 4, 2015 / 7:33 AM / 2 years ago

Soccer-Euro 2016 job not done yet, Iceland put off celebration

AMSTERDAM, Sept 4 (Reuters) - Iceland have decided to suppress the desire to celebrate a famous victory over the Netherlands as they stand tantalisingly close to qualifying for a first-ever major championship.

“It would be very nice to have a beer now,” said co-coach Heimir Hallgrimsson after Thursday’s 1-0 win in Amsterdam put the small north Atlantic island just one win away from reaching the 2016 Euro finals, “but we need to keep our players’ feet firmly on the ground.”

They can seal their place in the finals on Sunday when they host Kazakhstan in Reykjavik where home success will ensure them a top two finish in Group A.

Gylfi Sigurdsson’s 51st minute penalty ensured a famous victory for Iceland, whose 3000 travelling fans roared them on in the Amsterdam Arena, to compete a double over the Dutch, who lost 2-0 in Iceland last October.

“We can be really proud of winning two games against one of the best attacking teams in Europe. This win is the biggest achievement in the history of Iceland’s football,” added Hallgrimsson.

“We were lucky the Dutch had a player sent off but we played the game according to how we would have liked to ball it. We are just flying at the moment,” he said of the celebratory mood in the camp.

Hallgrimsson, however, insisted restraint was paramount.

“It will be a difficult game against Kazakhstan. There we will have more ball possession and be forced to attack. But we believe players can do that especially knowing the fact that we need just one more win.”

Hallgrimsson, who shares coaching duties with the experienced Swede Lars Lagerback, said the key was to continue with routine and leave the partying until after Sunday.

“We are not changing anything, just sticking to our same routine. The players seem to enjoy themselves in the routine and seem to flourish, so we are not going to change. But it would be very nice to have a beer.” (Editing by Amlan Chakraborty)

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