Skip to main content
The Globe and Mail
Support Quality Journalism
The Globe and Mail
First Access to Latest
Investment News
Collection of curated
e-books and guides
Inform your decisions via
Globe Investor Tools
Just$1.99
per week
for first 24 weeks

Enjoy unlimited digital access
Enjoy Unlimited Digital Access
Get full access to globeandmail.com
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
Just $1.99 per week for the first 24 weeks
var select={root:".js-sub-pencil",control:".js-sub-pencil-control",open:"o-sub-pencil--open",closed:"o-sub-pencil--closed"},dom={},allowExpand=!0;function pencilInit(o){var e=arguments.length>1&&void 0!==arguments[1]&&arguments[1];select.root=o,dom.root=document.querySelector(select.root),dom.root&&(dom.control=document.querySelector(select.control),dom.control.addEventListener("click",onToggleClicked),setPanelState(e),window.addEventListener("scroll",onWindowScroll),dom.root.removeAttribute("hidden"))}function isPanelOpen(){return dom.root.classList.contains(select.open)}function setPanelState(o){dom.root.classList[o?"add":"remove"](select.open),dom.root.classList[o?"remove":"add"](select.closed),dom.control.setAttribute("aria-expanded",o)}function onToggleClicked(){var l=!isPanelOpen();setPanelState(l)}function onWindowScroll(){window.requestAnimationFrame(function() {var l=isPanelOpen(),n=0===(document.body.scrollTop||document.documentElement.scrollTop);n||l||!allowExpand?n&&l&&(allowExpand=!0,setPanelState(!1)):(allowExpand=!1,setPanelState(!0))});}pencilInit(".js-sub-pencil",!1); // via darwin-bg var slideIndex = 0; carousel(); function carousel() { var i; var x = document.getElementsByClassName("subs_valueprop"); for (i = 0; i < x.length; i++) { x[i].style.display = "none"; } slideIndex++; if (slideIndex> x.length) { slideIndex = 1; } x[slideIndex - 1].style.display = "block"; setTimeout(carousel, 2500); }

A Canada soccer logo is seen on Alphonso Davies in Vancouver on March 24, 2019. Canada was unable to break down Iceland in the second half in a friendly on Jan. 15, 2020, falling 1-0.

Darryl Dyck/The Canadian Press

Iceland rode a first-half set-piece goal to defeat Canada 1-0 Wednesday in an international soccer friendly.

Holmar Eyjolfsson scored for 39th-ranked Iceland, which took a few valuable FIFA ranking points off No. 73 Canada with the win. Down 1-0 at the break, the Canadians came on strong in the second half but were unable to break down Iceland.

“From a performance perspective, that second half I thought we deserved something more out of the game,” said Canada coach John Herdman.

Story continues below advertisement

“But all in all I think we should have come away with something,” he added. “Disappointing not to get the points we were hoping for. But I think some of those young players acquitted themselves well. We had six under-23 (players) out there in that last period of time.”

Canada was coming off back-to-back 4-1 wins over No. 162 Barbados last week at the same venue, Orange County Great Park. Eight different players scored for Canada in those two victories.

Wednesday’s loss marked the first time Canada had been shut out since a 1-0 loss to El Salvador in October 2017. The Canadians had scored in 15 straight matches.

Canada and Iceland had met three previous times. Iceland won once with two ties.

With a population of around 350,000 — less than London, Ont. — Iceland punches above its weight in international soccer these days. It is coming off appearances in both the 2018 World Cup and 2016 European Championship.

And it proved to be a tough out despite missing some top players, like Canada, given Wednesday’s match fell outside a FIFA international window.

Canada was without Alphonso Davies (Bayern Munich, Germany) and Jonathan David (KAA Gent, Belgium), among others. Iceland was missing the likes of captain Gylfi Sigurdsson (Everton, England), Birkir Bjarnason (Al-Arabi, Qatar) and Ari Freyr Skulason (KV Oostende, Belgium).

Story continues below advertisement

Montreal Impact midfielder Samuel Piette captained Canada.

Maxime Crepeau started in goal behind a backline of Samuel Adekugbe, Amer Didic, Kamal Miller and Richie Laryea. Piette, Jonathan Osorio, Liam Fraser and Charles-Andreas Brym patrolled the midfield with Tosaint Ricketts and Tesho Akindele up front.

The starting 11 went into the match with a combined 186 caps. Ricketts (60), Piette (48) and Osorio (33) accounted for 141 of those. Six of the starters had five or less caps and the Canadian back four numbered 20 caps.

Iceland threatened first on a set piece, only to see Crepeau make the save with his foot in the eighth minute. Piette had a half-chance in the 12th-minute but his shot went wide.

Iceland came close in the 20th minute but a shot deflected just wide. Iceland scored on the ensuing corner kick a minute later with Eyjolfsson, who plays for Bulgaria’s Levski Sofia, knocking the ball in at the far post after Crepeau was unable to get to the ball through traffic.

Hoskuldur Gunnlaugsson’s shot flashed just wide in the 56th minute.

Story continues below advertisement

Zorhan Bassong, a 20-year-old who plays in Belgium for Cercle Brugge KSV, came in for Laryea to start the second half. Teenage forward Jayden Nelson was introduced

Canada started strongly after the break with Osorio putting a side-volley on target in the 48th minute but it went straight at goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson.

The game had a particular Iceland flavour in the 60th minute when Kjartan Finnbogason was replaced by Kristjan Finnbogason.

Ricketts put the ball in the back of the net in the 68th minute but the offside flag went up.

Teenager Jayden Nelson came on for Akindele in the 75th minute. A minute late, Crepeau was forced into action with a fine fingertip save on a low shot. Fullback Ashtone Morgan came on in the 80th minute for Adekugbe.

Theo Bair came on in the 90th minute for Canada.

Story continues below advertisement

The Canadians are preparing for the start of World Cup qualifying later this year. Iceland is gearing up for a Euro 2020 playoff against Romania in March.

Canada, currently seventh among CONCACAF countries, is chasing sixth-place El Salvador in the FIFA rankings.

The top six CONCACAF teams after the June international window qualify for the Hex, the most direct route of World Cup qualifying out of the region that covers North and Central America and the Caribbean. The top three finishers in the Hex round qualify for Qatar 2022.

Canada started the year with 1,331.2 points, 15 points behind El Salvador. Canada added 2.26 rating points with the pair of wins over Barbados.

Canada Soccer estimated a win over Iceland would be worth another 3.1 points for Canada. Instead the Canadians will leak a few points.

Coincidentally Iceland plays El Salvador on Sunday. But the game is considered a training match so there will be no FIFA points at stake.

Story continues below advertisement

“It’s still all to play for,” said Herdman.

Report an error
Due to technical reasons, we have temporarily removed commenting from our articles. We hope to have this fixed soon. Thank you for your patience. If you are looking to give feedback on our new site, please send it along to feedback@globeandmail.com. If you want to write a letter to the editor, please forward to letters@globeandmail.com.

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff. Non-subscribers can read and sort comments but will not be able to engage with them in any way. Click here to subscribe.

If you would like to write a letter to the editor, please forward it to letters@globeandmail.com. Readers can also interact with The Globe on Facebook and Twitter .

Welcome to The Globe and Mail’s comment community. This is a space where subscribers can engage with each other and Globe staff.

We aim to create a safe and valuable space for discussion and debate. That means:

  • Treat others as you wish to be treated
  • Criticize ideas, not people
  • Stay on topic
  • Avoid the use of toxic and offensive language
  • Flag bad behaviour

Comments that violate our community guidelines will be removed.

Read our community guidelines here

Discussion loading ...

To view this site properly, enable cookies in your browser. Read our privacy policy to learn more.
How to enable cookies