Holmar holds Germans

Holmar Orn Eyjolfsson's Iceland snatched an important 2-2 UEFA European Under-21 Championship qualifying draw in Germany on Tuesday.

The Icelanders went into the match at the Magdeburg Stadium in the east of Germany knowing victory would take them level on points with Group 5 leaders Czech Republic, while also putting the home side virtually out of the running for qualification.

With a point. Iceland remain in contention to qualify for the U21 finals - to be held in summer 2011 - for the first time in the island nation's football history.


The Germans took a tenth-minute lead through VfB Stuttgart midfielder Timo Gebhart, only for AZ Alkmaar midfielder Kolbeinn Sigthorsson to equalise for the visitors three minutes later.

Unfortunately for Iceland, who are coached by Eyjolfsson's father and former international player Eyjolfur Sverisson, they were unable to keep the Germans at bay.

Five minutes after half-time, Gebhart's Stuttgart team-mate Julian Scheiber put the hosts back in front, and Germany looked on course on to clinch a vital victory.

However, Iceland were not done and maintained their impressive recent form when captain Bjarni Vidarsson - Eyjolfsson's team-mate at Belgian club KSV Roeselare, where the 19-year-old is currently on loan - pounced with just 13 minutes remaining after Sigthorsson's shot had come back off the post.

Second-placed Iceland have two fixtures remaining - at home to Germany on 11 August ahead of a potential group decider in Czech Republic on 7 September.

Sverisson's men have collected 13 points and scored 24 goals in six matches, while the Czechs have amassed 15 from a game fewer. The Germans, in third place, have eight points from five matches played.

With such an impressive record, Iceland have a realistic chance of qualifying for the play-offs for next year's finals in Denmark even if they finish second in the group.

The ten group winners and four best runners-up will play-off for seven places alongside the host nation.