Dave Donnelly reports from Whitehall Stadium
Andras Nemeth’s dramatic last-minute penalty saw Hungary become the second team to guarantee their place in the quarter-finals as Group C winners.
The KRC Genk striker sent goalkeeper Olafur Helgason the wrong way after Andri Gudjohsen – the son of Icelandic great Eidur – had needlessly batted away a free kick with his hand.
Hungary had led 1-0 at the break thanks to a well-taken finish from Rajmund Molnar of Honved, but SPAL’s Mikael Egill Elertsson levelled up three minutes after the restart.
The late drama didn’t end with the penalty, as Iceland were prevented from taking a quick restart that would have seen them walk the ball into an empty net.
With all 11 Hungarian players off the field celebrating, Iceland seemed to be entitled to take the quick tip-off but referee Mykola Bakolin insisted not all players had left the field.
The dramatic conclusion was at odds with what had been a largely uneventful game until Molnar broke the deadlock, slightly against the run of play, just past the half hour.
Iceland had the majority of possession throughout but struggled to break down a physical Hungary side, who bypassed Iceland’s press with clever balls in to striker Akos Zuigeber.
It was Zuigeber who skied an early chance to shoot, and the striker should have scored after Jon Gislason was robbed by Samuel Major, but Helgason was out quickly to save.
It was poor defending that allowed Molnar to break the deadlock as he was left in acres of space on the right-hand side of the box before firing clinically into the far corner.
Captain Patrik Poszttobanyi could have doubled the advantage on the counter just before the break but, after a quick one-two with Molnar, he rushed his effort and shot poorly.
Iceland had struggled to get strikers Hakon Arnar Haraldsson and Kristall Mani Ingason in the game and coach David Snorri Jonasson took decisive action at the break.
He brought on Baldur Hannes Stefansson for Haraldsson and reverted to three at the back, with wingers Ellertsson and Danijel Djuric pushed up top. It paid dividends inside three minutes.
Heerenveen playmaker Orri Kjartansson split the Hungary defence with a through-ball for Ellertsson, and he showed good composure to clip the ball past keeper Krisztian Hegyi.
Suddenly, Iceland had a spring in their step and Djuric curled a shot over following good work from Ellertsson, and the latter was denied by an excellent tackle from Botond Balogh when in on goal.
Set-pieces looked Hungary’s best option and Milan Horvath headed over from a corner, and Zuigeber should have scored from Molnar’s flick-on only to catch the ball with his shoulder rather of his head.
Both sides emptied their bench in the latter stages and it was two of those subs, Nemeth and Real Madrid prospect Gudjohnsen, who’d feature most heavily in the final goal.
As injury time approached, a Hungarian free kick was sent looping into the box and, inexplicably, Gudjohnsen stuck his hand in the air and handled the ball, and Nemeth did the necessary.
The goal prompted a pile-in of all 11 on-field players beyond the corner flag and Iceland tried to go quick, but the Hungarian staff encroached on the pitch and the referee blew his whistle to intervene.
There followed vociferous protests from the Icelandic management team and players, led by captain Oliver Stefansson, but to no avail, and Hungary wound down the six minutes of injury time.
Iceland: Ólafur Kristófer Helgason; Valgeir Valgeirsson, Jón Gísli Eyland Gíslason, Oliver Stefánsson, Róbert Orri Thorkelsson; Davíd Snaer Jóhannsson (Andri Fannar Baldursson 74), Hákon Arnar Haraldsson (Baldur Hannes Stefánsson 46), Orri Hrafn Kjartansson; Danijel Djuric (Andri Lucas Gudjohnsen 74), Mikael Egill Ellertsson (Elmar Thór Jónsson 90+3), Kristall Máni Ingason (Ísak Bergmann Jóhannesson 74).
Subs not used: Adam Ingi Benediktsson (gk), Helgi Bergmann Hermannsson, Vilhjálmur Yngvi Hjálmarsson, Ólafur Guðmundsson.
Booked: Oliver Stefansson (57).
Hungary: Krisztian Heygi; Gabor Buna (Donat Orosz 90+5), Botond Balogh, Milan Horvath, David Laszlo; Samuel Major (Andras Nemeth 60), Patrick Posztobanyi, Mihaly Kata, Mark Kosznovsky (Gergo Ominger 77); Akos Zuigeber (Gyorgy Komaromi 77), Rajmund Molnar (Szabolcs Szalay 77).
Subs not used: Gabor Megyeri (gk), Zoltan David, Benedek Kalmar, Roland Bekker.
Booked: Akos Zuibeger (73).
Referee: Mykola Bakolin (Ukraine).
Attendance: 1,200 (estimate).
Extratime.ie Player of the Match: Patrik Posztobanyi (Hungary).