Late Iceland leveller not enough as Belgium secure first knockout spot


rance forward Melvine Malard scored the fastest goal of the Women’s Euro 2022 as Les Bleues drew 1-1 on Monday with Iceland, who became the first side ever to go out of the tournament despite remaining unbeaten.

Iceland, who previously drew 1-1 with Belgium and Italy, maintained their quarter-final chances until their last group game, but Belgium’s 1-0 win over the Italians secured them second spot in Group D on four points.

It took 43 seconds for forward Melvine Malard to put already-qualified France ahead with a low shot from the edge of the box, making it the quickest goal of this year’s tournament so far.

But Iceland, who grew into the game as the first half wore on, continued to give absolutely everything in the second period, as Agla Maria Albertsdottir and captain Sara Bjork Gunnarsdottir came close to scoring.

Corinne Diacre’s France, one of the tournament favourites, saw two goals ruled out by VAR towards the end of the game before Iceland grabbed a consolation goal in the 12th minute of stoppage time through a penalty by Dagny Brynjarsdottir.

Belgium knocked Italy and reached the knockout stages of a major tournament for the first time thanks to their win in Manchester.

Tine De Caigny struck the decisive goal four minutes after half-time, collecting the ball on the edge of the box and smartly moving on to her left foot before drilling into the bottom corner.

Belgium will face Sweden in the last eight on Friday with France set for a showdown with tournament holders Netherlands a day later.

Additional reporting by Reuters.

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