When it comes to international football, matches between Iceland and Portugal have created some memorable moments for fans around the world. These two national teams have a history of facing off against each other in various competitions, including World Cup qualifiers, European Championship qualifiers, and friendly matches. In this comprehensive article, we will take a closer look at the timeline of encounters between the Iceland and Portugal national football teams, highlighting key matches, players, and outcomes that have defined their rivalry on the pitch.


Before diving into specific matches, it’s essential to understand the context surrounding the footballing histories of Iceland and Portugal. Iceland, despite being a small island nation with a population of around 350,000, has made significant strides in international football in recent years. The team’s success in qualifying for major tournaments like the UEFA European Championship in 2016 and the FIFA World Cup in 2018 has put them on the map as a competitive force to be reckoned with.

On the other hand, Portugal boasts a rich footballing tradition, with a storied past that includes iconic players like Eusébio, Luís Figo, and Cristiano Ronaldo. The Portuguese national team has a history of success in major tournaments, culminating in their triumph at the UEFA European Championship in 2016 and the UEFA Nations League in 2019.

Timeline of Encounters:

1. First Meeting: Euro 2012 Qualifiers – October 7, 2011

The first official match between Iceland and Portugal took place during the qualifiers for the UEFA European Championship in 2012. The game ended in a 5-3 victory for Portugal, with Cristiano Ronaldo scoring a memorable hat-trick to secure the win for his team.

2. Euro 2016: Group Stage – June 14, 2016

In their first major tournament appearance, Iceland faced Portugal in the group stage of the UEFA European Championship in 2016. The match ended in a 1-1 draw, with Iceland‘s Birkir Bjarnason equalizing after Nani had given Portugal the lead.

3. World Cup Qualifiers – March 25, 2017

During the qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup in 2018, Portugal once again faced Iceland in a closely contested match that ended in a 1-1 draw. Iceland‘s Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson scored a late equalizer to secure a point for his team.

4. World Cup 2018: Group Stage – June 25, 2018

The most recent meeting between the two teams took place during the group stage of the FIFA World Cup in 2018. Portugal emerged victorious with a 1-1 win, thanks to a goal from Cristiano Ronaldo. Despite the loss, Iceland showed resilience and determination throughout the match.

Key Players:


  1. Gylfi Sigurðsson – The creative midfielder has been a vital player for Iceland, contributing both goals and assists in crucial matches.
  2. Alfreð Finnbogason – A prolific striker who has a knack for finding the back of the net when his team needs it most.


  1. Cristiano Ronaldo – A legendary figure in world football, Ronaldo’s presence on the field can change the course of any game.
  2. Bernardo Silva – A talented playmaker known for his vision and passing ability, Silva adds creativity to the Portugal midfield.

Key Moments:

Iceland‘s Euro 2016 Run:

One of the standout moments in the rivalry between Iceland and Portugal was Iceland‘s impressive performance at the UEFA European Championship in 2016. The team’s spirited display, including a famous 2-1 victory over England in the round of 16, captured the hearts of football fans worldwide.

Portugal‘s Euro 2016 Triumph:

On the other hand, Portugal went on to win the UEFA European Championship in 2016, with Cristiano Ronaldo lifting the trophy as captain. Despite facing criticism for their playing style, Portugal‘s resilience and determination saw them through to a historic victory.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs):

1. Who has won more matches between Iceland and Portugal?

  • Portugal has won more matches against Iceland in their head-to-head encounters.

2. Is there a significant rivalry between Iceland and Portugal in football?

  • While there is respect between the two teams, there is not a longstanding historical rivalry like some other footballing nations.

3. What have been the biggest victories for Iceland and Portugal against each other?

  • Portugal‘s 5-3 victory in the Euro 2012 qualifiers and Iceland‘s 2-1 win over Portugal in a friendly match are among the notable results.

4. Have Iceland and Portugal ever faced each other in a major tournament final?

  • No, Iceland and Portugal have not met in a major tournament final to date.

5. Which players from Iceland and Portugal have had the most impact on their encounters?

  • Cristiano Ronaldo for Portugal and Gylfi Sigurðsson for Iceland have been standout performers in matches between the two teams.

In conclusion, the matches between Iceland and Portugal have provided football fans with thrilling moments and unforgettable performances over the years. While Portugal has traditionally been the stronger team, Iceland‘s rise in international football has added a new dimension to their encounters. As both teams continue to make their mark on the global stage, fans can look forward to more exciting clashes between these two nations in the future.


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