VIDEO: Alex on fire in Reykjavik
Thursday, 06 October, 2011
Chamberlain grabs a hat-trick to inspire England win.
By Jamie Bradbury in Reykjavic
Click here to watch highlights of England's win in Reykjavik
Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain inspired England to a comfortable 3-0 victory in Iceland with a well-taken hat-trick in Reykjavik to put Stuart Pearce’s team top of Euro 2013 Qualifying Group 8.
The Arsenal winger was a handful all night and a quick-fire brace inside 15 minutes put England in charge in what could have been a very tricky encounter. He added a fortuitous third just after half-time and cap a fine man-of-the-match performance in what was his fourth game for the Under-21s.
It was a chilly night at Laugardalsvollur, Iceland’s national stadium, but a healthy, if not noisy, crowd turned out in numbers. However, they had to see their team concede two early goals. The opener came following some good work on the half-way line from Watford striker Marvin Sordell.
He turned well before being tripped, but the French referee allowed play to go on and the ball rolled into the path of the Arsenal winger. Chamberlain sprinted forward making his way into the area before tucking away past Arnar Petursson. It was his first goal for Pearce’s team.
And two minutes later he made it two, this time profiting from a lapse by the Iceland stopper. Nathan Delfouneso sent in an in-swinging cross from the left which looked easy for Petursson, but it slipped out of his grasp and fell kindly for Chamberlain who side-footed home.
Unfortunately it was to be Delfouneso’s last action of the game as midway through the half, after attempting a back-heel on the edge of the area, he went down clutching his hamstring before being replaced by Martyn Waghorn.
Iceland weren’t lying down though, and through Dofri Snorrasson and Bjorn Sverrisson they were trying to put England’s back-four under pressure. Their only attempts at Jack Butland’s goal, though, were coming from outside of the area as two shots flew over the bar.
A minute before the break Runar Sigurjonsson met a corner powerfully ten yards out, but again the effort was high.
The game was effectively wrapped up three minutes into the second half when Chamberlain collected a pass from Kelly on the right. The 18-year-old glided down the wing past two defenders before crossing in towards the near-post. Petursson was wrong-footed and could only help the ball into the net.
But while it was a good night for goals, it was proving a problematic one for England as Waghorn also suffered a hamstring injury, chasing down a ball outside the Iceland box just after the hour. He was replaced by Chelsea’s Josh McEachran.
Iceland were not giving up, but just like the first half failed to trouble Butland. Only Aron Johannsson really worked the Cheltenham keeper but his 20-yard strike was easily gathered.
And with seven minutes left, Pearce gave his goal hero a rest with Monday’s trip to Norway in mind, bringing on Everton’s Ross Barkley for his first competitive appearance. With the Norwegians winning in Azerbaijan earlier in the day, the game in Drammen in four days’ time will see the group’s top two meet and England will need to be at their best.
Watch match highlights
Video courtesy of ESPN. Available in the UK Only.
For tickets for England's next home game against Iceland at Colchester United on 10 November, click here for ticket details.