Iceland hero Kari Arnason hit back at “sore loser” Cristiano Ronaldo after the Portugal captain complained that their Group F opponents had a “small mentality” following their 1-1 draw at Euro 2016.
Ronaldo said Iceland celebrated as if they had won the European Championship after the final whistle and declared that as the reason why the outsiders will “do nothing” in France this summer.
Arnason, who along with Ragnar Sigurdsson marked Ronaldo out of the game in Saint-Etienne, instead declared Iceland were unlucky not to win the game and criticised the forward for his reaction.
“He’s just a sore loser,” Arnason said. “He didn’t want to lose the game. What does he expect - for us to play like Barcelona against him? He fannies about and dives around.
“Obviously we were the underdog, we played like the underdog and we were unlucky not to win the game.”
Arnason also stated that the Iceland coach Lars Lagerback provided no specific blueprint to deal with Ronaldo other than to watch him closely. “We didn’t pay any extra attention to him,” he said. “Obviously everyone knows how good he is so you have to know where he is at every given moment but there was nothing in our game plan to specifically close him down.
“We just knew we had to be close to him at every given moment and it worked perfectly.”
Iceland went behind to a Nani strike in the first half but struck back after the break through Birkir Bjarnason. The Basel midfielder secured a point on Iceland’s tournament debut in a moment that few connected with the small island nation will ever forget.
“It’s amazing,” said Arnason. “I mean we knew we could do it. I think we were a bit unlucky not to steal the win at the end with [Alfred] Finnbogason’s chance.
“The second half played into our hands. We didn’t have the ball much, obviously, but we were solid and we can always catch people on the counter. There’s not many people who want to play against our forwards in the form they were in today.”
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