England begin UEFA Nations League campaign with dramatic late 1-0 win vs Iceland

England scraped victory vs Iceland

There was late drama in England's opening UEFA Nations League fixture, with two penalties in the final two minutes as the Three Lions scraped a 1-0 victory in Reykjavik.

Raheem Sterling first scored from the spot in the 89th minute after Gareth Southgate's side were awarded a penalty for handball.

But moments after he converted, Iceland went up the other end and missed one of their own. 

When the pressure was on, Birkir Bjarnason blazed over from 12 yards. 

The 1-0 win means England start their Nations League campaign with three points, but they were made to work. 

Harry Kane thought he had England in front within seven minutes, tapping in at the back post, but he was incorrectly flagged offside. With no VAR, the decision stood. 

That was as close as the visitors got in the first half because, despite an impressive start, the game quickly became a rather cagey affair. 

It was a crazy game in Iceland

England were on top but failed to break down a well-organised Iceland before the break. 

They were on top to begin the second half too, dominating possession, but still failed to worry goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson before the hour mark. 

A fluffed long-range effort from Rice and a dangerous ball into the box were about as close as England came in the opening moments of the second period. 

Much of the game was dull

It didn't get much better for Southgate's side either when Kyle Walker was sent off after picking up a second yellow card in the 71st minute. 

He lunged in on Arnor Ingvi Traustason and the referee had no choice but to give him his marching orders. 

With 10 men, England struggled to create any clear cut chances in the remaining 20 minutes and stumbled over the finish line thanks to that late penalty.

But, this was the Three Lions first fixture since November 2019, as the coronavirus pandemic derailed all international football in 2020 - and it really showed. 

Ahead of kick-off, eyes were on Manchester City youngster Phil Foden, who made his senior debut on Saturday evening. 

The midfielder was fairly impressive and looked right at home alongside the likes of Declan Rice, Jadon Sancho, Raheem Sterling and James Ward-Prowse in midfield. 

He did, however, like many of his teammates, lack that killer ball to break down the Iceland defence. 

Foden was impressive on his debut

After a 1-0 win vs Iceland, Group B fixtures against Denmark and Belgium will follow as England look to advance to the latter stages. 

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