Late drama bubbled over during England’s UEFA Nations League clash away to Iceland, after two last-gasp penalty kicks at either end providing a hero and villain scenario, with Raheem Sterling coming out on top for England.
Both given for handball, Sterling converted for England before Joe Gomez was immediately deemed to have handled the ball at the opposite end. Birkir Bjarnason stepped up, but could only blaze his attempt over the crossbar.
Gareth Southgate’s side believed they had made early headway in the contest, after Raheem Sterling’s low searching cross was poked in by Harry Kane at the far post.
The goal appeared above board, only for officials to make a questionable offside call without the use of VAR in operation.
England’s task became that little bit harder on 70 minutes, after defender Kyle Walker received a second yellow card for a rash tackle on Arnor Traustason and given his marching orders.
The Manchester City forward rolled his effort home before a further stoppage-time sting in the tail.
Joe Gomez clumsily fouled substitute Holmbert Fridjonsson in the box, although Birkir Bjarnason opted for a contrasting approach to Sterling’s and blazed woefully high and wide.
Kane was flagged offside when he slid in Sterling’s sixth-minute cross at the far post. Without VAR in operation, there was no recourse to replays that suggested the goal should have stood.
Walker had a rasping shot deflected into the side netting and, from the resulting corner, Sterling was caught flat-footed and a presentable opportunity went begging – an error that paled next to Declan Rice’s horrible air shot from Jadon Sancho’s cross.
Set pieces increasingly looked to be England’s most potent weapon as their hosts clogged up central areas to rob Southgate’s men of any rhythm.
In the 64th minute, Iceland striker Jon Dadi Bodvarsson almost glanced Kieran Trippier’s left-wing delivery into his own net.
Frustration was evident when Walker crudely flung himself into a challenge on Arnor Ingvi Traustason to be shown his second yellow card.
Mason Greenwood replaced Kane to win his first cap, meaning England’s regular penalty taker was absent when the decisive moment arrived.
Despite his patchy record from the spot at club level, Sterling held his nerve impressively – no guarantee, as Bjarnason handily demonstrated a few moments later.