With France widely expected to take top spot in Group D at Euro 2022, Iceland and Belgium squared off Sunday at Manchester City's Academy Stadium knowing that three points would prove invaluable in reaching the knockout stage.
But there was very little between 17th-ranked Iceland and 19th-ranked Belgium over the course of 90 minutes, and although both teams could've won it, a 1-1 result (which will be celebrated by Italy) ultimately seemed fair after Berglind Thorvaldsdóttir's 50th-minute header was canceled out by Justine Vanhaevermaet's 67th-minute penalty.
Thorvaldsdóttir, who played her college ball at Florida State, could've given Iceland the lead in the 30th minute after a Belgium handball in the box, but the 30-year-old saw her tame penalty smothered by goalkeeper Nicky Evrard.
However, shortly after halftime, Thorvaldsdóttir made amends with a powerful header at the far post.
Iceland's press caused a clear disconnect between Belgium's defense and attack, forcing Tessa Wullaert and Tine De Caigny to come short and wide to receive possession. There wasn't much apart from the odd flash of quality from the Belgian Red Flames, but it was Wullaert's incisive pass to Elena Dhont in the area that led to a foul by Iceland's Gunny Jónsdóttir.
Vanhaevermaet made no mistake from the spot with a composed finish.
The final minutes saw a flurry of chances at both ends, but no player could provide the decisive moment of inspiration.
France vs. Italy is later today and represents the final match of the opening fixtures in England. Matchday 2 in Group D sees Italy play Iceland while France goes up against Belgium.