Gylfi Sigurdsson endured a calamity on the international stage as the Everton midfielder failed to help guide Iceland to victory over Hungary on Thursday night.
Iceland had travelled to the Puskas Arena striving to secure a place at next summer’s postponed UEFA European Championship, but saw their hopes of reaching the tournament dashed by two late goals.
Sigurdsson broke the deadlock in the 11th-minute when his free-kick was fumbled in by Peter Gulacsi, and appeared set to be the hero with his 25th goal in international football.
But efforts from Loic Nego and Dominik Szoboszlai in the 88th and 92nd-minutes overturned the scoreline as extra time loomed, knocking Iceland out in the Play-Off Final and securing a spot in Group F alongside Portugal, France and Germany.
Sigurdsson was Iceland’s hero in their victorious Play-Off Semi-Final tie with Romania last month, when the 31-year-old settled the clash with a brace to successfully mark his international return after a year out of the squad.
Manager Erik Hamren would have been eager to see a similar performance from the Everton midfielder against Hungary on Thursday night, yet saw a disastrous display from the player Ronald Koeman vastly lauded upon his £45million capture in 2017.
“We lost 25 goals with [Romelu] Lukaku and we need more players than one to get that number of goals and he is that type of player with that productivity,” Koeman said of Sigurdsson, via quotes by The National News. “He had really good seasons in Swansea. He is, in my opinion, one of the best in his position in the Premier League.”
Sigurdsson ultimately scored just one goal under Koeman before the Dutch coach was sacked and now boasts a similar record under Carlo Ancelotti, having struck home two of his 24 career Everton goals in 30 games since the Italian’s appointment.
While Sigurdsson broke the deadlock with a great deal of fortunate and was on course to be Iceland’s hero against Hungary until two minutes from time, the £16.2m-rated playmaker endured a calamity with SofaScore data showing he lost 70% of his total duels having won just two of eight contests on the ground and one of two aerial battles.
The former Swansea star further lost possession 18 times, committed two fouls, was issued a yellow card in just the fifth minute, made only one tackle, was dribbled past once and misplaced 32% of his 22 attempted passes.
Sigurdsson’s goal came from just one of two shots on target while fielded at striker alongside Alfreo Finnbogason in a 4-4-2, as well, while also failing to complete his only attempted dribble.
The 77-cap international was able to record two key balls from his 15 accurate passes, but Sigurdsson could only connect with teammates with one of four attempted crosses and one of three long balls as he registered his 48 touches across the field at the Puskas Arena.
A performance like his will make it unlikely that Ancelotti looks fondly on Sigurdsson’s name when Everton return to Premier League action, having also been replaced after 66 minutes in defeat to Manchester United last time out.