Carlo Ancelotti is facing a selection dilemma in midfield when Everton return to action, after Gylfi Sigurdsson started the international break in sublime fashion with a Man of the Match display as Iceland beat Romania in a crunch UEFA Euros Qualifier.
Iceland will now take on Hungary for a place at next summer’s postponed tournament following their 2-1 win over Romania, in which Sigurdsson struck home twice before the break to send Erik Hamren’s side through to the final qualifying tie.
Sigurdsson broke the deadlock in the 16th-minute when he buried a left-footed effort into the bottom right-hand corner from the edge of the box, and later doubled his country’s advantage with a strike into Ciprian Tatarusanu’s bottom-left pocket from the centre of the box.
The 31-year-old was two for three for shots to goals as the side’s returned to the dressing rooms for half-time, but Sigurdsson could not seal his hat-trick with his fourth and final strike of the game in the 46th-minute when the midfielder’s right-footed effort sailed wide to the left of the post.
Sigurdsson remained a key figure of each Iceland attack throughout the second period with manager Hamren utilising the £100,000-per-week playmaker in an advanced forward role, often winning free-kicks and playing dangerous passes.
His efforts led to a Man of the Match-worthy 8.9 rating from SofaScore, who acknowledged Sigurdsson as the only true star of the affair after boasting a 66.6% conversion rate from his three shots on target, along with two successful dribbles and two key passes.
The former Swansea City star further took 60 touches and completed 75% of his 32 passes, while delivering two accurate crosses, playing two accurate long balls and being fouled three times.
Even though Hamren utilised Sigurdsson as a forward option against Romania, the £16.2m-rated playmaker also won six of his 15 attempted duels along with recording two successful dribbles, interceptions and one tackle.
Ancelotti will now be facing a greater selection headache against Liverpool when Everton return to action following the international break, as Sigurdsson provided a strong case for himself in the Toffees’ most-recent fixture, too, whilst stepping in for the injured Andre Gomes.
Ancelotti has rarely favoured Sigurdsson in the Premier League this season with the 4-2 win over Brighton, in which the 31-year-old recorded an assist, coming as his first start following three late second-half substitute outings. He was only really named in the XI thanks to injuries suffered by Allan and Andre Gomes, however.