An inhospitable climate and the smallest population of any World Cup nation have failed to dampen Iceland’s burning desire to make history at Russia 2018 in their own unique way.
What other national team coach, for instance, addresses the fans in a local bar before a home international, as Heimir Hallgrimsson did before Iceland’s recent game against Norway?
For good measure, Norway coach Lars Lagerback, who led Iceland on their glorious Euro 2016 odyssey, also turned up to assist in continuing the tradition.
Their Euro 2016 fairytale ended in a quarter-final defeat by hosts France after knocking out England.
In spite of sub-zero temperatures which make it virtually impossible to grow grass on pitches for much of the year, the game is thriving in the Nordic island nation.
With a modest population of about 340,000, the country’s male football team is ranked 22nd in the world, with the women three places better in 19th.
The previous smallest country to have reached the World Cup finals was Trinidad and Tobago in 2006, with 1.3 million people.
“Our training is the whole year outdoors, and we have very strong kids,” coach Freyr Sverrisson told Reuters.
He did so keeping a watchful eye on young players during a session at the Haukar Hafnarfjordur club south-west of Reykjavik.
The club also offers basketball, handball, skiing, karate and chess, but football is fast becoming the dominant sport.
There has been widespread investment in full-size indoor pitches and outdoor astroturf surfaces.
“Football is always very popular, but after the Euros it’s getting bigger,” says Sverrisson, who coached the country’s under-16 team from 2002 to 2016.
It was not just the footballers that put themselves on the map in France —- the “thunderclap” performed by Iceland’s fans provided some of the most memorable moments in the stands.
With their faces painted in the Icelandic flag’s red, white and blue tones they provide loud and colourful support to a team punching way above its weight on the international stage.
“It’s amazing, the support is so huge,” goalkeeper Runar Runarsson told Reuters.
“From my family, from my friends, from people I don’t even know, the support is huge. They’re so happy.”
Set to face Argentina, Nigeria and Croatia, Iceland have a tough task to make it out of Group D in their debut FIFA World Cup.
But, regardless of the results, the tiny nation and its colourful fans are guaranteed to make an impact in Russia.
11th August 2018
9th August 2018
9th August 2018
6th August 2018
Laide Raheem, Abeokuta A gubernatorial aspirant on the platform of the African Democratic Congress (ADC) in Ogun state, Gboyega Nasir Isiaka, has lamented the deplorable condition of township roads, particularly at the border towns and blamed the current administration for focussing only roads that “suit their ego and corruptly enrich their pockets.” He accused the…
— 11th August 2018
The Ekiti State Government has condemned the murder of Mr. Bunmi Ojo, a former Personal Assistant to ex-Deputy National Chairman of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Chief Segun Oni, charging police and other security agencies to fish out his killers and bring them to justice. In a statement issued on Saturday, by the Special Assistant…
— 11th August 2018
Wole Balogun, Ado-Ekiti The All Progressive Congress (APC) and ruling Peoples Democratic Party (PDP), in Ekiti State, on Saturday, traded blames over the tragic murder of Mr. Bunmi Ojo, a former Personal Assistant to a former Deputy National Chairman APC, and former governor of the state, Segun Oni. While the Ekiti State Government condemned the…
— 11th August 2018
Emmanuel Adeyemi, Lokoja A Lokoja High Court has granted an order of interlocutory injunction restraining Chief Solomon Dele Owoniyi from parading himself as the newly-appointed Obaro of Kabba or taking any steps and/or doing anything relating to the position of the Obaro of Kabba pending the hearing and determination of the motion of notice filed…
— 11th August 2018
Wole Balogun, Ado-Ekiti Ekiti State Governor-elect, Dr. Kayode Fayemi, has commiserated with the family of the member of the All Progressives Congress (APC), Bunmi Ojo, who was killed, on Friday night, by yet-to-be identified gunmen in Ado-Ekiti, the Ekiti State capital. The late Ojo, a former aide to former Governor Segun Oni, was also a…
Entertainment— 11th August 2018
Model cum actress, Damilola Aina, has got what it takes to be a super star. She is beautiful, fair complexioned, talented and quite comfortable financially, having graced the billboards of top telecommunication brands in Nigeria and beyond. Damilola Diamond, as close friends fondly call her, has hinted that she is single and okay with it…
South-West Report— 9th August 2018
Obatala, Sango, Osun, Esu and Oya among other deities were celebrated through a reenactment of the life and times of these deities. Wole Balogun, Ado-Ekiti Ido-Ile, a serene community in Efon Local Government Area of Ekiti State, recently came alive with traditional festivals in honour of some deities in Yoruba cosmology. It used to be…
Abuja Metro— 8th August 2018
One of them, Rose, said she does her “romantic business” with both married and single men. But she prefers married men because they pay well and respect them Charity Nwakaudu Commercial sex business has assumed a different level in Abuja, even though it has been an age long business that had provided fun for the…
Oriental News— 8th August 2018
GSAC has appealed to the Federal Government and Governor Rochas Okorocha to use their board of mercy and release Egbunuche Magnus Eze, Enugu Anywhere in the world, 100 years is usually marked with fanfare but not so for Nigeria’s oldest prisoner, Pa Celestine Egbunuche, who clocked 100 last Saturday; August 4, within the confines of…
Features— 11th August 2018
– Woman sleeps with son to have a child for her husband – I did it to save my 2nd marriage, she pleads Linus Oota, Lafia The story of a woman sleeping with her son from her first marriage in order to raise children for her husband from her second marriage sounds so strange. Unbelievable!…
Literary Review— 10th August 2018
– Youths: Future, Career and Success, RoyalPriest International Limited, pp. 86 By Simeon Mpamugoh Seminar speaker and songwriter, Evangelist Royal Priest Goziem, is out with a nonfiction, Youths: Future, Career and Success, a book reflecting on the significance of youths to the development of nations. The book, which combines reportage, memoirs and analyses to interrogate…
Lifeline— 10th August 2018
• At Ray Ekpu’s 70th birthday colloquium, experts analyse and dissect nation’s unending political crises Tope Adeboboye and Ismail Omipidan Since its independence in 1960, Nigeria has been bedevilled by a ceaseless run of seemingly intractable challenges. Over the years, sundry factors have been brandished by different experts as reasons for the country’s stunted socio-economic…
Education Review— 7th August 2018
Speaking at the event, YABATECH Rector, Mr. Femi Omokungbe stressed that the impact of climate change has created much damage globally Jet Stanley Madu Five new courses were recently introduced by Yaba College of Technology (YABATECH) to boost students’ skills acquisition. This was revealed at a ceremony in the college to mark this year’s United…
TSWeekend— 10th August 2018
Faze blew up the music industry with hit songs like Cold Sweat, Kolomental, Faze Alone, Originality, Kpo Kpo Di Kpo… to mention but a few. Ayo Alonge One of the members of the defunct Plantashun Boiz, Chibuzor Oji popularly known as Faze, is back on the beat. This is coming after taking a long break…
Opinion— 10th August 2018
George Okolo The elections since the return to civil rule in 1999 have produced four presidents, three from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) and one, the incumbent, President Muhammadu Buhari, from the All Progressives Congress (APC). These leaders represent the two dominant alternative policy options and ideologies that govern our polity. Yet, none of these…
Kate Halim If you are in a relationship and you want to make it work, it’s worth putting in some efforts and taking steps that you could take to make life smoother for your partner and, by extension, you. Happiness is not hard to accomplish when you are committed to making your relationship work. Making…
Problems in family businesses can extend outside of the family. One of the largest problems family-owned businesses face is non-related employee retention. Valentino Buoro I recently chanced on an interesting article on mediating family businesses published on mediate.com. Though not a product of a Nigerian writer, the views expressed by the author, Stephen McDonough, are…
• His storm troopers scared the ‘hail’ out of my son Chika Abanobi “Daddy, daddy, come and see Jihadi John. He is in our room. He is in our parlour,” Junior said as he ran into our bedroom. Panting. Jihadi John inside our room? Inside our parlour? How come? Jihadi John? The one that we…
Even if you vow not to marry a single mother as a man, this doesn’t stop these women from dating and marrying better men who know their worth. Kate Halim I laugh when some people talk down on single mothers. Yet these same slimy individuals sneak into these women’s phones and inboxes to demand free…
Mike Awoyinfa Fellow Nigerians, permit me to celebrate today one of our own: the man recently “ordained” bishop and of whom Pastor Tunde Bakare of the Latter Rain Assembly declares: “He is one of the few men I read every weekend when he writes at the back of Thisday. I read him because he is…
Like Achilles’ heel, Senate President Saraki may have become the weak point of a strong coalition of political forces that brought Buhari to power in 2015 Majeed Dahiru Achilles, a mythical Greek figure and a man of many battles most famous for his heroic exploits in the Trojan wars, as written in Homer’s Iliad, was…
If you decide to do it alone, it may work for a while, but nature will take its toll at some point. We all need the contributions of others to succeed Ladi Ayodeji The famous English poet John Donne wrote: “No man is an island, entirely of itself; every man is a piece of the…
Invasion of National Assembly on the orders of the director-general of the SSS was just a by-product of the debauchery currently ravaging Nigerian politics. Duro Onabule Nigeria politics is getting dirtier by the day, and instead of getting worried or even disgusted, everybody seems to be glorifying a deplorable situation. Politicians, the media, lawyers and,…
da Onuoha Ukeh For the first time in more than three years in the saddle, the Federal Government on Tuesday bared its fangs, in a move to instill discipline in the system. It wielded the big stick against the director-general of the Department of State Services (DSS), Lawal Daura, who was summarily dismissed for an…
A closer appraisal of the DSS operations with Boko Haram has been very deplorable and speaks volume of those at the helm of affairs of the organization. Ben Okezie In the early part of 2001, which was the formative year of the sect popularly known as Boko Haram, it was no secret that all the…