Saturday, October 24, 2020

Iceland World Cup Preview | Group D

Iceland will be looking to build on their relatively successful Euro 2016 campaign, in which they easily disposed of England in a delightful upset win. Their ‘Viking Clap’ became a worldwide sensation as the Scandinavians captured the heart of football fans the world over. Iceland successfully qualified for their first ever World Cup by placing first in their qualification group.

Iceland Squad Outlook

Hannes Thor Halldorsson, Runar Alex Runarsson, Frederik Schram; Kari Arnason, Ari Freyr Skulason, Birkir Mar Saevarsson, Sverrir Ingi Ingason, Hordur Magnusson, Holmar Orn Eyjolfsson, Ragnar Sigurdsson; Johann Berg Gudmundsson, Birkir Bjarnason, Arnor Ingvi Traustason, Emil Hallfredsson, Gylfi Sigurdsson, Olafur Ingi Skulason, Rurik Gislason, Samuel Fridjonsson, Aron Gunnarsson; Alfred Finnbogason, Bjorn Bergmann Sigurdarson, Jon Dadi Bodvarsson, Albert Gudmundsson

Squad Talk:

The clear front-runner of this squad is undoubtedly Everton midfielder Gylfi Sigurdsson. Sigurdsson signed for the Merseyside club for a sum of around forty million pounds in 2017. He made a grand entrance for the side after scoring from fifty yards in his first full game. The attacking midfielder will contribute heavily to the creative aspect of this Icelandic squad.

At only twenty years old, Albert Gudmundsson makes an intriguing prospect for the Scandinavians. The young starlet has scored twenty-eight goals for Dutch side PSV since joining in 2015. Gudmundsson proved his value to the Iceland team after a stellar performance against Indondesia in qualifying, in which he scored three goals.

The fall of the Iceland squad, however, comes with the overall lack of quality in many position groups. The side showed promise after topping their qualification group, yet when faced against more challenging opposition than nations such as Kosovo and Finland, Iceland may struggle. The impact of players such as Sigurdsson and Gudmundsson may also be limited for this reason.

King of the Country

Eidor Gudjohnsen is the nation’s top scorer of all time, and takes the spot as their most celebrated player. Gudjohnsen boasts an impressive number of accolades, including the Premier League title with Chelsea. His most impressive feat, however, is his contribution to the Barcelona team which won the treble in 2009, winning La Liga, the Copa del Rey and the Champions League. Gudjohnsen’s career spanned more than two decades, in which he became one of the country’s most loved players.

Who’s the Gaffa

Heimir Hallgrimsson is the man in charge of Iceland for their inaugural World Cup campaign. In what I imagine to be a heart-wrenching decision, the former player gave up his job as the village dentist and became assistant manager at Iceland in 2013. Since then, he has helped Iceland to their first two major tournaments- being promoted to full managerial duties after Euro 2016.

Editors Opinion

Likely finish in the group: Iceland unfortunately do not impress in their first World Cup campaign, finishing third in Group D and just missing out on progression. Despite this, the fans impress with their commitment, everyone does the Viking Clap, and everyone goes home happy.

Lazy Fan Fact: 

A fixture between Iceland and Denmark in 1967 ended in a 14-2 victory for the Danes. This remains Iceland’s heaviest defeat in the history of the nation.

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