Reykjavik Excursions Blog

Iceland Will Compete in the 2018 World Cup!

19/10/2017 Blog

On 9 October, the Icelandic Men‘s National Football team did something that has never happened in Icelandic football history before; they qualified for the FIFA World Cup in Russia 2018 when they won Kosovo 2 – 0.

The team famously competed for the first time last year in the UEFA European Championship and took the competition by storm. Their first game was with the Europe's champions Portugal and the game ended 1 – 1. Soon the team advanced to the knock-out phase and famously won England 2 – 1. Iceland was at the time the smallest nation to ever have qualified for a major tournament, and all eyes were on the team. Videos of the Icelandic football commentator's descriptive and extremely enthusiastic commentating went viral, and other commentators and spectators were stunned by hearing the now famous and thunderous Viking clap. 

Iceland is not only the smallest nation to qualify for a major tournament but also the smallest nation to ever qualify for the World Cup, by far. With a population of only 335.000 people, they are 1 million fewer than the last record holder, Trinidad & Tobago. Many have wondered what it is that makes this national team so good. The reason is, of course, good coaching but also the fact that about half of the current national team has been playing together for over a decade.

Many of them were in the Icelandic Men's National Football team for under 21 and secured their spot for the U21 European Cup in 2011. Most of the team members also play for teams from all over the world.

Despite the current success, the football team hasn't always been this good, and they've, for example, never managed to beat Denmark in a match. The most famous match against Denmark was in 1967 when they lost 14 – 2 in a friendly game in Parken in Copenhagen. Icelanders sometimes joke that hell will freeze over when Iceland wins Denmark in Parken. 

However, past failures are to learn by, and the team has certainly done so. We wish them all the best in the upcoming tournament, and we know they will have more support than just from Icelanders.Húh!


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