This year the tiny nation of Iceland set the soccer world on fire!
For a footballing nation of just 333,000, Iceland well and truly announced themselves on the world footballing stage. Even though they lost out to France in the quarter finals, their meteoric rise to fame has boosted the entire Icelandic community.
Here are 10 things to help you get to know them a little better:
- Like father, like son — Back in 1996, Iceland played a friendly against Estonia in which Eiður Smári Guðjohnsen came on as a substitute for Arnór, his father. The first time a father and son had ever played in an international match together.
- On the rise — In April 2012 Iceland were ranked 131st in the world, they now sit 34th.
- Biggest loss/win — They lost to Denmark 14-2 in 1967 but did beat the Faroe Islands 9-0 in 1985.
- The dynamic duo — Iceland have two managers: Lars Lagerbäck and Heimir Hallgrímsson
- The experienced manager — Lars Lagerbäck has previously managed Sweden and Nigeria, and was solely in charge of Iceland for two years before being joined by Hallgrímsson in 2013.
- The dentist/manager — Hallgrímsson is qualified dentist who still practices part-time but will give it up once he becomes Iceland’s sole manager after the Euros.
- Take your pick — Iceland only have 21,508 registered football players.
- Football houses — The country has 11 indoor ‘football houses’; full sized soccer fields built with a dome protecting them from the elements.
- Heated pitches — Because of the cold, they also have 22 full-size undersoil-heated artificial pitches across the country.
- Size doesn’t matter right? — Iceland’s national stadium seats just 9,800 with a total capacity of 15,000.
This tiny nation love their soccer and we are so proud to have witnessed their comprehensive campaign for success this year!