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Iceland beats England. Fairytale or regularity?

Iceland goes through the quarters

England leaves not only the European Union, but European Championship too. People started to joke this way after Iceland earned the unbelievable victory and passed through the quarter finals.

The vikings from an island, where only 323000 people live, were brave enough not to tremble before an opponent, which was believed to be one of the tournament favorites. Temperamental men from the small island proved, that there aren’t unbeatable teams in the world.

England started the match in best possible pay, as Wayne Rooney easily converted the penalty that Raheem Sterling earned. But minutes later Ragnar Sigurdsson leveled the score after a very symbolic episode. As we have seen many times during this Euro, captain Aron Gunnarsson produced a long throw-in, and the ball went right to the Iceland central defender Ragnar, who smashed the ball into the net. And some minutes later Kolbeinn Sigthorsson put England into a very tough situation, as his shot went past Joe Hart, despite the player, to be honest, didn’t strike in the best way.

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After receiving an advantage, Iceland had to do nothing but to defend, which is what they do the best. Moreover, Lars Lagerbäck’s men kept on attacking time to time, while England’s “powerful” attack seemed impotent․ Kane, Rooney, Sterling, Vardy, Sturridge… World class players, that could do nothing against men from an island, where people even don’t have surnames as they don’t need them because of the small number of the population.

We cannot draw parallels with Leicester City, which became England Premier league champions last season. No one could believe at first, that Foxes will manage to keep the winning streak until the end, nobody expected to see a champion other than Chelsea, Man City, Man Utd or Arsenal. However, they proved, that men play football and not their names. Iceland reproved this statement, as Vikings, as they’re usually called, fought for every inch and for every ball. Once again they showed how unpredictable football is. Few people believed that Iceland will not only play in Euros, but will also qualify for the play-offs and beat England there.

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Nevertheless, we can ask a question to ourselves: is it a fairytale or a regularity. Yes, Iceland are a team full of surprises. But they play in Euros not by accident. Do you know where is The Netherlands national team. Yes, they are at home and are watching the matches on TV. Do you know why? Yes, Iceland forced them miss the tournament. They beat the Oranges twice in the qualifying stage, and at the end the Dutch team missed exactly 6 points to overcome Turkey in the standings. Iceland managed to earn 20 points and were only behind Czech Republic by two points.

Then, in France, Iceland were in the same group with Portugal, Hungary and Austria. They were underdogs again, but managed to qualify for the play offs from the second place, leaving Portugal behind. Everyone was criticizing Portugal for not defeating Iceland, despite having Ronaldo and other stars in the team. Now we see, that it wasn’t Portugal that played badly, but Iceland, which play perfectly well.

Now they have to play France in the quarters. Maybe, this will become their last match in the tournament, maybe – no. It’s already becoming irresponsible to make predictions on their matches, as they keep on surprising all of us again and again. But even if they lose tournament hosts, they are already heroes in Iceland, in Europe and in the world.

Well done, boys, well done Vikings !!!

Gevorg Loretsyan


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