Your Says of the Day: ‘The ultimate underdog, Iceland!’

Date published: Friday 24th June 2016 12:44

Iceland: Finished second in group F.

Readers discuss British clubs’ difficulties to sign players out of the EU, Maradona’s hand of God 30 years on and the ultimate underdog story of Iceland.

Give your thoughts on all the latest topics right here.

Brexit ramifications?

Is it just me or would a leave vote make it much more difficult for British clubs to sign talented young European players? Getting a visa will do be difficult if the player is uncapped. Could be a massive disadvantage compared with European clubs.


I think it’s just you!

The UK would be free to decide it’s own employment laws if it chose to leave the EU and they wouldn’t need to make things harder if they chose not too!


The only difference I can see it the government could treat European footballers exactly the same it does footballers from around the world.

And as Alfie says we could decide what work visa policy we wanted. We could do a deal with Brazil and have the cream of their youth.

And should we decide to promote the development of British players it would be easy to have limits on non British players.



30 Years on from the Hand of God

hand of god

Still a great deal of bad feeling over that amazingly inept decision. Perhaps football should reflect on how poorly it manages to arrange for officials to reach the correct decisions in competitions, unless of course there is sometimes another motive.

To quote England’s goalkeeper at the time, Peter Shilton: ‘The whole world talks about the ‘Hand of God’, but we had the impression that no matter how well we played, things were arranged in advance.’

Dark hints indeed, but, given the web of corruption that has been revealed at the top of football in recent years, would anyone be surprised if there was a bit of match fixing as well?

The Argentina war over the Falklands was fresh in everyone’s mind then, so there were major political overtones, I wouldn’t be surprised if something underhand went on.
Perhaps it would have been a good idea in such a game to have an experienced official as well, not a Tunisian with no English, officiating in his first World cup game.
Still, England had a big hooligan problem then and, with the political overtones, it would come as no surprise if it was thought prudent to prevent England from winning a major competition in that setting.

Given the other corruption we’ve discovered lately it wouldn’t come as any surprise at all.


Peter Shilton couldn’t even get above a 2 foot dwarf and punch it clear, 4 years later in the world cup semi final he got lobbed while stood on his line from a deflected free kick.


Is Ibrahimovic better as a short-term option?

Zlatan Ibrahimovic, PSG

We should consider signing Ibrahimovic as a short-term option. Although I don’t fancy our chances of getting him but at least we should give it a try.



What a story! What an unbelievable achievement by the ultimate underdog, Iceland! The pride felt here on our tiny island up in the north is immense and the sheer euphoria practically visible in the air. Not many gave us a prayer but the players mentality is stronger and their hearts bigger than most. Having come so close to qualifying for the World Cup two years ago, there was no way they were going to let another opportunity slip away and most people were actually pretty optimistic we could navigate through qualification, despite being paired with Turkey, The Netherlands and the Czech Republic. Where are those nations now? At home, while Iceland is getting ready to take on England in a seemingly endless list of games that are the biggest in our footballing history.

Of course, our history has relatively few high points. Apart from the occasional win/draw against some of the big boys there was little to write home about. Back in the days, the national team mostly consisted of amateur players who only played proper football 3-4 months a year. The only times our small stadium was at full capacity was when the opposition had a recognized star in their ranks and people flocked to see them in real life. Everyone cheered when/if something went our way, even if it was just the grand achievement of forcing a corner and dodgy refs and dirty opposition were booed vehemently. Other than that, it was mostly a “sing when your winning” atmosphere and that only happened once in a blue moon.

At the turn of the century, something changed. Indoor pitches were built and the FA invested heavily in educating more and more coaches. More and more players moved abroad, as well, to become full professionals on today, we’re reaping the benefits. The core of our current squad have grown up together and reached the U21 Euro finals five years ago before heading to Euro 16 under the guidance of Swedish master tactician Lars Lagerbäck. Some have said, Iceland only made it because of the inflation of the tournament when in reality, we would have reached France without it due to our brilliant qualifying campaign.

Some thought that would be it. A reasonable claim, given that very few of the players, have played at such high level. In fact, most of them ply their trade in Scandinavia and even our captain was in and out of his team in the Championship! But these lads cannot be judged on what they’ve done at club level as they’re able to rise to almost every occasion and improve immensely as soon as they pull on the blue shirt of Iceland. Big hearts and utter disregard of logic has fuelled many of our nations athletes and now it’s the footballers who are taking centre stage. There is of course the chance of them eventually hitting a wall, especially as our starting XI has been unchanged throughout the tournament. Having said that, I’ve yet to see a wall these lads cannot run through and they will be greeted as heroes on their return to Iceland – no matter the result on Monday.


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