Northern Lights: The Sudden Ascent Of The Iceland National Football Team

Those amongst us who had sleptwalked their way through the UEFA qualifiers for the 2014 World Cup finals in Brazil might have been forgiven for not quite picking up on the full implications of such a story, but perhaps the big surprise of the group stages anywhere in the world came right here in Europe, where Iceland has qualified for the play-offs for a place at next summer’s jamboree. Last Tuesday evening the streets of Rekjavik fell silent as the Iceland national team took on a challenge that it has never faced before. A win in Oslo against Norway would have been enough to guarantee the team a place in the play-offs regardless of anything that happened elsewhere, but a draw would also have been enough should Slovenia not better their result in their match against Switzerland. As things turned out, Iceland were a little dependent on the munificence of others to reach their place in the play-offs. They drew one-all in Oslo, but the Swiss – who had already comfortably qualified for the finals and will be one of the top seeded nations when the draw for them is made – did them a favour by beating Slovenia by a single goal in Berne, meaning that Iceland would go on to take part in the play-offs for a place in Brazil. And this afternoon the Icelandic Football Association,...

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