29 June 2016
With many still surprised at Iceland’s impressive display on the field of play with corresponding results at the Euro 2016 championship, it became imperative to look at what makes the men from the small island nation of 330,000 people thick.
It is important to note that Iceland came into the championship as the least team being their first ever appearance in a major tournament.
Now in the quarter finals of the championship and billed to face France, the host on Sunday, Iceland have yet to lose a match despite having faced European giants like Portugal and England already, at the group stage and round of 16 respectively.
What makes the Iceland team thick cannot be far from their supporters. Named Tolfan, ‘The Twelve’, the supporters consider themselves the ‘twelfth man on the pitch’.
No matter the result at any point in a game, the Icelandic supporters are always cheering their team on.
When Iceland went a goal down in the 2nd minute against England in their round of 16 match, the supporters cheered their loudest and kept at it throughout the game. This kept the men on the pitch going when England was pilling the pressure and their body running out of gas.
Founded in 2007 by a small group of diehards who felt the Icelandic national team needed to be cheered on by spectators, this group of supporters have added colour to the championship and are at the same time making their nation proud.
Though France may have the advantage of a twelfth man too when they face off with Iceland on Sunday, because they are the host, they will sure have their work cut out as they will face a team with a diehard twelfth man.
We do not know who will proceed to the semi-finals at this point, what we do know is that the team with the twelfth men that won’t stop cheering even in the eye of defeat will prove a handful.
Iceland will most definitely play their compact, always full of running style of play to counter France’s short precise passing style with the hope that it is enough to earn them their first ever semi finals spot.