There has been an a emotion of fear creeping into the people in Iceland with the captain of the team Aron Einar Gunnarsson (Cardiff, Wales) and star player Gylfi Sigurðsson (Everton, England) getting injured while playing with their club, leaving their participation in the World Cup a doubt. But everyone in Iceland is excited to see our team in Russia and aiming to create more great memories.
There will be a great atmosphere and loads of places to watch the games this summer here in Iceland, as there will not be as many Icelandic people in Russia as in France (for the Euro 2016), there will be even more that will want to go out and experience the games with others.
These are the games that Iceland have in the group stages and in standard Icelandic time.
There have been announcements that the games for Iceland in the group stage will be showed in a forty meter giant screen in a public park called Hljómskálagarður this summer. The city is trying to create better facilities for fans, providing enough space for everyone. There will be outdoor play toys for children and food trucks that are open when the games are screened.
Hljómskálagarður will be the place to be when Iceland are playing, I recommend going there well before the game starts as there will be a lot of people. Prepare like you are going for a picnic and if you are coming straight from the airport I recommend buying your alcohol in the Duty Free as it's a lot cheaper than in the shops that sell alcohol here, Vínbúðin. Dress accordingly and be prepared for any kind of weather!
If you are wondering where the best place is to get the Icelandic jersey, Jói Útherji is one of the most popular places to get the team shirt. If you don’t fancy buying it I recommend wearing something blue when going to watch the games!
Hopefully there will be as many or more people when Iceland beat England
For the rest of the tournament there will also be a big screen in Ingólfstorg Square where all the games of the tournament will be shown.
But If there will be raining or you are in the mood for something else here are few places that will be showing the games and are also a lot of fun.
This is the place where Tólfan, the official supporters group for the national team meet before the home matches. There has been a tradition since Lars Lagerback took over the national team, before each match Heimir (Now the head coach) has a closed off meeting for supporters. There he talks about the starting eleven for Iceland before anybody else knows it and he also talks a little bit about the other team. Which has created a special connection between the fans and the coaches. This bar is also very close to Laugardalsvöllur the team stadium where all the supporters walk to together from Ölver.
Here you can mix a good time with good food and drinks. This bar is located downtown, not far from Ingólfstorg or Hljómskálagarðurinn. If the weather is horrible, American Bar is a good choice to watch the game. Packed with TVs you can get comfortable with friends and watch the games. There's Happy hour between 16:00–19:00.
This is the only rooftop bar in Reykjavík and it’s great place to spend a sunny afternoon, relaxing with a drink.
It has been known for great atmosphere and used to be the place hosted for the commentary from Iceland during the European Championships in 2016. There's Happy hour between 16:00–20:00.
Then there are a few other bars around in downtown Reykjavík such as English pub, Drunken Rabbit, Dubliner and Jói fel sportbar to name a few. But don't worry I think the games will be on every TV screen in the country. 99,8% of the people watching TV in the country when the game vs Austria in the European Championship was on were watching that game, who know what the other 0,2% were watching!
If you feel like taking part in the singing when you watch the games with us during this summer, here is a list of songs we have of the players. It might be hard to read as it is mostly in Icelandic but nobody will care if you don’t know it and are singing along!
The team now consists of players that have been playing together for many years with the national team all from the Under 21 team and even younger. This has resulted in the strong chemistry and team morale that has characterized the national team. According to some,hat togetherness and work ethic is what got the smallest nation ever to compete at the World Cup to Russia this year.
Aron Einar Gunnarsson was born 22 April in 1989 and plays football with Cardiff that just got promoted to the Premier League in England. His first game with Iceland in senior football was in 2008 and has since then played in over 70 games and was made captain in 2012. He was born in Akureyri where he played with local side Þór before going into professional football in Netherlands.
Gunnarsson known for his never-say-die attitude, leadership skills and hard-working nature. Gunnarsson shows how he gives it his all by playing many games slightly injured where he has been doubtful to play and more often than not he has been the best player on the pitch. He has also been key in some of the set pieces for Iceland as his throw ins are very long and precise.
He got injured during a game with Cardiff and had to undergo a surgery and is in race against time to be fit to play. Everyone will be hoping that he is fit and ready to meet Argentina in Moscow, 16 of June as he is a key player for the national team.
Gylfi Þór Sigurðsson is probably the biggest name in the national team right now; he plays as an attacking midfielder for Everton in the Premier League. Born on 8 September 1989 he played for Breiðarblik in Kópavogur and played with the youth National team before moving to England to play for Reading. He made his name for Reading before moving to Hoffenheim, Swansea and then play for Tottenham in 2012.
He has played in 55 games from 2010 for the National Team and scored 18 goals. He is mostly known for his amazing set pieces and skill on the ball but the hard work he also puts out is often overlooked. In the 2016–2017 premier league season, he was one the players that ran the most during the season which fits well into the tactics the national team plays where everyone needs to work to achieve results.
He scored this goal during his first season with Everton this winter:
His free kicks are also one to watch out!
Gylfi also got injured during a game with Everton and had to have a surgery on his knee in March. He has been spotted recently kicking a football and training which gives us hope that he will be ready for the first game.
Hannes Þór Halldórsson, the team’s goalkeeper, who is also a really important player for Iceland plays with Randers in Denmark and has played over 45 games for Iceland. Then there are a lot more players worth mentioning, Alfreð Finnbogason has been playing in the Bundesliga with Augsburg scoring 22 goals in 48 games. Albert Guðmundsson playing with PSV in the Netherlands, named after his grandfather Albert Guðmundsson who played with AC Milan, Arsenal. Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson who just had a great season with Burnley in the English Premier League.
Jón Daði Böðvarsson who plays with Reading in England and was their highest goal scorer in the past season. To put in the perspective of how small the community here is in Iceland, everyone in Iceland knows at least one player in the national team I for example grew up playing with Jón Daði in Selfoss and I am looking forward to watching him in the big stage this summer.
But the best thing about this national team is not the individual brilliance that shapes some of the other teams but the how the team plays and how everyone is willing to sacrifice themselves for each other.
If you are travelling to Iceland during the World Cup this will be a unique opportunity to rejoice with an entire country over football games. Hopefully we will see you at the games celebrating with us as this is an experience no one should miss out on, Áfram Ísland!