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Why I am backing Iceland
Who would have thought it, it seems like a story out of a fairy tale that Iceland would have achieved respectable results in this years Euro 2016 footballing contest. A nation with a population of the English city of Leicester 331,000 who would have thought they would have drawn with the likes of Portugal 1 - 1 with the famous Ronaldo on their squad and then gone on to beat Austria and then dump England out of the Euros with Roy Hodgson their manager resigning beating them 2 - 1.
No one not even the most canniest of football pundits could have predicted the rise of Iceland in the Euros. These 11 men have shown true grit and determination against nations with bigger populations and with so called professional footballers. There is something in the Icelandic demeanour whether it be their Viking blood or the fact they have had to cope with living in a tough freezing place like Iceland that makes them who they are. Their fans a 10th of the Icelandic population have travelled to see them and cheer them on.
Gylfi Sigurdsson perhaps is the most well known of all their players plying his trade for Swansea in the English Premiership. Other than that most of their players are amateurs and their equivalent of the Premiership features players that do something else for a living.
Their two coaches could not be from more different backgrounds: Lars Lagerback is Swedish and coached his nation when Sven another Swede was coaching England. The Icelandic part of the duo is a part time dentist when he is not football coaching his nation and will become sole coach when Lagerback leaves probably at the end of the Euro 2016 contest.
Now their in the quarter final and face the hosts of Euro 2016 France who always mostly perform well on their home soil. For example when winning the World Cup in 1998 with players Zidane and Henry. The French in Giroud, Grezemann and Pogba still have outstanding players and will be worthy opponents of any team they come up against. Their coach too Des Champs was part of the French winning World Cup squad of 1998 and will be keeping his eye on how the Icelandic players have either beaten or defeated other top European footballing nations and if he takes Iceland with a pinch of salt then he may like Hodgson come undone.
If Iceland go all the way and win the Euros and who says they cannot given the patriotism shown by both their players and their fans it will be like when Greece won the Euros. A nation like Iceland now with not many international top rated footballers but they came together as team, a unit if you will and won and perhaps Iceland can follow in their example.
It would be good for Iceland to win this competition because it would make a change from the France's and Germany's winning all the time. It would be a beacon to small nations every where that if Iceland can do it then any small nation can given the right environment.