Ahead of their first ever foray into a World Cup tournament, the Icelandic men’s national team held an open training session last week, allowing a press gaggle that included local media, Time magazine and Argentina’s national broadcasting service a look at their fearsome battle preparations.
The players and coaching staff seemed relaxed, focussed and in good spirits as they worked on manoeuvres such as the Beserker Charge and the Shield Wall, before working on head-height kicks, presumably with the purpose of dismembering opponents with a single swift blow.
Gylfi Sigurðsson has returned from injury, and trained alongside his comrades—a welcome sight for anyone supporting Iceland. The team’s captain, Aron Gunnarsson, is recuperating from a knee operation in Qatar, and will rejoin the team at the end of the month.
Heimir Hallgrímsson, the team’s manager and head coach, is satisfied with the opposition research and preparation.
“We have scouts for every opponent who’ve been both analysing former games, and seeing their games live since the draw,“ he said. “They’ve put a lot of effort into analyzing the opponents as we normally do. We’ve had meetings about them, and we’ve done whatever we can. We look at how our strengths and weaknesses mix into what the opponent is doing. We look at where our strengths can benefit from their weaknesses, and the opposite—where we can minimise their strengths against us.”
Disciplined, focused and organised
Heimir looks forward to taking his team into the tournament, and hopes the training will pay off with impressive defensive performances. “Our strength is in collective effort,” he said. “It’s the strength of an organised squad. I hope we can show a really good defending style. We will hopefully bring to the world stage good strength in set pieces, and the identity that we’re proud of: a massively hard working team who are disciplined, focused and organised.”