Last night, things got a bit awkward as coach Heimir bumped into an ex with an axe to grind. Norway were led by former Iceland coach Lars Lagerbäck to a 2-3 defeat of Iceland in a pre-World Cup friendly at the Laugardalsvöllur national stadium.
There were a few positives for the home side; notably the goalscoring return of Gylfi Sigurðsson, Kári Árnason’s commanding first-half display and Rúrik Gíslason’s incisive runs in behind. There will also be plenty of food for thought for “The Darth Dentist” as berserkirnir okkar struggled to cope with Norway’s pace up top and faded out of the game in the last 20 minutes.
It’s rumoured that Iceland’s backroom witching staff advised the manager to sacrifice this game to Óðinn to reap greater rewards at the tournament proper. And although it was a hard-fought “unfriendly,” there’s really no comparison to smiting for the cup in the fog of war.
How it happened:
15’ – The home team fell behind after Norway’s Bjørn Maars Johnsen spanked one past Frederik Schram against the run of play. Iceland 0-1 Norway
30’ – Balance was restored when Rúrik Gíslason’s surging run into the box was stopped illegally and Alfreð Finnbogason dispatched the penalty. Iceland 1-1 Norway
70’ – Glorious Gylfi Sigurðsson put our boys in front for the first time in the game, rewarding Birkir Bjarnason’s persistence with a delicious dink over Rune Jarstein. Iceland 2-1 Norway
80’ – A shaky-looking Schram gifted Bournemouth’s Josh King with an equaliser. He won’t be trying another Cruyff turn any time soon. Iceland 2-2 Norway
85’ – Crystal Palace’s humongous forward Alexander Sørloth finished things off with a drilled finish into the bottom corner. Iceland 2-3 Norway
Frederik “Notsson” Schram – 9.4
There wasn’t much he could do about Johnsen’s stunning opener but channeled his inner Loris Karius for King’s equaliser and never looked convincing.
Hörður Björgvin “The Beautiful Death” Magnússon – 9.5
Didn’t venture much beyond the half-way line and was generally quiet. Missed a decent chance from an inswinging corner in the second period.
Ragnar “Shaggy Breeches” Sigurðsson – 9.5
Should have been tighter to Johnsen before he unleashed the kraken. Withdrawn at half-time.
Kári “The Disciple of Doom” Árnason – 9.7
Got revenge on Johnsen with an “accidental” elbow in the first half and was composed playing out from the back. Scarier than a Friday night out in Aberdeen.
Birkir Már “The Steriliser” Sævarsson – 9.5
Struggled with the pace on the Norwegian flank as the game wore on. Occasionally stretched things and provided an out ball for the central midfielders.
Rúrik “The Siren” Gíslason – 9.8 (MAN OF THE MATCH)
Earned the penalty for Alfreð after a storming run. Dusted himself off manfully after a couple of strong challenges and drifted into central areas nicely.
Emil “The Emilinator” Hallfreðsson – 9.5
Fairly composed in the middle of the park but also struggled with Norway’s second-half intensity.
Birkir “Horror Hooves” Bjarnason – 9.7
Produced a higher level of performance than most. Classily broke play up and kept things ticking in the middle. His hopeful punt led to Gylfi’s goal.
Jóhann Berg “The Berginator” Guðmundsson – 9.6
Looked lively in spells and got things moving from deep. Set Rúrik flying before he earned the penalty.
Jón Daði “The Scythe of Selfoss” Böðvarsson – 9.5
Looked useful in behind and fairly sharp, but no telling contribution to speak of.
Alfreð “Arctic Fox In The Box” Finnbogason – 9.6
A few decent combinations with Jón Daði early on. Converted his spot-kick with aplomb.
Sverrir Ingi Ingason – 9.5
Enjoyed a similar evening to Ragnar after he replaced him. Should’ve been tighter Sørloth for Norway’s third.
Björn “The Baby-Faced Bastard” Sigurðarson – 9.5
Struggled to make an impact while playing as a 9.
Ari Freyr “The Unforgiven” Skúlason – 9.6
Looked lively and enjoyed the freedom of playing in a more advanced position.
Gylfi “The Viking Virtuoso” Sigurðsson – 9.8
Looked like a talisman from the moment he entered the pitch. Marked his return with a lovely, cultured finish and hit the post in the latter stages. Great to see him fit.
Samúel “The Hammer” Friðjónsson – N/A
Albert “The Prince of Darkness” Guðmundsson – N/A
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