And so, it begins. After qualification doubts, then the arguments over who should and shouldn’t have made the squad, pundits are going into overdrive. Iceland supporters are queueing out the door of Solla the Strange’s seance ‘n’ tarot pop-up stall. Entrails are being read in kitchens around the country. Most of all, people are daring to dream this could finally be Iceland’s year.
Iceland’s qualification also means that, for the first time ever, the country’s media can get involved in all the ridiculous pre-World Cup prognostications—and we at Grapevine don’t intend to pass up the opportunity. In that spirit, and with the help of our trusty Magic 8 Ball, we’ve drawn up just how Berserkirnir okkar’s plan for world domination could work out this summer.*
One thing for sure is that Team Iceland is ready to hack their way to glory in Russia, pillaging their rivals’ hopes and dreams in the process.
(*The opposition results were predicted via the (famously unreliable) FIFA World Rankings (apart from in games involving Iceland). For example, Belgium (3rd) would top Group G, and England (13th) would finish second. Portugal (4th) would beat Argentina (5th) in the knockouts. However, Iceland (22nd) would beat Spain (8th)—because they’re Iceland.)
Round of 16
What will happen: Top Of The D
Obviously, after three terrifying, wanton bloodbaths, the boys top Group D, meeting Group C runner-up Peru (11th) in the Round of 16. The South Americans are hastily slain on Sunday July 1st at the Nizhny Novgorod, and captain Paolo Guerrero flees the scene, consoling himself with an extra-special cup of tea.
What could happen: Tongue pulling
Unbelievably, Iceland finishes second in Group D after a catastrophic VAR referral shows Emil “The Emilinator” Hallfreðsson pulling Mateo Kovačić’s tongue out. FIFA decides to dock points and, as a result, Group C winner France (7th) are the opponents in Kazan on Saturday, June 30th. Les Bleus don’t fancy their chances though, after Iceland’s 2-1 victory (of the second half) at Euro 2016.
What could also happen: Not great Danes
It isn’t beyond the realm of possibility that Iceland could meet old colonial oppressors, Denmark (12th) and avenge 538 years of hurt in Russia. Should it happen, expect it to be the first World Cup match-up with numerous on-pitch fatalities.
What will happen: 50 face moths
Iceland stampede through to the quarter-finals, meeting Portugal (4th) in Sochi on Saturday, July 7th. The headlines in Portugal read “Cristiano’s Tears” as Ronaldo falls to the sword both physically and metaphorically. He retires from the game after being humiliated when 50 vengeful, swarming face moths get stuck in his over-gelled coif.
What could happen: Costa smited
After blood-eagling France, strákanir okkar meet Spain (8th) in Nizhny Novgorod on Friday, July 6th. Kári “The Disciple of Doom” Árnason teaches Diego Costa what a dirty trick really is and the Brazilian-born forward retreats to the pit of skulduggery from whence he came. Heimir sends on three polar bears at the 70th minute. Much screaming. Gory as hell.
What will happen: Özil Gollum moment
Tearful German fans flee the jubilant viking horde as Iceland cast the holders (1st) into a fiery volcanic sinkhole that appears on the pitch at the Luzhniki Stadium on Wednesda, July 11th. As Özil falls screaming into the fiery maw, it looks like a new name is destined to be scratched onto the cup.
What could happen: Wolves on the pitch
Einherjarnir okkar take on Neymar’s Brazil (2nd) in St. Petersburg on Tuesday, July 10th. Birkir Már “The Steriliser” Sævarsson “accidentally” grinds his flaming boot of war onto the prancing forward’s metatarsal; both Neymar and his Seleção crumble. The Headless Norsemen storm on to an 8-1 massacre. Heads on spikes. Wolves on the pitch. Abject chaos.
What will happen: Mountain-high tsunami
Brazil or Germany; it matters not—in a state of berserk bloodlust, the horde brutally smash the opposition with the force of a mountain-high tsunami. Aron “The Annihilator” Gunnarsson, his eyes alight with divine lightning, hoists that golden trophy above his skinhead, as Ragnar “Shaggy Breeches” draws up plans for a global Norse theocracy while riding over the seething, pitch-invading Viking horde on the back of a sea eagle. An empire that will last a thousand years is born.
What could happen: