Well, well well. Following today’s press conference it seems almost certain that Aron Gunnarsson will be leading our boys out at the Spartak Stadium against Lionel Messi’s Argentina. Coach Heimir more or less said so in his opening monologue, asserting that “all players are fit” and “everyone is willing to play” before strongly inferring that Iceland’s leader and lifeblood would start.
As questions over Aron’s fitness were inevitably raised, Heimir praised his captain’s qualities as a “director,” adding “this is what we need in a big game against a team like Argentina.” Aron himself only reaffirmed his manager’s confidence, stating “I’m feeling very good. I’ve been practicing a lot and well and I’m getting my previous strength back again […] I’m ready to take the team out tomorrow; that is if Heimir selects me.”
Containing the little magician
Elsewhere, Heimir batted away a couple of questions regarding Iceland’s “miraculous” rise to the higher echelons of world football, quipping “if someone is surprised they don’t know the Icelandic national team very well.” On Lionel Messi, the coach said he doesn’t have a magic formula to contain him, but that cooperation will be essential in any plan to thwart the little magician. “He always manages to score. We’ll work together and try to stop him as a team. I have also said it would be unfair to give someone the role of marking Messi.”
Aron, meanwhile, was composed and statesmanlike as ever, and was keen to remind the international media that any pressure lays firmly at Argentina’s front door in tomorrow’s match. “It will be a really difficult game but there’s not a lot of pressure on us,” said Aron. “We have nothing to lose, we feel good and we’re positive for tomorrow.”