Culture
Football
#IcelandSmites: Gylfi’s Golden 50, Finnbó On Fire, France Frenzy, Nations Knockout

#IcelandSmites: Gylfi’s Golden 50, Finnbó On Fire, France Frenzy, Nations Knockout

Greig Robertson
Photos by
Lóa Hlín Hjálmtýsdóttir

Published October 18, 2018

The Icelandic team has recently been going through a bit of an “Empire Strikes Back” period, with countless injuries and the loss of a wise elder statesman leading to some dodgy results. October, however, felt ripe for the comeback. Will our heroes prevail? Will someone invent a robot knee for injured captain Aron? Is the force strong with Gylfi? Here’s the latest news from the sparkling heart of the Iceland’s galaxy of smite.

Drunk ref ruins France romp
Iceland smited World Champions France last week in a thrilling 2-2 draw at the Stade de Roudourou. We were only denied a famous rout by the visibly drunk referee, who caved to the teary-eyed home crowd by awarding France a dubious penalty on the 90th minute. In a highly competitive replay of the Euro 2016 quarter final, the Iceland team was almost at full strength, with in-form Gylfi Sigurðsson zinging in passes to hotshot striker Alfreð Finnbogason. But it was Birkir “Horror Hooves” Bjarnason who opened the scoring, with powerful old war horse Kári Árnason lashing home a second. In the 90th minute, after an unlucky own goal made it 1-2 to Iceland, our defenders leapt like breaching whales as the France defenders flopped like flapping mackerel, and the ridiculous penalty call came. Kylian Mbappe poked it in to equalise. The whistle went, and France had clawed back a draw—it was official. Iceland are as good as the World Champions. JR

Failure to launch, despite Alfreð rocket
With such powerful omens emerging, it seemed that Iceland might be set to redress the balance against Switzerland—after a 6-0 away drubbing—in the home leg of the UEFA Nations League. The game was hard-fought, with Iceland defending well and probing the Swiss defence until half time. In the second half, amidst pelting rain so cold that it was like ice javelins piercing the turf, the Swiss fumbled in a couple of goals; Iceland pulled one back with a jaw-dropping Alfreð Finnbogason rocket. Birkir and Gylfi hit narrowly wide, to no avail. Iceland have been relegated to tier B of this hard-to-understand new tournament, with only a “for pride” fixture against Belgium in Brussels remaining on November 15th. JR

Gylfi’s golden 50
When Keats wrote the immortal line “a thing of beauty is a joy forever,” we’re pretty sure he was just back from a peyote vision quest into the future where he witnessed Gylfi Sigurðsson’s 50th Premier League goal. This piece of sublime perfection came against Leicester. The initial pass was awkward, but Gylfi deftly dinked it forward, slicing through the defence in one slick move and arrowing it into the top corner from 25 yards like a bolt of Þór’s lightning. Evertonians have been whining for a while about Gylfi’s 50 million pound fee, but this early goal-of-the-season-contender will hopefully silence them like so much sticky toffee. JR

Bruce cabbaged; Birkir gallops on
Birkir Bjarnason’s Aston Villa have been handed a new lease of life by the gods as the club’s new board heeded warnings of plague and pestilence by finally sacking dour, beleaguered manager Steve Bruce. The Villans had been on an indifferent run of form before their clash with Preston North End on October 2nd, when matters took a strange turn, and a cabbage was hurled at Bruce before kick-off. Villa went 2-0 up, had James Chester sent off, then went 3-2 down only to equalise in stoppage time, missing a last-gasp penalty to draw the game. Bruce complained post-match about being pilloried by the Villa faithful, and was immediately sent on cabbage-patch gardening leave and relieved of his duties. Birkir will now hopefully be allowed out of the stable to gallop forth freely under a new regime. GR

Your defence is terrified, Finnbó’s on fire
Alfreð Finnbogason transcended “Arctic Fox in the Box” status in the Nations League by spanking one in from 30-yards-out in our boys’ valiant 2-1 defeat against Switzerland. Alfreð had initially received the ball in an innocuous area and, in the absence of forward runners, decided to cut out the middleman and arrow one straight into the top corner. The Augsburg hitman has been in scorching form in the Bundesliga too, notching four goals in two appearances so far this season. In fact, of players who have scored twice or more in Germany, his minutes-to-goals ratio is only bettered by Dortmund’s super-sub freak Paco Alcácer. Such form has not gone unnoticed and rumour has it than France Football are seeking special dispensation for Alfreð to be included in this year’s Ballon d’Or. GR

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