#IcelandSmites: Horde In Hamrén-induced Hypersleep; Glory Abounds Anyway - The Reykjavik Grapevine

#IcelandSmites: Horde In Hamrén-induced Hypersleep; Glory Abounds Anyway

#IcelandSmites: Horde In Hamrén-induced Hypersleep; Glory Abounds Anyway

Greig Robertson
Photos by
Lóa Hlín Hjálmtýsdóttir

After the end of their injury-smited, ignominious UEFA Nation’s League campaign, the horde has dispersed back to their day jobs, once more smiting all and sundry in the top-tier contests across Europe. Here’s a rundown of the latest news from Camp Smite.

Hamrén hex hobbles horde
Our boys remain winless under the yoke of Swedish manager Erik Hamrém, having lost 2-0 to bottleless Belgium in their ignominious debut Nations League campaign. A Michy Batshuayi brace sank the Icelandic longboat, marking the end of a dismal run in which Iceland scored only once and conceded 13 in four games. A tough fixture list and a scroll’s-worth of injuries hasn’t helped Erik Hamrén imprint his style onto the group since the World Cup, and some positives can be taken from the 2-2 friendly draw against World Champions France in October; however, Hamrén’s mid-game yawn said it all about Iceland’s 2-2 draw against Qatar in November. It is impressive the whole squad of travelling Icelanders survived, given that the fixture was played out on the surface of the sun. GR

Iceland to win Euro 2020
The Euro 2020 qualification groups have been drawn, and Iceland will once against face their old rivals, World Cup holders France. France ended Iceland’s legendary Euro 2016 run in the quarter finals, but the last time the two sides met in a hotly contested “unfriendly”—after France had won the World Cup—the prancing French narrowly scraped a 2-2 draw after throwing on star forward Mbappe to try and save their crumbling honour. Iceland have a decent record with the other group contenders: Turkey, Albania, Moldova and Andorra. We beat Turkey emphatically last time they met in 2017, with a 3-0 scoreline; Albania were dispatched 2-1 at the two teams’ last meeting in 2013. Iceland have won all five of their meetings with Andorra; Moldova are ranked 170th in the FIFA rankings. But that’s enough facts. The good news is that Iceland are on track to win Euro 2020, and France are in serious trouble. JR

Skipper eats Wolves for breakfast
Iceland’s totemic midfield general and infamous bearded warlord conqueror, Aron “The Annihilator” Gunnarsson, shook the Premier League once more yesterday when he thundered in a spectacular, acrobatic goal in a 2-1 win for Cardiff City over fellow relegation contenders Wolves. Since his return from injury, Aron has provided some much-needed assurance to the stuttering side’s midfield. “I feel positive,” said Aron, speaking to the BBC. “The first few games we were learning—I feel like we are growing into the league. I feel like we’re progressing as a team.” He’s clearly inching closer to the devastating 20 megaton yield of his full footballing strength day by day. Be afraid, Premier League… Aron’s smiting impact is at Defcon 4. JR

Gylfi triumphs in Icelandic Civil War
The growing power of Aron wasn’t enough, however, to fend off so-hot-right-now Everton FC, who strengthened their case to be crowned “Best of the Rest” for the first time since Ronald Koeman’s 2017 managerial meltdown with a 1-0 victory over Cardiff City. The Toffees’ winner, courtesy of none other than Aron’s Iceland teammate Gyfli Sigurðsson, came on the hour-mark, with the attacker tapping home after Theo Walcott’s predictably fluffed finish was parried by Bluebirds keeper Neil Etheridge. Gylfi now has six Premier League goals to his name along with two assists—a better record than either Liverpool’s Sadio Mané or Manchester United’s Anthony Martial. The “Viking Virtuoso” is truly leaving a bruise on the UK’s top tier contest. GR

Berginator smited at FIFA by choirboy
Burnley FC winger Jóhann Berg Guðmundsson recently smited some questions from school kids as part of the UK’s National School Football Week. “The Iceberg” took some much-needed Ásatrú hellfire to the stripling monks of the Blessed Trinity Roman Catholic College, taking part in a football game against their local rivals, which they lost 3-1, so overawed were they by his gargantuan horn’d, axe-wielding presence. After the match, Jóhann took to the stage of the school’s great hall to answer some questions, also leading the audience in a frenzied rendition of Iceland’s famous “HÚH!” battle chant. A student named Jak McKinlay leapt to his feet, his vision swimming with the blood-red fog of war from an unfamiliar berserk burst of pure Viking adrenalin, and challenged “The Berginator” to a game of FIFA. Jóhann’s clawed, gloved, battle-scarred hands grappled with the unfamiliar implement of the Playstation controller, and he was smited 3-0, vanishing into the fog after casually pillaging the trophy room. JR

Kolbeinn back on the smite train
Choo Choo! Big Kolbeinn Sigþórsson has taken over the wheel of the smite train and is back scoring for our boys. The big man – who last slotted one in for Iceland against France in Euro 2016 – converted a penalty in Iceland’s 2-2 draw with Qatar after Ari Skúlason had levelled the scores with a sumptuous free kick. Kolbeinn remained emotionless after his goal, but his teammates were visibly delighted for the Nantes hitman, who has been plagued by injury for so long. Despite missing the World Cup, the boys in blue now have another scythe back in their armoury as they prepare to embark on their journey to Euro 2020 glory. All aboard the Kolbeinn Express! GR


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