Hannes Þór Halldórsson is more than just Iceland’s goalkeeper; he is the nation’s last line of defence and last bastion of national pride. When the enemy bears down upon his goal, he can be heard screaming “death or glory!”—a phrase that so terrified Croatia striker Mario Mandžukić, he renounced his faith after a 1-0 defeat to Iceland in 2017. It is rumoured that Hannes’ cries returned to Mandžukić so often in dreams that he became imbued with sadness and nihilism, believing that his one true God would not have allowed such anguish to continue.
In World Cup qualification, only five attempts found their way past ole ‘Wild Claws’ in nine appearances. Now approaching his 50th international battle and his 34th birthday, only by repelling the efforts of Messi, Modrić and co. can he collect sufficient tears to quench his thirst and sustain him for another four years.
Although anything other than pulling on his deathly black Iceland jersey is of little consequence to Hannes, he is now stretching his arms for Randers FC in Denmark, having previously played for Fram and KR, Norwegian clubs Sandnes Ulf, FK Bodø/Glimt, and Dutch side N.E.C. Nijmegen.
Off the pitch, Hannes is known by his friends as ‘The Auteur of Pain,’ owing both to his reputation as a maniac, and his extra-curricular dalliances as a film director. If a film of Iceland’s exploits in the 2018 World Cup is already in the works, we can surely expect a Tarantino-esque bloodbath.
Club: Randers FC
Special Skills: Blinding war cries, death-defying leaps, shield wall organisation, psychological warfare
Nicknames: Wild Claws, The Invader of Dreams, The Shield of Iceland, The Tear Taxman, The Auteur of Pain