As the 2019-20 pre-season intensifies, the fate of our bold and mighty smiters comes into clearer focus. Of course, their hearts are set on one goal alone: Iceland winning Euro 2020. But in the meantime, a Viking has to earn a crust. Here’s the latest news, sent to us by raven from our extensive network of wily footballing spies.
Birkir’s gallop of terror
Birkir “Horror Hooves” Bjarnason is one of the essential cogs of the Icelandic men’s national team. He’s a relentlessly marauding midfield attacker whose galloping hooves gnash up the turf—and the feet of any defender dumb enough not to dive for cover as he rampages upfield. This cool-eyed Viking plies his day-to-day trade at West Midlands club Aston Villa, where he has been something of a marginal figure in recent seasons, to the degree where rumours of his exit have begun.
However, on Aston Villa’s recent pre-season tour, he was given a chance to show off his devastating offensive potential, heading home in the 86th minute and joining Jack Grealish and Henri Lansbury on the scoresheet. Birkir’s future, however, is far from clear; he didn’t make the matchday squad a week later against Charlton Athletic and, with a week left in the transfer window, he could still be tölting to pastures new come the start of the season.
Berg besmirched by Twitter goon
The representative of Icelandic football in the Premier League is Jóhann “The Berginator” Guðmundsson, famed for his dazzling right-wing runs and searing crosses, which have been compared by poets to majestic sight of a comet raking across the night sky. Only a fool would dare to denigrate The Berg’s silky attacking skills. But, as has recently become crystal clear in various major Western democracies, the world has no shortage of fools.
One of them is Twitter user @_bernardooooo, who made the sporting news by using the Tiermaker website to generate a rating system for Premier League midfielders, ranking them from “World Class” to “Cannot Play Football.” His first mistake was placing Liverpool stars Salah and Sane at the top, and not the twinkle-toed shaman of world football, Gylfi Sigurðsson. His second was placing The Berg in the bottom bracket. But such smack-talk will only help Jóhann, whose play relies on the element of surprise. As has often been said of his footballing ambushes: like the Titanic, they won’t see this Berg coming.
Kolbeinn “the kraken” awakes
29-year-old striker Kolbeinn Sigþórsson is a legend of Icelandic football. English people may fear his face as they do that of the grim reaper; for it was indeed Kolbeinn who scored that fateful goal at Euro 2016 that knocked them out of the tournament, ending the careers of manager Woy Hodgson and overrated bald millionaire Wayne Rooney in the process.
Since that mighty feat, however, he has endured a torrid time. Having damaged the meniscus in his knee in late 2016, he missed 128 games, making just four club-level appearances over the next two years. Eager to rebuild his career upon his return to fitness, he took a loan spell from Nantes to Ajax in 2018, but it lasted only a couple of months. In March 2019, things looked up when he signed a two season contract with Swedish side AIK, and he will now fight for his place in their starting eleven.
Think of Kolbeinn as the kraken of strikers. He floats beneath the surface, watching and waiting, until the time has come to strike. And when he does, much like that tentacled monstrous leviathan, he will tear apart the Swedish league like it was naught but the scrolls of a feeble Irish monk.
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