Since the last issue of Reykjavik Grapevine, both the men’s and women’s national soccer teams have played matches. The men met up with the boys of Wales in a friendly match, with no special significance attached. In short the match was dull, with neither team showing anything special. Wales managed a goal at the end of the first half and the not so interested Icelandic team didn’t use the second half to equalize. A loss to Wales does not bode well for the upcoming qualifying games for the 2010 World Cup finals. But then again this was to be expected from the Icelandic team which seem to be going trough a longer than usual slump.
The women went to Serbia for a game in the European Cup qualifying round. The Icelandic team is in a heat with France, Slovenia, Greece and Serbia. The match went exceptionally well for the Icelanders, ending with a 0-4 win. After 5 games, Iceland is in second place with 12 points, trailing France by 6 points, but the French have played 2 more games. Slovenia is third with 9 points after 6 games. With the top team securing a place for the finals in Finland 2009, and the second place earning a chance in a qualifying tournament played in October, the future for the women’s team looks promising, at least a lot more promising than for the men.
Women’s Premier League
On the local level the women’s premier league is off to a predictable start. On the top Valur and KR share the first and second place. Valur being slightly in front, having scored an amazing 15 goals in three games, with only 2 goals conceded. The rest of the teams, in the ten-team division, are mostly around the middle, with the exception of HK/Víkingur and Fjölnir at the bottom. Although 3 games is a small sample size, it looks as if these 2 teams will be relegated. Also, as was predicted on the pages of this fine publication, the top battle looks to be between Valur and KR, as has often been the case in previous years.
Valur and KR square off on June 11th at Valur’s home field, the Vodafone pitch at 19:15 for a match that will surely both be exciting and fun to watch. Prior to that KR welcomes third place team Stjarnan on June 7th at 14:00 and Valur ventures to Reykjanes to meet fourth place team Keflavík at the same time.
Men’s Premier League
In the men’s league, newcomers Fjölnir are showing some wear, losing their last two games, first to the current champions Valur, in an electrifying match 1-2, and then to the Kópavogur team Breiðablik. Out of towners Keflavík, sitting at the top after four rounds, also seem to be losing their momentum, suffering a loss to Þróttur in the fifth round.
Valur, last year’s champions, are off to a shaky start earning only six points in five games with a devastating loss against then bottom team HK, 2-4 in the fifth round, and many supporters are getting antsy, to say the least. The last years haven’t really been fruitful for Valur, alternating between premier league relegation and first division promotion every other year. A very welcome premier league championship last year saw their supporters in high spirits. But if things will not turn around soon, the fans will demand the resignation of the manager.
Check www.soccerway.com for a full schedule of both the men’s and women’s leagues.