We all know of the smiting abilities of Iceland. By qualifying for the FIFA World Cup, Iceland made history by becoming the smallest country to participate—ever. As we are sure that this is something to be proud of, the new promo video for the team, released by the Icelandic Football Association, divides the opinions of the public. While some celebrate the symbolism of the video, others are concerned with similarities to Nazi propaganda.
In the video, the Iceland players are depicted as aggressive, musclebound warriors. Some of them are holding Viking shields, while the goalkeeper is topless and covered with dirt. The video was posted with the words “We are ready for Russia. What about you?”, apparently seeking to attract a foreign audience. The national team’s slogan and hashtag #FyrirIsland (“for Iceland”) is also included in the video. It’s interesting to mention that Vikings used to go to Russia regularly, mostly for trade; whereas their travels to other countries such as the UK often included murder and theft.
The music critic Arnar Eggert Thoroddssen compares the symbols in the video to “white power” images. “This is so silly,” he says. “The Icelandic National Team became popular because of fair play and their joy; a holistic attitude to sport and support. Here they are as inhuman, blood-thirsty barbarians. They are manslayers, paired with some kind of Aryan undertones. Only a quarter away from ‘white power’ imagrery.” Others called out the video for being “chauvinistic” and “distasteful.”
International fans, on the other hand, seem to have taken well to the video, stating their support for the team. Some Icelanders cannot see any problem with the video, either. “The Icelandic National Team consists great guys that are hard as steel, and it’s just fine to label them as Vikings that are eager to fight,” one says. “The nation can be proud of this team—and national pride is completely different from chauvinism.”
Whichever side you are on, let’s wish the Icelandic team the best for their first match against Argentina, on June 16th.
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