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Euro 2016: 5 facts that put Iceland’s win over England into perspective

Utsav Agarwal
7.81K   //    28 Jun 2016, 17:18 IST
Iceland Celebrating
Iceland reached the quarter-finals of a major tournament for the first time in their history

Iceland have taken the world by storm after claiming a surprising victory over England in the round of 16 stages of the 2016 Euros. They have been excellent in the tournament so far and have made it to the Quarter-finals for the first time in their history.

What’s funny is that prior to Iceland’s match against England, former international Frank Lampard had sent his ex-teammate at Chelsea Eidur Gudjohnsen a text, laughing at the fact that Iceland were facing England.

What’s even more interesting is that Polish striker Robert Lewandowski was supposed to travel to Blackburn to finalise a move, but due a volcanic eruption in Iceland, all the flights to England were canceled.

Taking advantage of the opportunity of the situation, Borussia Dortmund pounced to sign Lewandowski and the rest is history. Iceland have built seven giant indoor stadiums since the year 2000. They have also built more than 150 outdoor pitches with underground heating showing their commitment to producing young talents.

Here are some of the facts that have put Iceland’s dismantling of England into perspective:

1) Comparison between Wayne Rooney’s salary and Iceland’s population

Wayne Rooney
Wayne Rooney earns more than any other player in the Premier League

Iceland have a population of approximately 330,000, while London itself has a population of approximately 8.5 million. It’s interesting because Iceland is a country while London is a city. What’s interesting is that Manchester United and England captain Wayne Rooney reportedly earns £330,000 per week.

The United States of America has 1000 times the population of Iceland with a total of 330 million! These are insane numbers showing how small and tiny Iceland is on the world map!

2) Road to success

Back in 2009, Iceland suffered a 2-1 defeat to the Faroe Islands, who were 117th in the Fifa rankings then. In comparison, Iceland were 92nd that time. In the present day’s scenario, they are ranked 34th, showing an incredible rise in their performances.

To make things really very interesting, Iceland are now in the quarter-finals of the UEFA Euro 2016, after surviving a group that consisted the likes of Hungary and Portugal. They even managed to finish above Portugal in the table! The Nordic team shocked England in the round of 16 to progress to the quarter-finals stages, which is a remarkable feat considering the history of both nations in the game of football. 

3) Comparing Roy Hodgson and Heimir Hallgrimsson

Dejected Roy Hodgson
Roy Hodgson was left scratching his head and thinking about his future during the game

Now former England coach Roy Hodgson has managed plenty of teams in the past including Liverpool, Fulham and Switzerland to name a few. He also reportedly earned a whopping £3.2 million per year for his services to the Three Lions.

On the other hand, joint Iceland coach Heimir Hallgrimsson was the coach of multiple women teams. He is also a part-time dentist at him home village. He even has the prefix Dr. is his name!

4) Raheem Sterling’s transfer fee compared to the entire Iceland squad

Raheem sterling
Sterling was poor during the match against Iceland

Raheem Sterling of England cost Manchester City a whopping £44 million to bring him to the Etihad stadium from Liverpool in 2015. The Englishman has had a tournament to forget as he was poor in his displays. Although his performances were dismal, Roy Hodgson decided to play him against Iceland. 

His performances were so bad that even the English fans were ready to charter a plane to bring him back home! The entire Iceland team is worth £31.65 million in comparison to Raheem Sterling, whose transfer fee could rise to £49 million.

The most expensive player from Iceland is Gylfi Sigurdsson, who has a value of £13 million.

5) Number of elite coaches Iceland produces compared to England

Despite the fact that England has a population of approximately 53 million and they only produce around one elite coach for every 11,000 people, while Iceland produced 1 elite coach for every 554 people in Iceland. That is an incredible number quality of coaches for a country of approximately 330,000 and it should not be a surprise to see them doing this well! 


The number of Thors in the Iceland national team is too high! Keeper Hannes Thor Halldorsson proved his ‘might’ between the sticks, while Kolbeinn Sigthorsson has been incredible in front of goal, with the opponents having to deal with his ‘might’!

What is even more incredible is that Iceland football team’s president is Geir Thorsteinsson! No wonder with the power of Thor, the opponents have had to deal with a lot.

With Iceland having a fairytale tournament, they sure have won millions of hearts due to their never say die attitude. Iceland are due to face France in the quarter-final stages of the Euro 2016 and it surely will be a great feat if they do knock out the French as well! 

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