Iceland’s World Cup Dream Over

The Icelandic women’s football team drew 1-1 against the Czech Republic today in a World Cup qualifier. Iceland was in pole position to qualify for the World Cup, which will take place in France next year, ahead of these last two matches in Group 5.

After being down 0-1 for the majority of the match, an equalizer from Glódís Perla Viggósdóttir brought Iceland level in the 87th minute. Iceland had the perfect chance to snatch the win in additional time but Sara Björk Gunnarsdóttir missed a penalty which would have secured Iceland’s place in the play-offs.

Iceland lost 0-2 against group leaders Germany where a win would have sealed Iceland’s qualification. A win today versus the Czech Republic might have sealed Iceland’s spot in the World Cup playoffs, provided results in other groups went Iceland’s way. The four best 2nd placed sides from the 7 European qualification groups advance to the play-offs.

The Icelandic women’s team has previously gone to the final stage of the EURO competition three times. This would have been the first time Iceland competes at the World Cup finals. The team is currently ranked the 19th best team in the world, according to the FIFA world rankings.

Safety Concerns with Coast Guard Helicopters

Icelandic coast guard

An MUH-1 military helicopter involved in a fatal accident in South Korea on July 17 has the same gearbox as two Airbus Super Puma helicopters the Icelandic Coast Guard has agreed to lease, Vísir reports.

Faults in such gear boxes have previously caused two fatal accidents, in Scotland in 2009 and in Norway in 2016. In all three accidents the helicopter rotor separated from the body. Airbus had stated they had since ensured the safety of the helicopters, but an investigation into the 2016 accident in Norway concluded a redesign of the gearboxes was necessary.

After Fréttablaðið reported on the July accident, the Icelandic Coast Guard told the news provider they had received information from Airbus that the cause of the accident was unrelated to the incidents in Scotland and Norway. “According to information that the Coast Guard has from Airbus and others it seems to not be the same occurrence as in previous accidents associated with gearbox failures,” Ásgeir Erlendsson, the Coast Guard’s public relations officer, stated at the time.

When Fréttablaðið followed up with Airbus Helicopers, the company stated they had not provided the Coast Guard with any confidential information. “I can confirm that we have not shared any confidential information with the Icelandic Coast Guard regarding possible causes of the MUH-1 accident, as the investigation is still under the leadership of Korean authorities,” stated Guillaume Steuer, Head of External Communications at Airbus.

Fréttablaðið requested a copy of the Coast Guard’s communication with Airbus on the matter. The request was initially denied. The Coast Guard eventually sent the news provider a copy of a response from an Airbus employee to an inquiry from the agency. The answer from Airbus details some of the damage to the helicopter, but makes no conclusions about the cause of the accident. The Coast Guard insisted, however, that the incident appears unrelated to previous accidents associated with gearbox failure. A preliminary report of the accident is expected this month.

The Coast Guard had stated their contract to lease the two helicopters is not binding and they are still able to back out. They have denied Fréttablaðið’s request to see the contract, citing information privacy laws.

Reykjavík Marathon Times Invalid

Runners’ times from the Reykjavík marathon and half marathon held on August 18 are invalid, RÚVreports. This was stated in a press release from the Reykjavík Sports Union, which details that as a consequence of a last-minute mistake, the route was 213 metres too short.

Barriers at a turning point on the route were moved shortly before the race began to accommodate traffic. Organisers then neglected to return them to their original location before the race began. As a consequence, the marathon and half marathon routes were both 213 metres too short. Although runners’ times are invalid due to the mistake, rankings and prizes in all categories will remain as determined.

“The Reykjavík Sports Union has sincerely apologised to runners for this mistake in an email sent today. This year as in previous years much work and ambition was invested in order to make this running event as splendid as possible and the organisers of the run are devastated over this. It has already been decided to increase the number of inspectors on the route next year to prevent this from happening again,” stated the press release.