Coach Snorri Calls for Tactical Rethink After Hungary Defeat

Head coach Snorri Steinn speaks to RÚV after yesterday's game

Iceland’s men’s national handball team suffered a 25-33 defeat against Hungary in the 2024 European Men’s Handball Championship but still advanced to the intermediate round due to Montenegro’s win over Serbia. Coach Snorri Steinn Guðjónsson expressed disappointment with the team’s performance, particularly in the second half, and acknowledged the need for tactical adjustments before their upcoming matches against Germany, France, Austria, and Croatia.

Disappointment after heavy defeat

The men’s national handball team suffered a heavy defeat against Hungary last night, 25-33, in the 2024 European Men’s Handball Championship. Despite the loss, Iceland has advanced to the intermediate round, thanks to a victory by Montenegro over Serbia. The team advances into the intermediate round with zero points and a negative-eight goal difference where four games await. Viggó Kristjánsson was Iceland’s top scorer with eight goals.

Snorri Steinn Guðjónsson, head coach of the national team, was understandably disappointed after the game. Speaking to RÚV after the match, Snorri described the second half as terrible and believes his attackers need to improve their efficiency.

“These are big disappointments. But we did not deserve anything more from the game. The performance was lacklustre, and the second half was terrible.”

When asked about a possible lack of spirit in the team, he replied, “We just collapsed and became listless. What worked in the first half – the defence and the intensity – just wasn’t there in the second half. One thing led to another. Turnovers and missed opportunities. It’s the same story. One thing leads to another. When nothing is right, naturally, the game goes like this.”

No clear explanation

Snorri had no ready answers about what was affecting their efficiency. “It’s just poor. We can’t find explanations for it. It’s something the players need to buckle down on. It goes without saying that at this level, such lapses can’t be afforded.”

Snorri added that whenever a team becomes guilty of so many technical errors and poor execution, the game is a foregone conclusion. He also discussed the lack of shots from range. Snorri took responsibility for the loss, adding that the coaching team would need to review the performance. “I take the blame for the tactical approach to the game. It was not good enough. The opportunities we’re getting, we’re not utilising them. But I need to delve into it.”

Ahead are four games in the intermediate round against Germany, France, Austria, and Croatia.

“This was our first match in the intermediate round — and we lost. Consequently, we have no points to carry forward. This makes our journey tougher. There’s little time between matches, but that doesn’t alter the fact that we need to critically analyse our performance. We must make some adjustments because this approach isn’t delivering results in the intermediate round.”

 

Rising Hazard Levels in Grindavík, New Subsidence Valley Forms

An ambulance lingers just outside of Grindavík

An expert from the Icelandic Meteorological Office warns of the possibility of another magma intrusion and subsequent eruption near Grindavík, as magma continues to accumulate under Svartsengi. Recent volcanic activity has created a new subsidence valley in Grindavík, making the town as hazardous as it has ever been.

Another magma intrusion likely

The eruption that began last Sunday on the Reykjanes peninsula can be said to have ended with the last lava spewing shortly before 1 AM on Tuesday. Land uplift continues at a similar pace in the Svartsengi area and magma accumulation, too. 

In an interview with RÚV yesterday, Kristín Jónsdóttir, department head of volcanism, earthquakes, and geodynamics at the Icelandic Meteorological Office, stated that as long as magma continues to accumulate, there is a chance of another magma intrusion, and, thereby, another eruption.

“As long as the magma accumulation continues unabated, there is a likelihood of another magma intrusion. But when that will happen is, of course, uncertain. But now, this has been a fairly regular event since about November 10, approximately every month. So, it’s a question of whether or not that’s what we are seeing,” Kristín stated.

Kristín noted that if enough magma accumulated under Svartsengi, it would begin to flow eastward under the Sundhnúksgígaröð range, the site of the last two eruptions. She also explained how the magma had moved during the latest volcanic events.

“On November 10, of course, this very large magma dyke formed, 15 km long. On December 18, the magma moved north along the dyke, and on January 14 it moved south. It’s just a question of what happens next,” Kristín noted, adding that changes in Grindavík during the eruption last Sunday were no less significant than when the magma dyke formed on November 10.

“There will be displacement and, in fact, subsidence where the magma moves closer to the surface. And we see this clearly. An aerial measurement was carried out on Monday, and then both the lava breadth and this subsidence depression are very clearly seen in these measurements.”

Rising hazard in Grindavík

On a new map based on the Meteorological Office’s map of January 16, 2024, a new subsidence valley to the east of the older subsidence valley is visible. This subsidence valley stretches over the eastern part of the town, southward, and down into the sea. The eruption on Sunday occurred to the west of this subsidence valley.

“The results demonstrate that there are cracks that have also formed in the eastern part of the town. These are, of course, old cracks, but they have been strained. And there has been a subsidence of over a metre in the eastern part of the town,” Kristín noted.

The widening in the new subsidence valley amounts to 1.4 metres. As noted by RÚV, scientists believe that as much magma flowed under Svartsengi into the magma dyke on Sunday as happened in the eruption on December 18. 

Kristín emphasised that there was great uncertainty regarding what would happen next: in the event of another magma intrusion, would the magma flow north or south, and would that lead to another eruption.

When asked by RÚV whether it would be accurate to state that since the eruption on Sunday the town of Grindavík had never been as hazardous, Kristín concurred.  “Yes, I would say that,” she stated.

As reported by RÚV this morning, hot water was restored within the eastern part of Grindavík last night. This morning, workers from the utility company HS Orka, aided by rescue workers and the police, will inspect whether there is heat in the buildings in Grindavík. Residents will not be allowed to retrieve their belongings today.

Emotions Run High at Grindavík Residents Meeting

Grindavík volcanic eruption January 2024

Displaced residents of Grindavík gathered at Laugardalshöll sports venue in Reykjavík yesterday to discuss the town’s future and demand action from authorities. The meeting was also attended by government ministers, scientists and public officials, Heimildin reports.

The town was evacuated Sunday as an eruption was starting in the vicinity. Yesterday morning, lava flow from both fissures north of Grindavík had ceased. The town of 3,800 inhabitants has sustained considerable damage, however, with three houses destroyed by lava and treacherous crevasses forming across the area. Grindavík is without electricity, hot water, and cold water, and lava has reportedly poured over water piping to the area.

Hoped her house would burn down

During the meeting, Bryndís Gunnlaugsdóttir, a Grindavík resident, pointed out the fact that those whose houses were destroyed by lava would get immediate compensation from the Natural catastrophe insurance of Iceland, a public institution. The rest of the residents, whose houses remain intact on the streets of an uninhabitable town, get nothing despite being displaced.

She said it was the worst day of her life when the eruption ended and she saw her house hadn’t burned down. “If my house had burned down, I would have gained financial independence. I would be able to start a new home and this noose around my neck would be gone,” she said and received a standing ovation from attendees.

Decades of activity possible

Prime Minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir, Minister of Infrastructure Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson, and Minister of Finance Þórdís Kolbrún Reykfjörð Gylfadóttir all addressed the crowd. They said that government needed time to work out how to best assist the residents in their time of need. Some in attendance demanded that the government purchase all town properties to allow people to start over.

Kristín Jónsdóttir from the Icelandic Meteorological Office told attendees that repeated eruptions could be expected from the Sundhnúkagígur fissures to the north of the town. Uncertainty remains about the volcanic activity and whether it will manifest in one long eruption or several smaller ones. However, looking at the history of the Reykjanes peninsula, we could be at the start of several years or decades of activity.

Helping Grindavík

There are numerous ways in which you can provide support for the people of Grindavík, even if you do not live in Iceland. The Icelandic Red Cross has set up a page with donation options for those wishing to lend support. This includes both one-time donations and repeat subscriptions.