The Icelandic national team in men’s handball beat Norway by one goal in the European Handball Championship in Vienna yesterday. With the 35-34 victory, Iceland secured its spot in the semi-final.
A draw would have sufficed for Iceland but Norway had to win by four goals to earn a spot in the semi-final.
“It is a wonderful feeling and I am so proud of the boys,” Iceland’s coach Gudmundur Gudmundsson told Morgunbladid.
“There has been a lot of pressure on the group. First the games we thought we had won ended with draws and then our partner, Gunnar Magnússon, has had a very difficult time,” he added.
Assistant coach Magnússon just lost his sister and therefore the Icelandic team played with black ribbons yesterday.
“Our thoughts were with him and his family and we were determined to show our compassion in a symbolic way by winning this game,” Gudmundsson said.
Iceland led the entire first half. At half time the score was 18-16 for Iceland. In the second half, Norway pushed the Icelanders, but not hard enough.
With ten goals, Arnór Atlason scored the most goals for Iceland and goalkeeper Björgvin Páll Gústavsson deflected an important shot in the final stage of the game, mbl.is reports.
Icelandic fans are now flocking to Vienna to watch their team play in the semi-final—tickets sold out in only ten minutes.
“I have organized trips to various sporting events but I’ve never witnessed something like this,” Lúdvík Arnarson, managing director of VITA Sport, told Fréttabladid.
Iceland plays against France tomorrow.
Click here to read more about the Icelandic handballers.