Captain Commends Team’s Effort in 0-2 Loss to Germany

Women's National Football Team

Captain Glódís Perla Viggósdóttir expressed pride in the Women’s National Football team’s performance, despite a 2-0 loss to Germany. The team’s reaction after conceding a penalty was commendable, although they missed the chance to equalise.

Proud of the team’s performance

In a post-match interview with Vísir yesterday, Glódís Perla Viggósdóttir, Captain of the Women’s National Football team, stated that she was proud of the team’s performance despite a 0-2 loss against Germany: “They took their chances, and we didn’t. I think that’s what separated the two teams, first and foremost,” Glódís remarked. The game was part of the UEFA Women’s Nations League; Iceland sits in third place in Group A3, behind Germany and Denmark.

Despite the loss, she felt that the team had stuck to its game plan: “I felt we were successful in shutting them down, just as we had planned before the game. They weren’t getting many opportunities to cross the ball towards unmarked players inside the box – at least not as much as we had anticipated. I felt we were coming out on top in the one-on-one situations and close encounters during the game, really making our presence felt.”

Glódís also remarked that the team had reacted well to the concession of a penalty, noting that if the team had taken the opportunity to equalise, it could have altered the trajectory of the game. “Instead, we conceded another goal, which is not uncommon when you’re chasing. We were aiming for a point,” Glódís observed.

Penalty call questionable

As noted by Vísir, the Icelandic team was on the defensive for the majority of the game, which cost a lot of energy. “Of course, it requires a lot of energy,” Glódís stated. “The players, especially those in front of the back line, put in a lot of hard work. They made our job easier. I think they performed exceptionally well today.”

The German team took the lead in the second half with a goal from a penalty kick after goalkeeper Telma Ívarsdóttir was adjudged to have fouled Lea Schuller. Glódís is not convinced by the merits of the decision.

“I don’t know. I just heard Telma shout. I couldn’t see much, aside from Lea getting a free header. I don’t think it’s fair, for her to get a free header and a penalty. But like I said, I don’t know what happened. I think it was the wrong decision, but that’s how it is,” Glódís concluded by saying.

Men’s National Football Team Endures Heavy Loss in Bosnia

football soccer

The Icelandic men’s national football team lost to Bosnia and Herzegovina in their first match in the UEFA Euro 2024 qualifying tournament. Head coach Arnar Þór Viðarsson told the media that the opening game, although disappointing, had not amounted to a “must-win,” RÚV reports.

A resounding 3-0 defeat

In their opening match of the UEFA Euro 2024 qualifiers, the Icelandic men’s national football team suffered a resounding 3-0 defeat. As noted by RÚV, the spirited atmosphere at Zenica, often referred to as “the heart of Bosnia and Herzegovina,” fueled the home team, bolstered by the enthusiasm of 15,000 Bosnian supporters. Iceland’s defence consistently lagged.

Both teams began the game with vigour, with Icelandic goalkeeper Rúnar Alex Rúnarsson managing two impressive saves early on in the game. Bosnia attacked relentlessly, however, netting the first goal in the 14th minute; Rade Krunic converted a pass in Iceland’s box.

Iceland attempted to retaliate through the long throws of Hörður Björgvin Magnússon, but clear chances were scarce in the first half. Though Iceland improved, they were unable to contain Krunic, who netted his second goal in the 38th minute.

Futile possession

Although Iceland maintained greater ball possession than Bosnia, the team appeared to lack offensive aggression. Hákon Arnar Haraldsson nearly closed the gap at the end of the first half, but both he and the home team’s goalkeeper stumbled on the uneven Zenica pitch, RÚV notes.

In the 61st minute, Amar Dedic’s left-footed shot from the right wing evaded Rúnar Alex, making the score 3-0. The match gradually petered out in the final 30 minutes, culminating in a disheartening loss for Iceland in their opening qualifier.

“Not a must-win”

In a press conference after the match, head coach Arnar Þór Viðarsson maintained that Bosnia was “a much better team” than people generally think. “We threw it away, you could say. They were very solid. They were very strong. We couldn’t regain our composure after the first goal, and we were trying to relay information to the players just before the second goal was netted,” he stated.

Arnar also maintained that the opening game had not been a must-win as far as the group is concerned. “It was, of course, a bad loss, and we need to learn from it. We need to take things to a higher level and a higher tempo. We need to adjust our game significantly if we are going to fight for second place in the group. This is part of football, unfortunately. It’s often difficult to play away from home and secure a win.”

Arnar added that the team had been “a little better in the second half” but that it had, nonetheless, been unable to stop Bosnia defensively. He still believes that the team can turn things around.

When asked what needed to change, Arnar replied in succinct fashion: “Winning games. It’s that simple. But we mustn’t forget that Bosnia is a much better team than people wanted to believe.”

Liechtenstein awaits

The team’s next game is on Sunday against Liechtenstein. Liechtenstein lost their opening match in the group against Portugal 4-0, with Cristiano Ronaldo scoring twice. Portugal now sits at the top of the group; Slovakia and Luxembourg drew 0-0.

COVID-hit Iceland loses to Denmark at European Handball Championship

Handball

The Icelandic men’s national handball team suffered a defeat at the hands of Denmark last night. Six Icelandic players tested positive for COVID-19 the night before the game, the first match of the European Handball Championship’s main round. 

Rough news following a smooth start

Following a positive start to the European Handball Championship, which saw the Icelandic men’s national handball team win all three of its matches in the preliminary round, the squad suffered a four-point defeat to Denmark last night. The match was the first game of the tournament’s main round.  

On the evening before the game, news broke that three Icelandic players had tested positive for COVID-19: goalkeeper Björgvin Páll Gústavsson, centre-back Elvar Örn Jónsson, and left back Ólafur Andrés Guðmundsson. More bad news broke on the following morning when it was revealed that captain Aron Pálmarson and winger Bjarki Már Elísson had also tested positive. The final blow arrived just a few hours before the game against Denmark; centre-back Gísli Þorgeir Kristjánsson also tested positive. 

The players have little to no symptoms, according to reports.

Critical of tournament organisers

In an interview with Vísir yesterday, Bjarki Már Elísson criticised the tournament organisers for not doing enough to minimise the risk of infection:  

“We’ve been doing everything in our power to avoid infection; we’ve been holed up in our hotels since January 2,” who added that the team had been prepared for the worst after the first three players tested positive.”

“The conditions at the hotel are such that there are tourists and other guests staying alongside us, which, personally, I find absurd. But, of course, there are fans in the stadiums, and we’re doing interviews, so you’re always at some risk. Perhaps it was to be expected,” Bjarki continued. 

“I suppose what’s most disappointing, however, is that tournament organisers didn’t provide better conditions. Ensure that we were more isolated, that there aren’t other people staying at the hotels; all of the teams are eating in the same places, too. This allows infection to spread, and it was expected, but it is also extremely disappointing.”

A tough schedule ahead

Iceland will play its second match of the main round tomorrow, Saturday, January 22. The team will face off against France, the reigning Olympic Champions, with Iceland’s President Guðni Th. Jóhannesson expected to be in the stands. The following two games are against Croatia on Monday (January 24) and Montenegro on Wednesday (January 26).