One of the world’s biggest sporting events, the FIFA World Cup, kicked off earlier this week.
But besides Lionel Messi and Cristiano Ronaldo, there’s another name that’s on everyone’s lips: Iceland.
The team, currently ranked number 22 in the world by FIFA, just made their World Cup debut and fans are falling in love with their backstory.
You see, Iceland has a pretty small population – around 330,000 people – so many of the team’s players actually have other careers, outside of football.
Iceland fans were pretty hype about their first-ever FIFA World Cup goal! pic.twitter.com/z0KAXPH22w
— FOX Soccer (@FOXSoccer) June 16, 2018
Icelandic football manager Heimir Hallgrimsson, 51, may be managing a World Cup-qualified team – but he’s still got a day job.
“To save questions again: I’m still a dentist. And I will never stop being a dentist,” Hallgrimsson said.
Hallgrimsson and the Iceland team are well aware of the team’s ‘cute factor’.
“You can’t help but love Iceland,” Hallgrimsson said. “We haven’t attacked anyone. We haven’t been at war with anyone. We’ve only had the Cod Wars with England and no one got hurt there. It’s a pretty little nation and pretty people, in general. You can’t help but love us.”
In the small nation of Iceland, there are only 21,5o0 registered football players.
The World Cup team includes a factory worker, a film director, and even a board game designer. Yes, really.
No wonder everyone is falling in love with little old Iceland.
Tweet of the World Cup so far. I am so into Iceland pic.twitter.com/Wt39OZQIBM
— Jeremy Vine (@theJeremyVine) June 17, 2018
Tiny Iceland. Giant Argentina. 1-1. Have to love it.
— Harsha Bhogle (@bhogleharsha) June 16, 2018
— Caylin Smith (@CaylinSSmith) June 16, 2018
I love the heart that Iceland shows. You can’t root against them. Every single tackle and stop means the world to them. It’s so refreshing to see a team work so hard defensively #mensworldcup
— Meghan Klingenberg (@meghankling) June 16, 2018
Fun fact: Icelandic keeper Hannes Halldorsson, who just blocked a goal from Messi, also directed Iceland’s entry for Eurovision 2012! #ARGISL
— SBS Australia (@SBS) June 16, 2018
The Iceland coach is a 51 year old dentist who doesn’t get paid for managing his country’s football team, and yet we’ve seen a defensive organisational masterclass from the side. Heart and desire takes you places.
— Aakash Bhatt (@aakashbhatt97) June 16, 2018