The 2018 World Cup is swiftly approaching and the traditional heavyweights such as the likes of Brazil, Germany, Argentina, Engl—as well as a few other teams are predicatably favored to make a strong showing in Russia. German manager, Jürgen Klopp is currently plying his trade in England at the helm at Liverpool but admitted recently that his support will be for neither for the marquee tournament. Instead, the leader of a Reds side who have been underdogs in recent times relative to their better-heeled rivals will be rooting for the World Cup debutants, Iceland.
The smallest country to ever appear in a major finals burst onto the international scene after a magical Euro 2016 run, kicking off an improbable World Cup qualifying campaign, and eventually booking a place in the biggest tournament of them all, much to Klopp’s admiration.
“What they’ve done so far in football and handball is unbelievable,” the 50-year-old said. “They only have 340,000 people there. If Germany or England don’t win it, I’d like Iceland to win it. I love the attitude there.”
His admiration for the upstarts is hardly newfound, with the Normal One citing the indomitable spirit and team ethic of the Icelanders as an inspiration on multiple occasions over the past few years:
“If you want to have proof of the different ways that football can work you only have to look at the European Championships,” he said back in 2016.
“There were wonderful examples of what football really is – about building a team, creating a bond between the team, supporters and whole countries.
“When Iceland were playing, when Wales were playing that was the best example of how football can work. There are different ways obviously.
“We have to build a special bond.”
Well we’re convinced. Once England predictably drops points to the likes of Tunisia and Panama to flame out in the group stage, Iceland would appear to be everyone’s second team.