For the first time in 1083 years, Iceland has qualified for the finals of a football competition. They will be in the UEFA playoffs for the World Cup final next year in Brazil. Vice-Captain Kolbeinn SigÞórsson’s goal at the 12th minute was all it took….well, that, and holding on to get the draw as Norway’s Daniel Braaten poked home the equalizer on 30 minutes….well, THAT, and hoping that Slovenia lost to Switzerland, which it did 2-0.
So now Iceland is in rarefied air. They have a chance of qualifying for the World Cup. A slim chance, but they made it this far, so anything is possible. They have a good young team, and Gylfi Sigurdsson who got the assist on SigÞórsson’s goal, is one the best players at Tottenham in EPL at the moment. So there is talent in Iceland….they’re on the verge of going from minnows to, well, pan-fish or something metaphorical like that….bluegills. We’ll settle on that.
Iceland joins France, Portugal, Ukraine, Sweden, Greece, Croatia and Romania in the playoff group. When the matchups are drawn on October 21st at FIFA headquarters in Zurich, each team with play home and away, and the 4 teams that win their playoff will advance to the World Cup. For Iceland, it will all be in the luck of the draw.
Meanwhile, Norway is on the outside looking in, in a sense. That sense being the sense of the Ole and Lena joke about Ole and Lena’s wedding where everybody gets so drunk and Ole says, “You tink I’M drunk? Look at Sven! HE’S so drunk he tinks he’s ME!”
Well, well…..don’t the Three Lions think they’re fancy now!? They qualified for the World Cup!! It COULD be 1966 all over again!!
For most of the match, England’s performance was not exactly scintillating. And Poland’s squad also underwhelmed….in fact, Poland’s coach, Waldimar Fornalik, was fired after the match. There were times when England looked threatening, and goalie Wojciech Szczęsny had his work cut out for him. But he was man of the match for Poland on the day.
As for England, ROONEY headed one home off a Leighton Baines corner kick at the 41st minute. And Gerrard crashed through the Polish defense and put the frosting on the cake at the 88th.
So England has qualified. But so has Costa Rica and Bosnia ((who qualified for the very first time)), two teams, along with the USA that I don’t think England will want to face in the opening round in Brazil.
This was the upset of the day. Scotland was out of the running for any sort of qualifying and Croatia had their playoff spot locked up. But goals by Robert Snodgrass and Steven Naismith sealed a bright victory for Scotland that bodes well for their future. New gaffer Gordon Strachan has set a fire under this young squad and their future as a national team has never been brighter.
As for Croatia, this was a stunner of a defeat and despite qualifying for the playoff, they ended their qualifying campaign with 3 losses and a draw. As a result, their gaffer Igor Štimac was fired after the match. Interim coach Niko Kovac will lead them into the playoffs.
And now, I tink I’ll take off my skis and have a drink….POTOSI Pilsener Czech Lager….and then listen to some music about drinking.