Joined: 22 Dec 2017
|Posted: Tue Jun 26, 2018 3:24 Post subject: Iceland in bullish mood
|Heimir Hallgrímsson wasted little time with the first question, dollied up as usual by Fifa’s local media attaché, of his press conference previewing the challenge posed by Nigeria. What did the Iceland manager expect to happen on Friday afternoon? “We expect to win,” he said before turning to his captain, Aron Einar Gunnarsson. “What do you think?”
A slightly more equivocal opinion followed from Gunnarsson, who has clearly put a decade spent in England to good use. It would be a tough test, but Iceland were ready for it. There was nothing new about that, or Hallgrímsson’s characteristic confidence, but in one important regard their dynamic has shifted over the past six days, ever since that courageously executed draw with Argentina in Moscow. Iceland will now go into a major tournament fixture as favourites and, lovable as they remain, the image of knockabout underdogs bears no resemblance to their attitude on the pitch. It brings a new set of pressures, though, and if those needed relieving http://www.authenticsharksjerseys.com/Authentic-Paul-Martin-Jersey then one of the questions that arose from the Icelandic press corps almost seemed purpose-built for the job.
Coach and captain both dissolved into mirth and, certainly in Gunnarsson’s case, blushes when they were asked whether the squad is banned from having sex during the tournament. The players were allowed to meet with their families on Thursdayand the intention, presumably, was to gain a degree of insight into their likely pre-match exertions.
“For the time being, yes,” Gunnarsson said. “At least as long as the wives have not arrived,” explained Hallgrímsson, cutting in quickly. “No, sex is not banned, it’s bullshit.”
Hallgrímsson probably feels his players have earned his trust in that department and most others. Negotiating the hurdle of Argentina so expertly, even if the headline was Hannes Thór Halldórsson’s penalty save from Lionel Messi, gave them a start they would have settled for. Nigeria had been billed in some quarters as a surprise package before the tournament but a listless display against Croatia dulled some Andrei Vasilevskiy Womens Jersey of that optimism and Gernot Rohr’s side will need to be far sharper if they are to overcome such a superbly-drilled unit that is more inventive, too, than its Euro 2016 iteration.
Iceland hold the upper hand even if the margins remain tight, but it was instructive to hear Hallgrímsson zero in on some of the values he Womens Devin Booker Jersey holds dear when asked to describe Nigeria’s strengths. “Physically strong, quick, good athletes with big running capacity,” he said. “They are a direct, really good counterattacking side. If you watch their games in the last year you can see their improvement in tactical awareness and in my opinion they have many things that make a good football team.”
He could have been describing his own side although one of the players who adds creative spark to the graft will almost certainly be absent on Friday. Jóhann Berg Gudmundsson, a good shout for any Premier League XI of most improved players after a superb 2017-18 season at Burnley, is unlikely to recover from a knock sustained in the Argentina game but Hallgrímsson – who has become used to battling injury concerns during his two years in sole charge – said his absence would “not change the plans we have decided before this game”.
Would that Nigeria could operate with such assuredness. Rohr has, predictably, been under pressure to make changes after they struggled to create chances of note against a relatively nondescript Croatia. There is a possibility he will switch to a back three and there are also questions about the position of the captain Mikel John Obi, who made no impact at No 10. “If I have to sacrifice a position, go play wherever, I will do that for this team to win games,” Mikel said, possibly paving the way for Rohr to reshuffle his front line.
The manager himself sounded a similarly optimistic note to his opposite number. “We will not lose this game,” he promised, before bringing up his team’s “little advantage with the temperature”. It is likely to be around 32C when the match kicks off; Nigeria sense an achilles heel although Iceland, whose training camp is in the Black Sea resort of Gelendzhik, have spent considerable time accustoming themselves to such http://www.officiallachargersshop.com/Michael_Schofield_Jersey_Cheap conditions. wholesale nfl jerseys cheap nfl jerseys cheap nfl jerseys wholesale jerseys