I don’t care if you are not a football fan, if you just watch World Cup matches because it’s fashionable, or even if you think this sport is boring as hell. What I want to tell you is that you should watch the match Argentina-Iceland.
This match wasn’t just a match, it was a life lesson, and I’m not being cliché.
Argentina is one of the best football teams in the world (5th in the ranking FIFA), with two world cups. Argentina is the team of Lionel Messi, one of the best players of all time, with 5 Ballon d'Or awards and many more trophies. Argentina could win the World Cup (don’t forget about the other players too), and Messi will probably be one of the best goal scorers of this World Cup.
Iceland, on the other hand, is a small team, composed of players who also have a second job. This team was nearly unsuccessful until UEFA Euro 2016. Iceland became the smallest ever nation to qualify for a major tournament, but they didn’t settle for just a qualification. They defeated England (a good team) and advanced until the quarter finals. Now they are the smallest nation per population to qualify for a World Cup and, guess what?, today they played against the big Argentina.
They clearly were the underdogs, and everyone expected Argentina to thrash Iceland. Maybe today it wasn’t Leo Messi’s perfect day, maybe today the Argentinians had some difficulties in finding a team bond, I don’t know what happened honestly. What I know is that the cold Nordic country has showed us what “put yourself into play” means.
Thank you Iceland for striving to do your best. Thank you for not being disheartened by other people’s opinions. Thank you for pushing yourselves to the limit for these 90 minutes. Thank you for not feeling intimidated when you had to dribble Messi, and for showing the world that, no matter who your opponent is, you never have to give up. Thank you to Alfreð Finnbogason, who scored a wonderful goal, but thank you to all the others players as well. You showed us what “team play” means. When there was a chance to score, you tried to, even if your technical skills were poor compared to the ones of Argentina. And when Argentina was pressing, you played defense like if it was a matter of life and death. A special thanks goes to the goalkeeper, for keeping his nerve and for making fantastic saves (we can’t imagine how stressed he was during the Messi penalty, and well, perhaps Leo hasn’t kicked in the best way, but Halldórsson has done a good job and he has saved the goal).
Thank you guys, thank you for being bold and fierce, thank you for having put your heart in this match, thank you for having created some problems to Argentina (that wasn’t an easy task), thank you for having showed to the world that if people join forces and believe in what they are doing, they can do great things. This wasn’t just a 1-1 tie, this wasn’t just a football match.