The photo above shows the Icelandic team saluting their fans after beating England by 2 goals to 1 at Euro 2016. The Icelandic fans in turn returned the compliment by “thunder clapping”. There were apparently 30,000 Icelandic fans following their team during Euro 2016. For a country with a population of only 300,000, that means 1 in 10 of their whole population was in France. There was about 10,000 Icelandic fans inside the Nice Riviera stadium and despite being outnumbered 3 to 1 by the English fans, they made the more noise during the game. Up until recently, Iceland was regarded as a football minnow but after beating England at Euro 2016, they will never be under-estimated again. For this was a thunderclap that was heard around the world.
England 1 – Iceland 2. Iceland had started poorly and conceded a penalty after only 4 minutes. When Wayne Rooney tucked this away, you feared for Iceland for the rest of the game. But Iceland reacted calmly to the early setback and within 15 minutes, had taken the lead. Their first goal was as the result of a long throw in while their second was as a result of quick fire passing on the edge of the penalty box. Their tactic of playing the high line and pressing the English midfielders led to numerous other chances for Iceland in the first half. At half time, Jamie Vardey was introduced and his speed meant England were more of a threat at the start of the 2nd half. But as the clock ticked down, England started to panic and were very wasteful in the last 15 minutes. With 5 minute to go, Rashford was brought on and he was very effective at running at the Icelandic defence but it was all a bit too little too late and England were unable to equalize.
Full time in England – Iceland game at Euro 2016. I had watched the Iceland – England game at a campsite in Bourg Saint Maurice in the French Alps and there was a lot of clapping and cheering around the campsite when the referee blew the final whistle. Obviously, the French like the English as much as the Irish do and the locals were delighted to be playing Iceland in the quarter final rather than England. The game was shown in France on the M6 channel and there was a lot of glee at England’s demise also on their after match show, L’Apres Match.
L’Apres Match TV show. The show was presented by Davide Ginola and Nathalie Renoux and they had 3 pundits in the studio, one of whom was William Gallas, the ex-French defender. Davide Ginola was looking well for a man who had suffered a heart attack and then a quadruple heart bypass operation only a month earlier. The L’Apres Match show went on for over an hour and featured highlights from Iceland – England, a look ahead to France – Iceland and also highlights of Spain’s defeat by Italy earlier that day. Their main feature was about Antoine Griezmann after his outstanding performance during the 2nd half against Ireland when he could have scored 5 goals.
3D holographic interview with the Iceland captain, Ragnar Sigurosson. However, the most impressive part of L’Apres Match was the 3D holographic interviews with some of the Icelandic players. They had a small green studio set up in the stadium in Nice and were able to project a live 3D image of the players into the TV studio in Paris in front of Ginola and Nathalie. All the interviews were in English with the Icelandic players and also with their Swedish joint manager Lars Lagerback. No English players or pundits were interviewed though a reporter did speak to some English fans outside the stadium. The show ended with video clips of French fans singing Griezmann’s On Fire and the Icelandic commentator describing Iceland’s 2nd goal against England. The presentation overall on L’Apres Match was very slick and way ahead of any coverage I watched in either Belgium or Switzerland.
Logo for French TV station M6. The TV rights in France for Euro 2016 are shared between M6, TF1 and BeIn Sports. By beating England., Iceland were due to play France in their next game in Paris the following Sunday. This game was due to be shown on M6 but the 3 other quarter finals were being covered by TF1. The first semi-final (Portugal – Wales) was shown on M6 and 2nd semi-final (France – Germany) was on TF1. However, M6 had exclusive terrestrial free-to-air rights in France to the final between France and Portugal. All games in Euro 2016 were being shown on BeIn Sports in France but this channel is similar to Sky Sports and only available on a subscription to either satellite or cable TV. The broadcasting rights for Euro 2016 in other countries around Europe varied considerably. For example in Ireland, all 51 games in Euro 2016 were shown on terrestrial free-to-air TV (RTE and TV3) whereas in Italy, only about half the games were on terrestrial TV (RAI) and the rest were only available via satellite and cable TV (Sky Italia).