They’re both seven-letter island nations that end with “land.” Yet one of these nations was considered fortunate just to be at the European Championship and the other was, if not quite bound for glory, at least a contender.
Then Iceland beat England 2-1.
Here are some numbers and trivia to help put this brain-melting result in proper perspective.
Previous Meeting Between England and Iceland: England 6-1 in 2004.
Population of England: 53 million
Population of Iceland: 323,002
English Cities Larger Than Iceland: London, Manchester, Birmingham, Liverpool… it goes on.
Odds of playing for England if you’re male and 20-40: roughly 1 in over 300,000.
Odds of playing for Iceland if you’re male and 20-40: 1 in 2,000.
Greatest English Footballer: Probably Sir Bobby Charlton (Man U legend who helped team to its first European Championship and only World Cup).
Greatest Icelandic Footballer: Eiður Smári Guðjohnsen (played for Chelsea and Barcelona before winding up at Norway’s Molde F.C. and is on the national team at 37).
Most Famous English Footballer: He of the ubiquitous underwear ads, David Beckham.
Most Famous Icelandic Footballer: Going with Eiður again.
First English Appearance at European Championship: 1968.
First Icelandic Appearance at European Championship: You’re watching it.
First English Appearance at World Cup: 1950.
First Icelandic Appearance at World Cup: Still to come.
Is England’s Manager a Practicing Dentist? No.
Is Iceland’s Manager a Practicing Dentist? Yes. (Well, one is: Heimir Hallgrimsson concedes he has “scaled it down” in the wake of the team’s success.)
Did England’s Manager Resign After the Game? Yes.
Did Iceland’s Manager Resign After the Game? Heimir and Lars Lagerbeck are still on the job.
Greatest Moment for English National Team So Far: 1966 World Cup title.
Greatest Moment for Icelandic National Team So Far: It just happened, baby.