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Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Iceland celebrates win; England drowned - Coach Roy Hodgson resigns - Cod war !!!!

The Allianz Riviera,  is a multi-use stadium in Nice, France, used for football matches of host OGC Nice and also for occasional home matches of rugby union club Toulon. The stadium has a capacity of 35,624 people.   Nice is the fifth most populous city in France and the capital of the Alpes Maritimes département.Located in the Côte d'Azur area on the south east coast of France on the Mediterranean Sea, Nice is the second-largest French city on the Mediterranean coast.  The city is called Nice la Belle which means Nice the Beautiful, which is also the title of the unofficial anthem of Nice, written by Menica Rondelly in 1912.
~ .. ..  and you thought : only games are played on such nice sporting arenas !

The Cod Wars were a series of confrontations between the United Kingdom and Iceland regarding fishing rights in the North Atlantic. Each of the disputes ended with Iceland's victory.  The final Cod War concluded with a highly favorable agreement for Iceland, as the United Kingdom conceded to a 200-nautical-mile (370-kilometre) Icelandic exclusive fishery zone following threats that Iceland would withdraw from NATO, which would have forfeited NATO's access to most of the GIUK gap, a critical anti-submarine warfare chokepoint during the Cold War.  The term "cod war" was coined by a British journalist in early September 1958. None of the Cod Wars meets any of the common thresholds for a conventional war, though, and they may more accurately be described as militarized interstate disputes. There is only one confirmed death during the Cod Wars: an Icelandic engineer killed in the Second Cod War. The invasion of Iceland, codenamed Operation Fork, was a British military operation conducted by the Royal Navy and Royal Marines during World War II. The invasion began in 10 May 1940 with British troops disembarking in Reykjavík, capital of neutral Iceland.   Iceland issued a protest, charging that the neutrality of Iceland had been "flagrantly violated" and "its independence infringed" and noting that compensation would be expected for all damage done.

It was a battle-cry delivered with a grin, in keeping with Iceland’s approach to Euro 2016, but it was a battle-cry nonetheless as joint-coach Heimir Hallgrimsson invoked the spirit of the Cod Wars ahead of his team’s second round clash against England. “This was the only time Iceland went to war,” Hallgrimsson, a practising dentist, said. “We are too small to have an army and lack manpower, so would be easily beaten rather quickly.   One needs to read all UK newspapers to understand the anguish and deep-rooted pain with which they decry their loss to Iceland.

As if the scenario needed any other parallels with last week's vote in which Britain chose to leave the European Union, England's coach, Roy Hodgson, announced his resignation after the upset loss, similar to David Cameron announcing he would abandon the prime minister's office.  Football is the most popular sport in Iceland, and viewing figures for the national team's EURO matches have been phenomenal. While around 9.3 million British viewers tuned in for England's game against Wales – some 14% or so of the population of Great Britain – over half of all Icelanders are estimated to have watched Iceland v Austria, representing 99.8% of the nation's television audience.

Trailing to Wayne Rooney's early penalty, Iceland tipped this round of 16 tie on its head with goals from centre-back Ragnar Sigurdsson – only his second in 60 internationals – and Kolbeinn Sigthórsson. The next chapter in the debutants' fairy-tale run is a date with the hosts. Ragnar Sigurdsson said Iceland didn't feel under any pressure against England in their 2-1 Euro 2016 round of 16 victory in Nice. The spot kick, awarded for keeper Hannes Halldórsson's foul on the recalled Raheem Sterling, was exactly the start Roy Hodgson's men craved. It was a fourth-minute goal to coax Iceland out of their shell. What followed next, though, was as remarkable as it was unexpected from Lars Lagerbäck and Heimir Hallgrímsson's team. First, Aron Gunnarsson hurled the ball in, Kári Árnason outjumped Rooney and the unmarked Ragnar Sigurdsson planted the ball past Joe Hart. What must have been relief for Iceland soon turned to ecstasy.

Another day, another surprising result for the English to digest: Iceland pulled off a historic upset in the Euro 2016 tournament Monday, sending England home with a 2-1 shocker. Iceland now becomes the smallest nation to reach the quarterfinals of the UEFA European Championship; next, it will face the host France in Paris. As the clock expired in regular time, Iceland's blue-clad players streaked across the turf to stand before their ecstatic fans. The newspapers write about the elimination..  For the second time in a week, England suffer an ignominious exit from Europe. They’ve been awful tonight and thoroughly deserved to lose. They look dazed, embarrassed, ashamed, angry and full of disbelief and self-loathing as they wander the field, not quite knowing what to do or where to go. This is a total humiliation and their fans are letting them know in no uncertain terms that they’re not best pleased with this result. Not since a distant World Cup, 66 years ago, have England suffered a humiliation as great as this. Beaten by Iceland – a nation with a population the size of Leicester, playing in their first international tournament. For Hodgson, this was the bitter end. His players were booed, individually and collectively, and there was none of the residue of goodwill felt at the end of the 2014 World Cup.

Still the tournament goes on and this is how the quarter-finals will line up:Poland v Portugal; Wales v Belgium; Germany v Italy; France v Iceland.

There have been around 10,000 Icelanders at each of the team's last two UEFA EURO 2016 games – not a huge number but massive for a nation of just 330,000. Those 10,000 fans represent around 3% of the population; if a similar proportion of the population of round of 16 opponents England came to France, there would be 1.59 million people backing Roy Hodgson's side, who resigned immediately after the loss !

With regards – S. Sampathkumar
28th June 2016.

@7.15 am – I could not watch the match, only got up to read about the match from various websites including UEFA official site.

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