A few weeks back England crashed dismally out of the European Championship in France at the expense of the tournament minnows Iceland who, we were repeatedly informed during the television coverage of the match, had a population of just over 300,000 people, the same as Walsall or something. The consternation in the TV studio from the presenter and pundits seemed mildly elitist. While I was disappointed at England’s exit as a fan, I was also quite proud of Iceland and their team spirit, hard work and confidence. If truth be told Iceland were the better team and deserved to progress.
What was all the more newsworthy about the defeat was the fact that Iceland had never reached a major tournament before. In the build-up to the tournament much was made of the expansion of its format to include more qualifiers.