Augsburg professional Alfred Finnbogason on football in Iceland and the World Cup qualification against Germany


SPORTBUZZER: Alfred Finnbogason, how can Iceland create a surprise against Germany?


Of course, I can’t reveal our secret (laughs). We have to deliver a top game. In the past few years we have often caused surprises. If we act as a team and Germany isn’t having its best day, we have a chance because our team has faith.

How has Icelandic football improved over the past few years?

About 15 or 20 years ago the conditions started to get significantly better. My generation is the first to really benefit from it. There are now artificial turf halls so you can train all year round. The weather in Iceland during winter is not ideal for playing football outside. You can see that we’re getting better players now. This can also be seen in the results over the past few years.

Is football lived more intensely in your country than elsewhere?

Football is the number one sport in Iceland. The IN 2016 and the WM 2018 have given another boost. Since then, even more young people want to play football. If you had said 20 years ago that Iceland was going to a World Cup, people would have said you were crazy. But now we have shown that it is possible.

Where does Icelandic football need to improve?

Our biggest problem is something that we can hardly change: the population is not large, only 350,000 people live in Iceland. Accordingly, we don’t have the broadest squad. When two or three players fail, it’s a huge problem. We don’t have that many high-level players. Then maybe players who play in Iceland will follow suit.

Would it be all the more important that more Icelandic professionals get into the big leagues?

In any case. In the past few years there has been a tendency for the talented players to go to England, Denmark or the Netherlands at the age of 16, 17. There they have better conditions to develop. But there are also players who play in Iceland for a few years and then take the step. Unlike in Germany, there are no youth training centers in Iceland. Everyone who wants to train is allowed to train. The clubs do not reject players.

Does Joachim Löw’s farewell announcement play a role in Thursday’s game?

Difficult to assess. The quality of the German team is still there – regardless of whether the coach quits or not. Only in retrospect will you see the significance of Löw’s decision. If Germany wins the three games, everyone says it was a great relief for the players, they act more freely. If they lose, it will have a negative impact. It doesn’t really matter to us.

Qualification for the World Cup in Qatar starts against Germany and is viewed very critically. What is your opinion on the tournament?

To be honest, I don’t want to get involved too much. There is a lot of different news from Qatar. It was decided that it would be played there and a lot has to be done for that to be reversed.

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Augsburg professional Alfred Finnbogason football Iceland World Cup qualification Germany


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