MOSCOW, June 14 — Like most Germans, Liverpool coach Jurgen Klopp admits to being a big fan of Iceland as the minnows attempt to shock giants Argentina in their World Cup debut on Saturday.
The Icelanders captured the imagination at Euro 2016 in France, knocking out England in the last-16 before bowing out to hosts France in the quarter-finals.
Iceland open their Russia 2018 campaign against Lionel Messi’s Argentina in Moscow — and Klopp will be cheering them on.
“I was skiing in Iceland last summer. It was one of my best experiences of my life,” said Liverpool’s German boss. But how many people live there, 300,000? That’s incredible.
“It’s like the origin of football, like the origin of everything, that you do not need a lot of people, just the right ones, to make a big difference. They have achieved so much in football.”
Klopp is not the only German who will be supporting Iceland in Russia.
According to a recent poll in Germany, 76.8 per cent want to support the Icelanders at the World Cup — providing they do not meet their side in the knockout stages.
“People see a team that always goes to the max,” Iceland’s assistant coach Helgi Kolvidsson, 46, who used to play as a defender for Mainz, told SID, an AFP subsidiary.
“That a small country with so few players came so far is a little Cinderella fairytale.”
And Klopp would love nothing more than to see tiny Iceland lift the biggest prize in football by winning the World Cup.
“If Germany does not win, if England does not win, then Iceland can win — it would be the biggest sensation the sport has ever seen,” added Klopp. — AFP