When Iceland beat England at football in Euro 2016 it sent shockwaves through the country. And when their fans did the war cry, was I the only one to be both frightened, and a little bit turned on by it?
I decided to do some research, to try and make sense of it all. Despite the country having a population roughly the size of the city of Leicester, it all makes sense now. I totally get why they beat us.
1. It's customary for babies to be left outside to sleep in Iceland. In sub zero temperatures.
I didn't know this until now, but this is very much the culture in Nordic countries. For example, one researcher found that -5 degrees Celsius was acknowledged by parents in Finland as the best temperature for an outdoor nap, but some parents she spoke to even put their children out at -30C! Babies are often left alone outside to nap, from as little as two weeks old. You can read all about it here. It's widely believed that fresh air (even sub zero air) is good for babies and keeps them healthy.
2. Icelanders live to an average age of 82, which is 10 years older than the global average.
Translation: An Icelander is as hard as nails, and probably killed a polar bear before his first birthday. It's a bit like the story of Samson and the snake. A hungry, curious bear gets too close to a baby's pram and then has a nasty surprise. "Ain't waking up for you, home boy." *Thwack*
3. This isn't the first time Icelanders made British people cry.
Viking explorers discovered the island in the late 9th century, taking slaves from Britain and settling there. Technically then, most of the Iceland football team are directly descended from from Vikings, who also conquered most of England during Anglo-Saxon times.
Let's not forget, they stole most of the gold in England and trashed our monasteries, so I think we got off pretty lightly with a 2-1 beating. They came here to take our land and cattle, and settle, and raise families and farms.
Many of us, myself included, are descended from Vikings. My surname, Oram, derives from orm, an Old Norse word used to describe a serpent, snake or dragon - much like the figureheads they had on their ships.
4. Vikings also stole many of our women and had their wicked way with them.
Times were different during the Viking invasions. Our guys prayed a lot, and were generally quite weak and God-fearing. But they had all the cool gods, like Thor, and found it very strange when they were pillaging our churches while monks prayed for them to stop.
I'm sure that when the Icelandic heart throb, Birkir Bjarnason, was rampaging up and down the pitch against England, many a football widow suddenly felt her mind wandering while her partner knelt down in front of the TV praying for the Viking torture scenes to stop.
There are worse people to be captured by if you're a Saxon peasant girl. You wouldn't exactly want Wayne Rooney as your protector judging by his last performance. So if times were different and Birkir rocked up, decapitated Wayne and then took you over to the furs, I guess you wouldn't mind too much.
5. Judging by their surnames, they even sound like they will cause you pain.
If you're going to lose to a small country at football, you at least want them to sound like they're handy with an axe. With a Gunnarsson, Skúlason, and Sigurðsson they have some of the deadliest names in football. The coup de grace? They have a Ragnar on the team.
6. Finally, this war cry is truly bone chilling, and probably the best fan chant in the world.
Watch that video. If you can find me a better fan chant to represent your country in any sport in the world, then I will buy you a pint. Funnily enough, it's been used for years by the fans of Motherwell FC in Scotland. The story goes, that a team from Iceland played them in the Europa League in 2014 and the Icelanders loved it so much that they asked their permission to use it when supporting the national team - and the request was granted!
France have just knocked Iceland out of the cup, and even though they lost 5-2, they played with guts and spirit to the very end. Well done, Iceland. I'm sure I'm not the only one who will be over the moon if you qualify for the World Cup in Russia in 2018!
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