On Saturday, the Icelandic national soccer team played Argentina in the group stages of the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The game took place in Russia, but more than 40 fans of Iceland’s team watched the game in Portland’s Ri Ra Irish Pub.
“I would say at least 40 to 50 people came today,” said Petur Petersen, a native of Iceland.
He says he just became a U.S. citizen about a week ago, but still roots for Iceland, which is the smallest country — population-wise — to qualify for the World Cup tournament. During the FOX Sports broadcast of the Iceland-Argentina game Saturday morning, the announcer even compared Iceland to Maine because of its similar land mass.
The U.S., which has more than 325 million people compared to Iceland’s approximately 325,000, did not qualify for the World Cup.
Just spoke with fans of Iceland who watched the #WorldCupRussia2018 match against Argentina at @RiRaPortland. They say they are proud of their team’s effort. The game ended in a 1-1 draw. pic.twitter.com/qye1h7cbs7
— Taylor Cairns (@TaylorWGME) June 16, 2018
“There’s hundreds of thousands of people in Iceland right now watching. There’s not that many here, so it’s so wonderful that so many of our friends came and supported us and were with us,” Petersen said.
The group was a mixture of Iceland natives, fans, and friends of people who either live or are from the country. They say they will be back for the next game.
“I like our chances for the next couple games. We played well today,” said Petersen.
Iceland finished the game in a 1-1 draw, an encouraging finish against an international powerhouse like Argentina, which features superstar Lionel Messi.
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