BERNAT LÓPEZ / ©XTREM FOOTBALL
Iceland made their World Cup debut on Saturday against Lionel Messi’s Argentina and the viewership figures in the country showed how much it mattered to the Icelanders. According to the figures by Football Association of Iceland, 99.6% of the country’s population of about 335.000 who were watching TV had their eyes glued on one channel that telecasted the Group D match.
After stealing everyone’s hearts at Euro 2016 where they gave a hard time to Portugal captain Cristiano Ronaldo, Iceland made their debut at World Cup against 2014 runner-ups Argentina. The team as well as their fans, with their interesting profiles and stories, have garnered a lot of interest from the entire world. From the Viking Clap to the players having side jobs, the story of Iceland keeps getting better.
FC Augsburg striker Alfreð Finnbogason, who scored Iceland’s goal on Saturday to earn their point from Argentina, joked on social media that the other 0.4% of Iceland’s population were on the pitch at the time.
The match also proved popular in the US. Nielsen Media Research ratings for Fox Sports showed it to be the most-watched match of the tournament so far, with an average of 2.9m viewers. Iceland next face Nigeria and then Croatia in their remaining two group games.
“Finnbogason joked on social media that the other 0.4% of Iceland’s population were on the pitchat the time”Iceland
Iceland also came out in full force to watch his national squad when they made their major tournament debut in Euro 2016. Iceland had a historic 2-1 victory over England during the tournament, and 99.8 percent of TV viewers tuned in.
Iceland kick started their World Cup campaign with a 1-1 drawagainst Argentina, who took the lead courtesy Sergio Aguero before Finbogason equalised just two minutes later. Lionel Messi had the chance to put Argentina in the lead in the second half but he missed his third penalty in national colours while Iceland defenders hounded the Argentine attackers to ensure that they do not end up on the losing side.