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Rediff.com  » Sports » World Cup diary: Iceland fans show their Viking spirit

World Cup diary: Iceland fans show their Viking spirit

June 21, 2018 17:16 IST

Kristbjorn Hilmir Kjartansson (right) and Gretar Jonsson, Iceland's supporters, pose for a picture with their Lada after a journey from home to Russia to watch their team at the FIFA World Cup on Wednesday

IMAGE: Kristbjorn Hilmir Kjartansson (right) and Gretar Jonsson, Iceland's supporters, pose for a picture with their Lada after a journey from home to Russia to watch their team at the FIFA World Cup on Wednesday. Photograph: Ueslei Marcelino/Reuters

Two Iceland fans have paid homage to the spirit of the Vikings by travelling 5,000km (3,107 miles) in a Russian-built Lada to support their team at the World Cup.

Postal service worker Kristbjorn Hilmir Kjartansson and his friend Gretar Jonsson, a film student, took 14 days to make the trip from Reykjavik to Volgograd.

"It's the spirit of adventure," Jonsson said as he showed off the car near the Volgograd Arena on Wednesday.

 

"You know the Vikings were great explorers, sailors and fighters, so we have a little bit of their desire to have an adventure... it's crazy but it's so much fun."

The pair, both 30, painted the car in the red, white and blue colours of their national team before taking a ferry from Iceland to Denmark.

They then drove south to Germany, crossed through Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and finally reached Moscow, where they watched Iceland hold twice world champions Argentina to a 1-1 draw on Saturday. They then drove south to Volgograd ahead of their team's second game against Nigeria on Friday.

Kjartansson dreamt up the idea of attending the World Cup after winning the Lada - which fittingly sports a logo depicting a Viking sailing ship - in a competition run by a travel agency.

There has only been one hiccup during the journey, when the car's engine overheated in the middle of Moscow.

A group of locals, however, quickly helped fix the problem. The pair aim to drive to Rostov-on-Don for Iceland's last Group D game against Croatia before heading home.

Dive, dive, dive! Benteke pokes fun at VAR

Crystal Palace's Christian Benteke

IMAGE: Crystal Palace's Christian Benteke. Photograph: Paul Childs/Action Images via Reuters

Christian Benteke missed out on travelling to Russia with Belgium's World Cup squad but he still got involved in the debate over video refereeing at the tournament -- from his holiday swimming pool.

"Do we need VAR to check if this is a dive or not? #WorldCup," the CrystalPalace striker asked on Twitter along with a video of him plunging into the water.

Then he posted: "VAR say it was a dive!" over a doctored photograph showing a Video Assistant Referee (VAR) room at the World Cup reviewing screenshots of the Belgian's acrobatics.

It has been a painful subject for Benteke, who narrowly failed to make his country's squad for Russia.

He was notably accused by his current club of diving to secure a stoppage-time penalty that handed Liverpool a Premier League win in March, 2016 and left Palace dangerously close to relegation.

Source:
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