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Iceland’s ‘Small’ Mindset

Iceland's development pathway has been the focus of debate following the tiny nation's showing at Euro 2016. But underpinning all the investment is an intangible thread, which recently came under attack from one of the world’s best players: their mindset. In light of the comments made by Cristiano Ronaldo and others about the Icelandic mindset, Jon Hoggard looks to unpick how the national team’s mentality has been formed by the country and shaped by recent investment.


In qualifying for Euro 2016, Iceland became the smallest nation to ever to make it to a major tournament. Their success – as qualification and progression to the quarter-finals can only be seen as such considering the size of the country – has been long in the development, however,  following a significant, expensive improvement in infrastructure and coaching.

That Icelandic football has had large financial input into their infrastructure is not in question. Before the 2008 banking crisis, which had severe economic and politic consequences, the period of cheap loans allowed a large number of indoor pitches to be constructed, which changed football from...

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