‘Will swim around Iceland if country wins Euro 2016’- Yannick Agnel
Reykjavik, June 30: France’s Olympic 200m freestyle champion Yannick Agnel said he would swim around Iceland — a distance of 2,008km or 1,247 miles — if Heimir Hallgrimsson’s side wins the European Championship finals.
Having stunned England with a 2-1 shock victory in the last 16, Iceland now turns its sights on hosts France for a place in the semifinals. They face the French in Paris on Sunday in the quarterfinals and another upset result would take Agnel a step closer to his chilly mammoth dip.
Hallgrimsson, who combines his role as co-coach alongside Lars Lagerback with his job as a dentist in Iceland, could only smile when asked about the Frenchman’s promise.
“I wouldn’t recommend it, but that is possible, although he’ll have to pick the right weather,” said the Iceland coach.
Euro 2016 fever has gripped the tiny North Atlantic nation and 10 per cent of their 330,000 population is in France supporting their team. With swelling numbers of Iceland fans set to descend on Paris for Sunday’s match at the Stade de France, some media have dubbed it ‘the continuing Viking invasion’.
The last time Vikings came to Paris, France’s modern-day capital was held under siege from 885-886 after Nordic warriors sailed up the Seine.
Hallgrimsson says Sunday’s next invasion of Paris by Nordic football fans promises to be a much more peaceful affair, when asked by a French reporter.
“I have to be honest, I know nothing about the Viking invasion of Paris, it couldn’t have been many of them and maybe they were Swedish,” he said with a grin.