16 Jul. 2019
After a commanding second half display against Chile, Iceland eventually won their opening match of the 2019 IHF Men’s Junior World Championship 26:19 (10:10). The Group D victory was inspired by 19 saves from Iceland’s goalkeeper Viktor Gisil Hallgrimsson who was named best player of the match.
Iceland captain, Ellidi Snaer Vidarsson spoke with IHF.info about getting their campaign underway, goalkeeper Hallgrimsson and what his team can achieve at Spain 2019.
IHF.info: After all of your preparation it must be good to finally get on court and start the world championship?
Ellidi Snaer Vidarsson: It’s just a relief [to start]. We had a long flight and trip over here so it’s great to have our first game. We have been training in Reykjavík for a few weeks now and went to Portugal for a tournament where we played Portugal, Argentina and Japan so we are ready for this. We didn’t start good today, but we are ready now.
IHF.info: As the captain of your country what does it feel like to line up at a world championship and sing your national anthem?
Ellidi Snaer Vidarsson: I felt just goose bumps; everyone was singing. It’s just great to hear everyone singing along themselves.
IHF.info: Against Chile you were behind for nearly all the first half and went into the break equal (10:10), but in the second half it completely changed. What did you do right or wrong and what was said at the break?
Ellidi Snaer Vidarsson: We just played the ball a little better, one more pass. And we played a lot better in defence. We were not always good in defence in the first half as not every single player was finishing [our plays]. It was just not good.
However, we woke up at 6am today, which is 4am Icelandic time so maybe we were not ready but it’s no excuse – it’s a world championship and you always have to be ready.
IHF.info: Tell us about your goalkeeper Viktor Gisil Hallgrimsson…
Ellidi Snaer Vidarsson: He’s just great. We are lucky to have him. He’s two years younger [than everybody] and it’s really good to have him on the team. He’s always smiling and he’s always happy so it’s great to be his teammate and friend.
IHF.info: You face Argentina next at Spain 2019 and said you played them recently, what do you know about them and how will you prepare for the game?
Ellidi Snaer Vidarsson: We know them a little bit. We are going to look at the old game (Iceland won 23:20) and also how they will play today through the videos.
It’s good to have the Argentina game next as when we played them (28 June), we did not play very good. It is also good that we played them in Portugal as we knew so little about them [before].
IHF.info: Your team finished seventh at the Men’s 20 EHF EURO last year, are you hoping for another top ten finish?
Ellidi Snaer Vidarsson: We want to go to the top eight, the quarter-finals but I think our preliminary group is the toughest group at Spain 2019. Denmark, Norway and Germany are all great teams, but I don’t know too much about Chile and Argentina, although when we played Argentina they were good and showed us they deserved to be here.
IHF.info: Can you describe the character of your Iceland team in one word?
Ellidi Snaer Vidarsson: Passion. It’s just passion. Every ball we jump for and take it. It’s just pure passion.
Photo: Juan Luis Recio/Spain 2019