For a country with a population of only 340,000 – more or less equal to the London Borough of Ealing – qualifying for this year’s Fifa World Cup was a miracle. It is the smallest-ever country to participate, and in its first match, it managed to hold Argentina to a 1-1 draw. 99.6% of Iceland’s TV viewers tuned in to watch the game, making it the most-viewed sporting event in the country’s history.
“They really are crazy about football,” says Matteo de Mayda, an Italian photographer who travelled to Iceland with journalist Cosimo Bizzarri earlier this year to document the sport in Iceland. “It’s a miracle for them to be at the World Cup, and a miracle to draw against Argentina.”