A Valley News Publication

From Greg Fennell in a column published Saturday about Noi and his family watching the draw in their Hanover home on Friday (Noi’s parents immigrated from Iceland):

Both of Gudbjartsson’s and Magnadottir’s boys received school permission to watch Friday’s draw at home. Noi, a Ray School fifth-grader, donned an Iceland jersey for the moment; Isak relaxed with him on a couch while Dad watched from the kitchen. (Mom could stay only 15 minutes before heading to work.) All patiently waited through a half-hour of speeches, performances and introductions before the reveal.


Noi clutched a pillow to his chest and Isak, normally a chatty sort, remained quiet through the festivities, but both responded favorably to Iceland’s assignment. So did Gudbjartsson, who pumped a gentle fist when the country’s name finally came up.


“I’m just happy because we know how Croatia plays and we beat them (in qualifying),” Isak said. “Argentina is really good. … If we can get into that second spot (in the group) and go into the lower-side bracket in eliminations, we can probably get further than that.”


“I think we’re going to win this,” Noi remarked. “That’s all that’s on my mind. If we get beaten, I’ll still be happy for the Icelandic people and the team because they did well and got into their first World Cup.”