Much for Lions to learn from Iceland

I hope our Lions were watching as Iceland drew in their World Cup opening match with Argentina (Messi messes up as Iceland roar in draw; June 17).

Argentina, with a population of more than 44 million, is fifth on the Fifa world rankings list and has won the World Cup twice, being one of only eight teams in the world to have won the Cup.

In comparison, Iceland has a population of around 337,000, ranks 22nd in the world and is appearing in the World Cup for the first time.

Their sheer determination in shutting out the Argentinians, who were led by one of the greatest players in the world, was plain to see.

The Latin Americans were no doubt dominant, but the Icelandic defence held firm, never giving their opponents room to play their usual game.

The Iceland coach was constantly scribbling furiously, analysing and plotting his next move while his players followed what was laid down to the letter.

There is much Singapore's national side can learn from this match.

It is time our local coaches and players raise their game and draw inspiration from the best.

This World Cup will provide just that opportunity.

Perhaps, in future, we can make it to being among the best in Asia and qualify for the World Cup.

There will have to be a lot of blood, sweat and tears shed, but nothing is impossible.

Manoraj Rajathurai

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 21, 2018, with the headline 'Much for Lions to learn from Iceland'. Print Edition | Subscribe