Viral Videos: Iceland Soccer Team – ‘The Viking Clap’Last Updated: May 10, 2021
The Iceland team’s distinctive connection with fans during the 2016 UEFA European Championships—epitomised by their Viking Clap—was transformed by viral online video sharing into an iconic statement of survival against the odds, that has warmed the cockles of the hearts of committed and casual soccer lovers in all corners of the globe.
THE performance of Iceland’s national soccer team was the sensation of the 2016 UEFA European Championships. Drawn from a pool of just 331,733 inhabitants, the squad modestly managed some enormous upsets, including its defeat of the many-starred and lucrative English national team.
The power of online sharing has made the Icelanders’ Viking Clap ritual a signature for gritty defiance, grace and dignity in the face of apparently insurmountable budgetary and bookmakers’ odds. Clips such as the above helped to make the Viking Clap a globally recognised trademark on a par with New Zealand rugby’s iconic ‘haka’ wardance.
Within a week of the victory over England, the Viking Clap had assumed iconic status, and below is an epic performance of the ritual by 10,000 fans who gathered in Reykjavik to welcome home their heroes, incredibly, after a 5-2 defeat by France.
It’s a great example of low-cost tipping point virality—the Icelanders introduced a new ritual that they made even more appealing through their sheer likability and the utter dignity and determination of their performances, and online sharing transformed it something at once utterly Icelandic and globally recognisable and beloved.
There is a lesson in that story for all of us…