In case anyone hasn’t noticed, Iceland is playing England in the Euro 2016 Cup today, round of 16.
This is the first time Iceland has been in a major football tournament, the first time, obviously, they have progressed to the second stage, and as I write this they are unbeaten in tournament play.
Iceland has a population of just over 330,000.
It is about half the size of Wyoming, both in area and population.
For perspective, the mens’ football team is drawn approximately from the 21-37 year old demographic, which has about 65,000 people in it. Or about 33,000 males.
The football squad has about 20 players, so the chance of someone in Iceland being on the national football team at any given time is about 1/1,500.
Your prior odds of making the national team growing up are order 0.1%, given turnover in the squad etc.
Now think about the fact that there are multiple national squads in different sports and activities and Iceland tries to represent fully at the international level…
A typical male in their early 20s tends to have a social network of about 1-200 people. These are relatives, friends, classmates and teammates.
There will be some overlap among the national team members, but as a good approximation, 10% of the population of Iceland are part of the national teams social network.
That is 1/10th of the country are the friends, relatives, lovers or co-workers of the football team.
Not coincidentally, about a 1/10th of the population of Iceland has gone to France for the Euros, a significant fraction of them are in the stands at any given time.
Enough were there that it significantly reduced the turnout for the Presidential Election this week when Iceland advanced out of the groups to the elimination rounds!
Icelands is unbeaten, England has never lost to Iceland.
Maybe it will come to penalties…
PS: well, that was a jolly Good Game.