Iceland used to have problems with drugs, but now everyone loves it.
We scared them by the police, showed scary pictures of smoked lungs
June 2, 1993, Reykjavik. The Icelandic national team takes the Russian team and pulls out a 1: 1 draw. The result suits everyone: the Icelanders did not give up to the Russians who were strong at that time, and ours more than a year before the start of the World Cup-94 took home the most important tournament on Icelandic land. No one yet knows that there they will not leave the group, but will forever go down in history thanks to the five balls of Salenko at the gates of Cameroon.
October 14, 1998, Reykjavik. This time Iceland beats Russia thanks to the anecdotal goal of Kovtun and the removal of debutant Smertin. We are practically losing our chances of reaching the Euro 2000, Oleg Romantsev’s miracle returns hope, but the tragic Filimonov blunders make the 78-thousand “Luzhniki” cry. Icelanders are also fighting for joints until the last round, they even slaughtered the French twice on the Stade de France, but still remain fourth.
Icelanders ended up in the play-offs, but much later – before the 2014 Brazilian World Cup. At the same time, in the 90s, the world turned their attention to the team that they were underfoot at France, Russia and Ukraine in qualifying, and admired the brilliant album of the Homogenic Icelandic singer Björk, who tore off the European charts. In Iceland itself, things were just awful. Especially in the time interval between two matches with Russia. Covered stadiums against destruction
Then they even started talking about the fact that the Icelandic nation after a while may simply degenerate. The cult of alcohol and drugs replaced all ideals for young people, and the numbers became threatening. By 1998, the percentage of 15–16-year-olds who consumed alcohol at least once a month was 42%, smokers (of the same age) —23%, and those who tried drugs — 17%. “We frightened them with police, showed scary pictures of smoked lungs, but all of this didn’t work alone,” recalled Jon Sigfusson, who was engaged in social research at the Reykjavik Institute. “We needed to completely change the environment.” Actually needed a three-way attack.
Those who worked with young people studied everything that happens in their world: trends, innovations, interests – everything to be with teenagers on the same wavelength. Parents were forced to spend more time with the children, they were called upon to thoroughly know what they were doing, and recommended to negotiate with adolescents to come home earlier and not walk at night. The third and most important part of the plan – young people are actively attracted to the sport.
She was the hardest. For a tiny Icelandic budget, to decide on the mass construction of sites – testing, Especially in cold climates, above all, covered sites are needed. And no one understood how the funded system would work – for good studies and success in sports for teenagers, points were added to plastic cards, which at the end of the school year could be exchanged for sports equipment or equipment.
To say that the results of the reform met expectations – to say nothing at all. Even “repeatedly surpassed” will not work. The results were simply enchanting: after 15 years, the level of alcohol consumption by adolescents dropped to 5%, smoking – up to 3%, now no one was interested in drugs at all. Alcoholic beverage sales fell by a third across the country.
And the most amazing: the cost of health care fell by a third. People just got sick less!
Sick Icelanders have become a sport. Now in a small country there are 30 stadiums with artificial turf, a hundred and fifty small arenas for playing football, almost a thousand coaches with a UEFA license. Everything turned upside down – people became interested in football and began to attract children to it, clubs began to develop coaches who are happy to borrow all the best practices from Europe and the world. There are now more than 20,000 registered footballers in the country, and as many as 12% (according to other sources, over 16%) of the country’s population are engaged in football. The match with England at the Euro was watched by 99.8% of the country’s inhabitants – a record that is almost impossible to beat. Many have a goal. They no longer feel unnecessary and abandoned when the way to the bottle and syringe was extremely short.
The first notable successes in football occurred in 2011. In the youth Euro (U-21) in the group, where the Icelandic national team played, the first place was taken by the Swiss from Shakiri, and Belarus, Iceland and Denmark fought for the second, giving the right to reach the semi-finals. All three teams finished the tournament with three points and a 3: 5 difference (!), But the Belarusians went further because of the best goal difference in the competitors’ games. Belarus eventually took away the bronze, but on a serious level of those heroes in general, no one played. Icelanders, who have already performed well, at least six from that tournament will soon be blown up by Euro 2016. Well, and who did not watch the youth championship and did not meet with future Icelandic stars, he was entertained by watching the celebrations of the heads of Icelandic football players “Styarnan”. At the beginning of the decade it was very creative and fresh.