Intimidating sports chants

06-Jul-2015 10:45

The chant was so popular among fans at the tournament that others started to copy it.

The Vikings (of Minnesota) acknowledged their debt to Iceland, with the captain of the country’s soccer team, Aron Gunnarsson, appearing in videos to teach American fans how to do it. Gunnarsson described seeing the Viking chant co-opted by another sport with a huge fanbase—Minnesota’s US Bank Stadium has a capacity equal to a fifth of Iceland’s total population—as “special.” So does the chant hail back to the glory days of the Norse raiders, when Erik the Red was exiled from Iceland for murder and went on to discover new lands to pillage? Its origins come from modern-day provincial Scotland, by way of a moronic film adaption of a comic book about war in ancient Greece.

The war cry will get an airing once again in the Euro 2016 quarter-finals on Sunday, when Iceland take on the hosts, France, at the Stade de France.

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The supporters' intimidating chant, believed by many to be a Viking war cry, has reverberated around France's stadiums.

It begins with a slow handclap and an accompanying shout of "huh" before gradually gathering pace to fill the air and regularly silence opposition fans.

Fans of Iceland’s national soccer team introduced the rhythmic clapping and chanting in France during the summer’s European championship.

Eerie and intimidating, it got a lot of airtime during Iceland’s exhilarating, England-humiliating run to the quarter-finals.

With almost 10,000 supporters in France, the battle cry's impact has been described as "seismic" and likened to the haka performed by the New Zealand rugby team."Like the oars of a Gokstad ship building up to a battle-like momentum - when the synchronised clap and 'Huh' rise to a spine-tingling crescendo - Iceland is inspired and the opposition frozen," says the Irish Times."Iceland’s thunder-clap may fit the mould of an old Viking war cry - but it is in fact a celebration with Scottish roots," says the paper.The chant was picked up from Motherwell supporters in the Scottish Premiership just a couple of years ago."Fans of Stjarnan - a Reykjavik-based side who play in the country's highest league - fell in love with the chant during a trip to Motherwell in 2014," explains the Daily Mail."The mighty chant, which has no Viking origin, has apparently been performed on the terraces at Fir Park, in North Lanarkshire, for years."The slow handclap is part of Mothewell's own take on the well-known terrace chant, When I Was Young, but it so impressed the travelling Icelandic fans that they adopted it and it quickly became popular with the national side.