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09th Jun 2018

Iceland player takes aim at British football, saying ‘it’s just launching the ball forward’

He's had enough of playing hoofball

Reuben Pinder

He’s fed up of it

It’s been two years since Iceland knocked England out of the European Championships. It was their first international tournament, but their rigid, organised 4-4-2 system proved very difficult to break down. You could compare their style to that of Burnley, or most teams in the EFL and Scotland.

You’d presume that most Icelandic players were all very keen on this style of play, given the success it has brought them, but Kári Árnason has recently taken aim at the ‘British’ style of football, more specifically, Scottish football.

Árnason has spent the past year in the Scottish Premiership playing for Aberdeen, but doesn’t fancy another year in Scotland, and says the style of play is the main reason.

He told BBC Scotland: “We’ll see what happens in the World Cup. I’m open to anything, apart from British football. I don’t think I’ve got another season in me there.”

It’s just the way football is played; they need to get with the times,” he said. “They need to pass more and try to keep the ball.

“The teams I’ve played for, it’s been too hectic. It’s just launching the ball forward as far as you can and trying to head the ball as far as you can.

“You can be successful at that, but it takes a lot out of you. At 35, I’m ready for something else.”

Árnason is excited to be playing in his first World Cup at the ripe old age of 35, but will face the daunting task of stopping Argentina and Lionel Messi in Iceland’s first group game, a task he described as  “an interesting match-up, especially coming from the Scottish league where you play against Hamilton Accies, with all due respect to them”.

He also believes that Iceland have moved forward since 2016 and no longer have to play in the same way. “At the Euros, we used a rigid 4-4-2. Now we are more adaptable and use a different set-up and different tactics for each individual game”, he said.