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Iceland smites soccer giants with Thor-powered tweets

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Iceland's Kari Arnason celebrates after the victorious match.

Iceland's Kari Arnason celebrates after the victorious match. 

Credit:

Charles Platiau/Reuters

It all starts with a warning.

And it keeps getting better.

The Reykjavík Grapevine's Twitter feed has become a gold mine for the Euro 2016 soccer tournament — a mix of ancient Icelandic culture with old-fashioned trash talk. The result has the world laughing and falling in love with Iceland.

The person behind the English-language magazine's Twitter presence is John Rogers. He's an English immigrant who lives in Reykjavík. And he says the tone of the tweets wasn't pre-planned or part of any social strategy for covering the tournament. 

"It was all very spontaneous," says Rogers. "When the match started I just opened Twitter and could feel the atmosphere downtown, and I just decided to use this slightly Viking parody with a booming voice."

The feed really got going during a match that pitted underdog Iceland against powerhouse Portugal. The teams played to draw. Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo, one of the best players in the world, left the field pouting.

Perfect fodder for the feed. 

You can read the tweets as a love letter to a national team punching above its weight. Iceland is a tiny Nordic nation going up against the soccer giants of Europe. But the entire country is behind the team. After a dramatic late victory over Austria on Wednesday, fans held an impromptu carnival in downtown Reykjavík. Even the mayor is losing his head over the victories. 

The gods are also being rewarded. Rogers asked for people from around the world to offer up beer and food sacrifices to the god Odin as a way to help Iceland's team. "We got hundreds of responses," he says. 

Iceland will play mighty England in the next round. Rogers thinks it will be an interesting game. "We'll see if England, with their superior technical skill can stand up against Iceland's superior passion," he says. 

Iceland are once again the underdogs. But as we now know, they've got a not-so-secret weapon: Thor.

Best of luck, Wayne Rooney.

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