UEFA Women’s EURO 2017 kicked off in the Netherlands on July 16th. Sandra Sigurðardóttir is one of the goal keepers of the Icelandic national team that is participating in the championship and will be going against France tonight. Sandra has played football since she was five years old, but what got her started?
“I lived in Siglufjörður, a small town in the north of Iceland, and there was not much to do there so I started playing football like all the other kids.”
How do you feel now, at the start of the European Championship?
“I’m feeling fine, there is great anticipation in the group and the players are in top form, both physically and mentally. And our preparations for the tournament have been good.”
Do you think the team has a good chance to go far in this tournament?
“Totally. We have a great team and if everything works out for us we have a good chance of going far in this championship.”
How is the morale in the team?
“It’s excellent. We have a great mixture of players of different age and different characteristics which all contribute in their own way to the good atmosphere in the group.”
“We are getting more and more coverage in the media and it’s getting more professional and thorough than it used to be. It’s getting much better.”
Some of your best players have suffered injuries lately, do you think that will affect your possibilities to go far in the tournament?
“It should not affect our possibilities, no. Of course we have lost outstanding players to injuries, but then others come in and have to step up and show what they are made of.”
The teams first game is against France which have a very strong team, are you hopeful you can beat them?
“Of course we have to approach every game believing we can win it, no matter who the opponent is. We just have to focus on our own playing technique and if that is good we can beat anyone.”
Sandra is living with Hafdís Inga Hinriksdóttir and they have two children, Birta Laufey is twelve years old and Ágúst Kári is four. Will they be in The Netherlands to support her?
“Yes, my partner and my children will be there the whole time as well as my parents, my siblings and their families.”
Is your partner supportive of your football career?
“Yes, otherwise this would never work. To have a family, work, do studies and have a football career demands great organisation skills and support from one’s family. My partner is an ex-handball star so she understands the amount of work and time needed to get results in sports.”
What’s the most important element in preparation for a tournament like the European Championship?
“To be in the best possible shape physically and mentally plus having a good and well organised strategy on the field. It’s also very important that the team and everyone in the group around it is in good harmony and that the joy gets to shine through, despite all the difficulties that are an unavoidable part of a tournament like this.”
“We have a great team and if everything works out for us we have a good chance of going far in this championship.”
How important is the support of your fans?
“It’s tremendously important. The power and the support from the spectators can make the players feel like there is more of them on the field and urged them on through difficult parts of the game.”
There has been much discussion about how the media handles women’s football as it is less important than the men’s football, do you feel there has been a change in that attitude with the successes of the Icelandic national women’s team?
“It’s getting much better. We are getting more and more coverage in the media and it’s getting more professional and thorough than it used to be. Hopefully that is a permanent sea change and the coverage will keep getting better.”
Icelandair produced this powerful commercial in support of the national women’s team in football: