Today at the top is forward Angela Addison.
Ramble of the Day
A few months ago, I learned something that I was truly meant to know: New York City FC midfielder Gudmundur Thórarinsson once competed to be Iceland’s representative at Eurovision. He entered Söngvakeppnin in 2018, Iceland’s competition to select its entry for Eurovision, with a song called “Litir,” which is Icelandic for colors.
It’s a basic love song, sung well enough by Thórarinsson, but is otherwise pretty insignificant. I feel like the woman on the stage with him is underutilized — based on her movements around the 2:27 mark, she seems like she can dance and she doesn’t really ever dance during this, which is disappointing. This song didn’t make it out of its Söngvakeppnin semifinal, which I get.
If “Litir” wasn’t sung by a footballer, I probably wouldn’t have thought twice about it, but it was so I had to ask: What was the entry out of Iceland that year? It was Ari Ólafsson’s “Our Choice.”
I don’t mind Ólafsson’s song technically rating higher than Thórarinsson’s song, in part because I think Ólafsson is a better singer. This was very clearly a weak year for Iceland at Eurovision because this is a similarly insignificant entry and its trip to the Eurovision semifinal indicates as much — it finished dead last in its semifinal.
There’s another comparison worth making as I continue down this rabbit hole, because Thórarinsson isn’t the first footballer to submit an entry for Eurovision, nor is he the first member of his family to do it — his older brother Ingólfur was a footballer from 2003 to 2016, and also a singer. He went to Söngvakeppnin in 2009 with “Undir regnboggan,” Icelandic for under the rainbow. It finished second in the Icelandic competition.
“Undir regnboggan” is much more fun than “Litir,” from the tune itself to the tuba player and drummer Ingólfur brought with him. This also made we wonder who Ingólfur lost to, and it turns out he lost to arguably Iceland’s most successful Eurovision entry ever, “Is It True?” by Yohanna.
This is a very nice ballad, and I really like the layering of instruments and voices. The performance is slightly boring minus the random appearance of a dolphin on the screen in the back about halfway through, but it’s clearly in an effort to let the song shine, which it does. 2009 was clearly not a weak year for Iceland at Eurovision.
I have no true conclusion to draw from this other than the fact that I still can’t really believe football and Eurovision found a true meeting point. The subsequent rabbit hole is my most natural reaction to this discovery, and I hope one day that either Gudmundur or Ingólfur returns to Eurovision so I can celebrate it properly. (I do think Ingólfur should take the lead, though.)
tl;dr: Two Icelandic footballers who happen to be brothers have separately competed at Eurovision, and one’s entry is clearly better than the others.
Stay informed, watch this: track and field athlete Gwen Berry on the hypocrisy of the U.S. and International Olympic Committees ask to stick to sports after she was put on probation for protesting during the American national anthem last year for The New York Times
Links of the Day
FIFA is investigating three more Haitian officials over accounts of sexual misconduct.
Manchester City’s Kevin de Bruyne and Chelsea’s Beth England were named the 2019-20 PFA Players of the Year.
Arsenal’s Héctor Bellerín bought a minority stake in League Two side Forest Green Rovers.
David Squires previews the Premier League season in his latest cartoon.
Transfer updates: Manchester City signed Lucy Bronze from Lyon; Everton signed Abdoulaye Doucouré from Watford; Newcastle signed Jamal Lewis from Norwich; Birmingham signed Mollie Green on a free; Leverkusen signed Patrick Schick from Roma
A longer read: Louise Taylor interviews Jess Fishlock on joining Reading on loan from OL Reign and on a 2020 she described as a “whirlwind” for The Guardian