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George Hamilton's RTE commentary after Iceland's remarkable win was an absolute joy

There was even a reference to Bjørge Lillelien’s spectacular monologue after England’s humiliation against Norway in 1981.


Think of the classic lines and how they’ve all become part of the game’s lexicon over time.

How about Kenneth Wolstenholme’s iconic utterance as Geoff Hurst scored England’s fourth and final goal against West Germany?

Or Barry Davies and his magnificent exclamation after Franny Lee thumped home a superb strike for Derby County against his former club Manchester City in the mid-70s?

There was Norwegian commentator Bjørge Lillelien’s spectacular monologue as he failed to control himself in the immediate aftermath of his side’s remarkable World Cup qualifier victory over England in 1981.

Source: alkie1hibs/YouTube

Even Jimmy Magee got in on the act in 1986 with his summation of Maradona’s moment of genius against England in Mexico.

In recent times, we’ve also had Clive Tyldesley’s prophetic words as Manchester United desperately tried to rescue the 1999 Champions League final.

But usually, commentators are looked upon as figures of fun - as we’ve seen with Iceland’s Gudmundur Benediktsson during Euro 2016 – rather than barometers of how we’re all feeling in the heat of the moment.

Cue RTE’s George Hamilton last night.

As the full-time whistle blew and the tiny Nordic island had booked their place in the last-eight of their first ever major tournament, he delivered a superb wrap-up, complete with a glorious reference to Lillelien and his famous, damning moment in the sun 35 years ago.

“The volcano has erupted”, Hamilton began.

“Four days have shaken a kingdom. This is the verge of unbelievable. The greatest shock in the history of this competition has just unfolded before our eyes.

England are dumped out. Another European exit and Iceland are into the quarter-finals.


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You heard correctly – Iceland have beaten England.

This is as bad as its ever been for England, there’s no doubt about that. It’s back to the drawing board. It’s complete deflation. And for Iceland, they cannot be praised enough.

And the mind goes back to 1981 and the night Norway beat England and the late Bjorge Lillelien uttered those immortal words, ‘Maggie Thatcher, your guys took a hell of a beating’”.


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As it happened: England v Iceland, Euro 2016

The dream continues for Iceland as they stun England to book quarter-final spot

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Eoin O'Callaghan

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