The Iceland goalkeeper who swapped football for the London Film Festival

Hannes Halldorsson helped Iceland beat England at Euro 2016. Now he is in London to release Cop Secret, his first feature film

By Chris Evans for The Set Pieces

It’s a storyline that would not look out of place on the big screen. The down-on-his-luck goalkeeper who could not play the sport he loves during his younger years due to persistent injuries suddenly finds himself going head-to-head with a global icon. But when Iceland goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson clapped his gloves together in preparation to face a penalty from Lionel Messi, this was not a plot dreamed up by a bigwig director. It was the 2018 World Cup and most definitely real life.

Messi’s penalty was at the perfect height for Halldorsson, who dived to his right and parried the shot away to safety. Messi had been vanquished. “My story – going from a lower-league goalkeeper in Iceland to saving a penalty against the best football player in the world – sounds like something from a bad cliché Hollywood sports movie,” says Halldorsson. “I’m probably not going to make that one myself.”

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