Viking players and fans were roaring in true Viking style, after the club from Stavanger beat nearby Haugesund in Norway’s annual cup final in Oslo on Sunday. The battling teams from Rogaland, site of many real Viking battles 1,000 years ago, played out before king and crown princess, and thousands of cheering fans.
It was a tough battle that stood 0-0 at the break, just hours after ground crews had to clear snow off the playing field at Norway’s national Ullevaal Stadium. There’d been plenty of criticism that this year’s cup final came so late in the year, on a Sunday in the middle of the busy pre-Christmas season. “Football’s powerful men are killing off our biggest people’s party,” griped commentaor Jo Moen Bredevein, a devoted football fan who thinks more matches should be played in the summer than in the winter.
Much of the cold discomfort seemed forgotten by Viking fans when team captain Zlatko tripic scored six minutes into the second half and then Viking successfully protected its own goal, allowing King Harald V to present the king’s cup to Viking, while Crown Princess Mette-Marit handed out the silver trophy to the team from Haugesund.