Ireland men are the latest sports team in the last decade to use it. We explain all

In 2016, it was everywhere. As the Iceland men’s team became the underdog heroes of football’s Euros with their style of play, their post-match celebrations wowed fans too as thy used the Viking Clap – or Thunderclap as it has been known.

Since, then it has gone around the world a few times. It’s even become a big hit in Minnesota where the NFL’s Vikings franchise have adopted it (and added the word ‘Skol’ as the chant). And now, as demonstrated in the opening days of the Rugby World Cup, Ireland’s men want to make it their own.

But where did this near-ubiquitous chant originate? Was it really the Iceland men’s national football team?

When did the Viking Clap start?

According to The Guardian – who spoke to Icelandic supporters groups and others – it was initially taken from supporters of Motherwell Football Club in Scotland, who based their chant on that from the movie 300, starring Scottish actor Gerard Butler (who recently unveiled the full Scotland squad for the Rugby World Cup).

In their piece they quoted Motherwell fans’ representative Dave Wardrope: “No one is certain (how it came about) but we don’t think our fans took it from another club’s supporters. They made it up themselves.”

Other soccer clubs have been seen doing similar in the past, and it is alleged that slow-build clapping and chanting like the Viking Clap has been used in French football for many years.

How does the Viking Clap work?

In as simple terms as possible, the Viking Clap consists of: A shout or command at high volume followed by and group clapping in unison. This is repeated over and over,  with the claps gradually speeding up over time.

It is something we may see over and over from Ireland during the 2023 Rugby world Cup.

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