So when the Euro 2016 started, people all over the world started placing their bets on England, Germany, Austria , Portugal , Italy , Spain, etc....to reach the round of 16. But like all other tournaments, even this tournament had some surprises. Biggest of all being the performance of Iceland!
On June 15, they began their journey and the first match was against one of the favourites, Portugal. After a well fought and fully deserving 90 minutes the match ended as a stalemate with scoreline being 1-1. They were called lucky enough to draw the match. Players of Iceland celebrated like they had qualified from the group. I guess they deserved to celebrate that way because a team with just 3,30,000 of fans behind them (number being the population of the nation) they were able to draw the match with 8th seeded Portugal who have stars like Cristiano Ronaldo , Pepe , Nani etc.
Even after the match Ronaldo criticised the tactics of Iceland and said they would reach nowhere with this. Iceland had other ideas. After the first match they had gained a lot of confidence and players started believing in themselves. That was easily seen in their second game when they were able to draw their second match with Hungary -- scoreline again being 1-1. So it all came down to the third match. Hungary had already qualified, Iceland and Portugal were fighting for the second with Austria fighting for third spot. This itself was very shocking as people had expected Portugal to win all three matches in the so called easiest group and then were expecting Austria to finish second. On final day with self confidence and believe of fans behind them they were able to beat Hungary 2-1, by scoring in the late additional minutes of the game which helped them to finish above Portugal. Portugal who were considered as the favourites to finish 1st, finished third and were lucky enough to qualify.
Iceland whose players were not known by anyone had achieved the impossible. Then came the round of 16 when they faced another of the tournament's favourites England. With stars like Wilshere, Harry Kane, Joe Hart , Wayne Rooney, Rashford, Vardy etc, people expected England to thrash Iceland. But Iceland again showed that team spirit and passion is more important than just having star players in the team as they beat England by coming back from 1 goal down to win it 2-1.
England were knocked out and now Iceland have surely become a force to be reckoned with in the Euro Cup.
No matter what happens in the quarter finals against France, I am sure that Iceland who came with a fan base of just 330,000 (that being it's population) has won over the hearts of millions of people all over the world. We have already seen Leicester City earlier beat the likes of Manchester United, Liverpool , Chelsea etc to lift the Premier League . Who knows Iceland might just come out at top by lifting the trophy.
No matter which nation you support deep down everyone would love it if Iceland win the tournament.