Iceland celebrates improbable win over England at Euro 2016
REYKJAVIK, Iceland (AP) — Iceland celebrated its team’s historic win with some very appropriate English music.
“We Are The Champions.”
The anthem from British band Queen blared from bars around the capital as thousands of locals poured into the streets to dance and sing following Iceland’s improbable 2-1 victory over England at the European Championship.
The win, perhaps the biggest shock in the tournament’s history, put Iceland in the quarterfinals against France in the country’s very first appearance at a major tournament.
“Whoever’s not out celebrating is probably trying to get a ticket to France for the next game,” said Thorir Gudmundsson, a charity worker from Reykjavik.
Many fans watched the match on giant outdoor screens in the city, while others stayed home to watch on TV and listen to the commentary of Gudmundur Benediktsson.
“Gummi Ben,” as Benediktsson is known, has become something of an internet celebrity during Euro 2016 for his energetic, boisterous announcing.
The players can get pretty loud, too.
After the game at the Stade de Nice, the Iceland players led thousands of their supporters in a traditional Viking chant called the “Huh!” — repeating the guttural-sounding title over and over in an effort to terrify opponents.
The fierce chant, akin to New Zealand’s Haka in rugby, also echoed through the streets of Reykjavik.
Iceland, the smallest nation to ever qualify for the European Championship, has excelled in France. The team earned a pair of draws in its opening two matches and then beat Austria to advance to the round of 16.
The win over England — one of the world’s top soccer countries — tops them all, of course. Until maybe Sunday, when Iceland will face the hosts at the Stade de France outside Paris.