"Never wake me up!" - Iceland celebrate new Euro triumph

Underdogs Iceland scored a new triumph late Monday after coming from behind to defeat England at Euro 2016, generating an enthusiastic roar from thousands of fans in the North Atlantic country's capital.

A huge screen showing the match was set up at the Arnarholl venue, a hill in the centre of the capital Reykjavik that boiled and bubbled like one of the country’s many geysers after the final whistle, with Iceland winning 2-1 over England.

"We are going to Paris! I can't believe my own eyes. Never wake me up! Never wake me up from this crazy dream! Boo like you want, Englishmen! Iceland is going to Stade de France," gushed football commentator Gudmundur Benediktsson.

“France versus Iceland. You [England] can go home! You can leave Europe! You can leave to wherever you want! England 1-Iceland 2 in Nice, and the adventure continues. And this adventure will probably never end,” he continued.

England might have underestimated Iceland, analyzed defender Ragnar Sigurdsson, one of Iceland’s goalscorers.

"We were confident all the time but they thought it would be easy. I felt that they looked down on us," he told Siminn sport after the win.

England's exit was painful considering that Iceland is a country of 330,000 people - about  the population of Premier League champions Leicester City.

The upset means that Iceland extended their stay in France. Iceland fans scrambled to book flights to the upcoming match against the French hosts.

The online site of budget airline Wow Air crashed late Monday amid twice as visits compared to last week when Iceland qualified to the knock-out stages after defeating Austria. Meanwhile, carrier Icelandair said it was pulling out the stops to fly as many customers as possible to Paris.

“We have three flights a day but they will probably be full shortly. Then there are other ways,” Icelandair spokesman Gudjon Arngrimsson told the online edition of the daily Morgunbladid

A fan told public broadcaster RUV: ”Everyone wants to go to France to support our lads, it’s that simple."

Iceland coach, Lars Lagerback, a Swedish national who took over Iceland in 2012, extended his impressive run against England, a team he has never lost to also as long-serving coach of Sweden.

“Our defence was really good. It was well-organized, everyone did their job, read the game. They used their heads and ran. Everyone was in the right position,” he summed up.

Co-coach Heimir Hallgrimsson said on Siminn sport that Iceland "grabbed the unique opportunity we got, and this will change our lives and take Icelandic football to the next level."

Goalkeeper Hannes Halldorsson said the win was "epic."

"Now we have to get ourselves back to the ground and prepare for the game against France. We want to go further and we go into every game seeking to win," he said.

Although fireworks are banned in Reykjavík - and are barely visible due to the light summer nights this time of year on the northern latitudes - some fireworks exploded in the evening skies after Iceland's victory.

"A kind plea to the police - don't arrest anyone, today it's OK," urged TV commentator Thorsteinn J Vilhjalmsson.

Come Sunday, it remains to be seen if more fireworks will be set off - in Reykjavik and on the field at Stade de France.

Last update: Tue, 28/06/2016 - 11:59
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