Iceland heroes celebrate 'historic' Euro 2016 win over England
NICE, France – Iceland's football heroes hailed a historic day for the small Nordic nation after they stunned England at Euro 2016 on Monday, June 27 (Tuesday, June 28 in Manila) to take the last quarter-final place.
"It's the biggest achievement in Icelandic sport history, without a doubt," said Jon Dadi Bodvarsson.
In its debut appearance at a major tournament, Iceland can now look forward to a fairytale showdown with Didier Deschamps' France at the Stade de France on Sunday.
"This is the first time we're playing in such a big tournament and I don't even know how far we've gone, it's so amazing, I'm speechless," the 24-year-old Kaiserslautern striker said.
Roared on by 3,500 ecstatic fans in the Nice stadium, Iceland fought back from a goal down to beat England 2-1 in one of the biggest shocks in football history that forced the immediate resignation of England manager Roy Hodgson.
"It was unbelievable. Goosebumps and all those feelings. The fans were the loudest today. They were amazing and definitely our 12th man," said Bodvarsson.
"I can't imagine how the country is at the moment. It's upside down," said Iceland captain Aron Gunnarsson.
Iceland's equalizer, barely 75 seconds after Wayne Rooney's penalty put England ahead, came from a raking throw-in by Gunnarsson, flicked on by Kari Arnason, and finished by man-of-the-match Ragnar Sigurdsson.
Soon after Gylfi Sigurdsson and Bodvarsson worked the ball to Sigthorsson and with England's defenders standing off, the Nantes striker scored to give Iceland a lead they would not relinquish.
"It's just a proud moment and something we'll treasure for the rest of our lives," said Gunnarsson.
"Beating England in the last 16 is a fantastic achievement and something that everyone can be proud of."
Asked if Iceland can go further in the tournament, the Cardiff City midfielder revealed the secret of their success.
"We always believe. That's our attitude."
Iceland's co-coach Heimir Hallgrimsson toasted a potentially life-changing win for his team.
"If you want the best out of life you have to be ready when the opportunity comes. That is a fact and these boys were ready today and this opportunity that was put in our hand was huge, it can change their lives," said Hallgrimsson, who combines his role as co-coach alongside Lars Lagerback with his job as a dentist.
"This will probably be a day that we will talk about for the rest of our lives," he added. – Rappler.com