Reykjavik (AFP) – Iceland’s footballers received a heroes welcome on returning home on Monday following their astonishing run to the Euro 2016 quarter-finals in France.
Their plane flew low over the capital Reykjavik before landing at Keflavik airport where the local fire services gave them a fire hose guard of honour with shooting water creating a rainbow.
Striker Kolbeinn Sigthorsson, who scored a consolation goal in the crushing 5-2 defeat to the hosts at the Stade de France on Sunday said he was happy to be home.
“It was a dream come true to get that support,” he said of the estimated 30,000 fans — some ten percent of the population — who followed the nation in France.
“We experienced something simply wonderful, it was a dream come true and we are proud to have brought such cheer to our country,” he said, adding that the friendly behaviour of the fans had done the country proud.
The players were then paraded through the streets of the capital on a double decker bus in the direction of Arnarholl Park, to celebrate with their fans and sing the famous “huh” – the Viking war chant – which is actually Scottish, punctuated by hand clapping.
Iceland drew with Hungary and Portugal, then beat Austria to book a last-16 place, where they then defeated England 2-1 to set up a quarter-final with France.