With their 2-1 win over England, Iceland’s Euro 2016 adventure carries on and along their path to the quarter-finals they have won the hearts and minds of fans across the continent.The 23 members of their Euro 2016 squad have put Iceland on the footballing map and here are seven things about the Nordic country that you might not have known.
1- It is the smallest country to reach the finals Not only is Iceland the country with the smallest population at Euro 2016, but it is the smallest to have ever qualified for the finals. With 332,559 inhabitants, the country is even smaller than Trinidad and Tobago – with its 1.2 million – which held the record for the smallest nation to reach a World Cup.
2-One Icelandic team’s crazy celebrationsIn 2011, the goal celebrations of local team Stjarnan went viral after they performed a series of routines, featuring human toilets, bicycles, snipers and salmon fishermen.
3 – There are more volcanoes than footballersIt may seem bizarre, but Iceland actually has more volcanoes than it does professional footballers.There are just 23,000 registered players and only 120 professional players, while there are 126 volcanoes.
4 – 8% of the population has come to FranceLars Lagerback’s team has had plenty of support during this tournament given that 8% of the whole Icelandic population has travelled to France to follow the team.
5- There are more sheep than people As well as having more volcanoes than footballers, Iceland has more sheep than it has people.With 600,000 across the island, there are almost twice as many sheep as humans.
6 – ‘The Mountain‘ is the biggest fan of the national team Game of Thrones’ star Hafthor Bjornssonn is a massive Iceland fan – literally. Bjornssonn, who has previously won ‘The World’s Strongest Man’ competition threated to squish Cristiano Ronaldo’s head if he defeated Iceland in the groups stages yet, fortunately for the Real Madrid man, that didn’t happen.
7- There are no ants Iceland is one of the few countries on the planet where there are no ants. The strangest thing about this curiosity is that there is no scientific explanation for their absence.Bonus fact – The team is coached by a dentistHeimir Hallgrimsson, the team’s joint coach, is by day a dentist. “Humiliated by a team managed by a dentist,” was just one of many reflections on the last 16 in the English press on Tuesday.