By Vera Martirosyan
PARIS. – There are things that happen in life only once. And it is very likely that the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA) Euro 2016, which France is hosting, will be remembered as the Euro of the Iceland “fairy tale.”
Even though this “fairy tale” ended on Sunday, people will still talk about it for a long time.
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The Icelandic national football squad gave us all a chance to dream. But this dream ended now, and there remained real football, the “battle” of the strongest.
Icelanders had arrived in France with their families.
France were the clear favorites, and the host nation. It is natural that their fans were to show a warm support to their team and expect only a win at Sunday’s Euro 2016 quarterfinal match against Iceland. But I saw for the first time in my life that the fans of an opposing squad welcome their opponents in such a positive way before the match. They even constantly encouraged Iceland during the game.
The Iceland president-elect also was sitting in the stands, together with the fans.
In terms of performance, Iceland did their utmost against England in the round of 16, but they did not have enough in the tank against France in the quarterfinals. Although they conceded five goals, they netted two themselves, and bid farewell to Euro 2016 holding their heads up high.
After the match, however, the Iceland supporters were not in a hurry to leave the stadium. They stayed there for about half an hour more; perhaps in an attempt to prolong this “fairy tale” as much as possible.
When thinking about Euro 2016, I will always remember the Iceland national squad.
Thank you, Icelanders! You have compelled us to yet again believe that the impossible becomes possible, in unity.
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