It all started with the story that 8% of the population of the smallest country participating in Euro 2016 (population 323 thousand people) went to France to support their national team - defender Kari Arnason admitted that he personally knows half of these people.
In the first match, the Icelanders tied with Portugal, having 11 people in the roster whose last name ends in "-son" (no kidding, eleven names with the same ending - a record for European championships). After the match, the captain of the Icelanders offered Cristiano Ronaldo to exchange shirts, and to the question "Who are you?" honestly answered: “I am Aron Gunnarsson. Son of Gunnar of Akureyri in Iceland." Find out more about EuroCup.
During the tournament, the whole world learned about Hannes Haldersson, a substitute goalkeeper who makes a living directing and even shot a presentation video of the team before Euro 2016. The Icelanders also found a star fan - Hafthor Bjornson, who played the role of the Mountain from the Game of Thrones, who recorded a video message to Cristiano Ronaldo. In the video, he promised that if the Portuguese scores a goal in the match against Iceland, he will deal with him in the same way as with Oberyn Martell, the character whose skull was crushed by Bjornson's hero in the series.
All in all, it's not surprising that after the Icelanders secured their first-ever Euro playoff appearance, the national team's technical sponsor reported a 1,800% increase in jersey sales. Therefore, do not be surprised when in your yard you see a man in a blue T-shirt with a surname ending in "-son" on the back.
The story of the overweight goalkeeper wearing sweatpants for some reason is the best illustration of the fifteen minutes of fame principle, to which everyone is entitled. Hungarian Gabor Kiraly admits that he only wears sweatpants for convenience: the goalkeeper hardly expected that his image would be discussed even in Canada, where three local television presenters aired in gray sweatpants tucked into leggings.
Well, after the Hungarian national team for the first time in 44 years left the group for the Euro, and Kiraly himself became the first local goalkeeper who managed to play “to zero” in the European Championship match, Gabor turned into the most recognizable Hungarian on the planet. In addition, the extravagant goalkeeper, who surprised not only opponents but also partners with his style of play, broke the record of the German Lottar Matthäus, becoming the first player to play at the Euro after forty years.
The best European football player of our time (Messi is an Argentinean) did not win anything with the Portuguese national team in its best times, and it is completely naive to count on the title during a generational change. Nevertheless, Cristiano Ronaldo, who declared before the tournament that he considers himself the best football player of the last 20 years, does not lose heart and tries to compensate for the lack of team achievements with personal ones.
Cross your fingers: the match against Austria was his 128th for the national team (record), and the meeting with Hungary was his 17th at the European Championships (record). In addition, thanks to a double against the Hungarians, Ronaldo became the first player to score in four European Championships in a row. And after one of the matches, Cristiano recaptured a fan who ran onto the field from the stewards and allowed him to take a selfie with him. In general, the Portuguese, as always, proved that a real talent will always find an opportunity to get the maximum result with a minimum of opportunities.