The Icelandic national football team received a hero’s welcome last night when returning from the EURO 2016 in France. Not only had they been the first Icelandic men’s national football team to participate in a major championship, but surprised the world by making it to the quarter-finals. You can watch RÚV’s video of the crowd here.
Below are screenshots from the video.
Tens of thousands of people gathered in downtown Reykjavík to welcome their heroes back home. The team rode an open top bus from the police station on Hverfisgata, down Skólavörðustígur and all the way to Arnarhóll. All along the way, they were greeted by a jubilant crowd, waving the Icelandic flag. It’s safe to say this team has managed to unify this nation with their amazing accomplishment.
The team members were welcomed with the crowd singing, “Ég er kominn heim,” or “I’m back home,” the song that fans in the stands in France have used to cheer on their team. Then the whole crowd joined in the now famous ‘Viking chant,’ raising their arms and clapping to the sound of drums, shouting what sounds like “Hoo,” first slowly, then faster and faster and faster, finally culminating in a loud applause. You can watch and listen here.
Prime Minister Sigurður Ingi Jóhannsson addressed the team and thanked them on the nation’s behalf. Assistant Coach Heimir Hallgrímsson addressed the crowd and used the opportunity to say farewell to Coach Lars Lagerbäck, who is leaving his job as coach, and thank him for the cooperation: “We’ve been together four and a half years. Marriages in Iceland don’t always last that long. We will miss him, but he will continue to have a place in our hearts, just as Lars has said he will miss Iceland.” You can watch his speech here.