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Iceland: How a country with 329,000 people reached Euro 2016

Iceland: How a country with 329,000 people reached Euro 2016
iceland-how-a-country-with-329000-people-reached-euro-2016
Since coming on to replace his father Arnor http://www.nflbrownsofficialshop.com/Authentic-Josh-Mccown-Jersey as a 17-year-old substitute in 1996, Eidur Gudjohnsen has spent most of his 19-year international career as Iceland's most celebrated player. But playing in the finals of a major tournament with a country that three years ago was ranked below perennial also-rans Liechtenstein and Luxembourg always felt like a "distant dream" for the nation's only Champions League winner. Gudjohnsen, now 37, is at last aiming to realise that ambition at next summer's European Championship. It would be a remarkable story if he were to play in France - but then again, his nation has recently been specialising in the remarkable. In finishing second in their qualifying group, seven points clear of Netherlands, Iceland became the smallest nation ever to reach a major tournament, and the first to do so with a population below one million. Its inhabitants number just 329,000 - not Greg Hardy Youth Jersey many more than live in Coventry. Even El Salvador, beaten 10-1 in their opening game at the 1982 World Cup, had a population of more than four million backing their team, while Wales - who ended a 58-year wait for qualification last month - has nearly 10 times as many people as Iceland. "The older you get in footballing years, the further away you get from realising what is a boyhood dream," Gudjohnsen told BBC Sport. "But then when it happens it makes you feel proud and privileged just to have been part of an amazing campaign." So how did a country with such limited resources make it to the Euros? Read about the nations that have qualified for Euro 2016. A generation of 'indoor kids' Gudjohnsen owed his progression beyond the normal bounds of Icelandic football to his father Arnor's career in Europe. The seven years Gudjohnsen Sr spent at http://www.officialbroncosnflauthentic.com/WOMENS_YOUTH_GINO_GRADKOWSKI_JERSEY.html Belgian side Anderlecht allowed the young Eidur to develop away from the harsh winter climate and mountainous terrain of his homeland, where football outside the four- or five-month summer period meant small-sided games on hard indoor floors.

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