Editor’s note: CSN Bay Area’s Senior web producer Nate Stuhlbarg planned his trip to Iceland months ago -- but he had no idea he’d be there when the national soccer team would shock the world as it did Monday against England, when it advanced to the Euro 20 16 quarterfinals.
REYKJAVIK, ICELAND -- The epicenter of the sports world fell on a small grassy knoll in the heart of Reykjavik, Iceland, on Monday evening.
With a 2-1 victory over soccer powerhouse England, the small country that prides itself on hard work miraculously punched its ticket to the quarterfinals of Euro 2016, going deeper than ever in a national tournament.
The win immediately ended Roy Hodgson's reign as England's manager as he resigned following the embarrassing loss.
Reports claim 1/10th of Iceland's population -- close to 30,000 hooligans -- made the trip to France to support the club, but an estimated 15,000 fanatics still filled the park just off Reykjavik's main street in the world's northernmost capital of a sovereign state.
Chants of "AFRAM ISLAND" ("Afram Island" loosely translates to "Onward Iceland") rang out for 90-plus straight minutes just shy of the Arctic Circle.
Wayne Rooney quickly silenced the crowd with an early PK, but Iceland responded with two goals in the next 14 minutes and England's fate was sealed.
Per the MC's instructions following the win, the entire crowd bowed to their knees to reflect on what was accomplished. Shortly thereafter, the masses rose amidst tears, hugs, chants, dances, and flying flags to commence the celebration.
How big was the win? Numerous fans were ready to name a new Independence Day -- before the opening whistle.
There was a public viewing area set up to accommodate 3,000 people downtown, but the country needed a larger setting for Iceland's finest football showcase.
Iceland faces host country France on Sunday, July 3, in the quarterfinals with just eight teams remaining.
Poland vs Portugal. Wales vs Belgium. Germany vs Italy. And France vs The Little Country That Could.
The team clearly still believes its head coach Heimir Hallgrímsson's mantra: "I always say you can win one football match."