Five ways Iceland playing at Euro 2016 is massive

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Iceland football fansImage source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Ice to meet you

Around 30,000 Icelandic football fans have made the journey to France to witness football history.

The country's national football played their first ever match at a major tournament on Tuesday.

They drew 1-1 with Portugal in their opening Group G match at Euro 2016 in St Etienne. Birkir Bjarnason scoring their historic goal..

Iceland is by far the smallest nation, on population, to ever qualify for the European Championship or a World Cup.

Here are some things you probably don't know about Europe's underdogs.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
The Ice Men cometh to France

'We are the 8%'

The official population of Iceland is just 330,000.

The second smallest nation at the tournament, Northern Ireland, has more than five times as many people living there with 1.8m.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
8% of Iceland's population is heading to Euro 2016

With over 27,000 heading to the Euros to support their team - this means 8% of Iceland's entire population will be in France this summer.

To put that into perspective, if England took the same number of fans it would be 4.2m people.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
The Vikings are coming

Training is tough (when the pitch is frozen)

With winter temperatures in Iceland hovering anywhere between -10 and -25c it's no surprise the country's footballers are limited when it comes to training.

The Icelandic first division only runs for five months, from May to September.

Image source, Getty Images

To keep people playing the game during the seven months of snowstorms and frozen pitches the country's FA has developed several indoor football halls.

Iceland has two joint managers - one is a dentist

Lars Lagerback, 67, is a veteran of five major tournaments - in charge of Sweden and a spell as coach of Nigeria.

Image source, Getty Images
Image caption,
Lars Lagerback and Heimir Hallgrimsson are co-managers of Iceland

Meanwhile Heimir Hallgrimsson, 49, is a part-time dentist. He used to coach the Iceland first division team IBV.

The two of them have pushed Iceland over 100 places up in the FIFA rankings in five years.

Before now power-lifting was Iceland's most famous sport

The biggest celebrities in Iceland used to be the country's muscle-bound power lifters.

Iceland basically owns the World's Strongest Man contest.

Image source, Getty Images

Iceland's current strongest man Hafthor Bjornsson played Gregor "The Mountain" Clegane in Game of Thrones.

He's sent a warning to Cristiano Ronaldo ahead of Iceland's meeting with Portugal.

They've got a 37-year-old legend in their squad

Thirty-seven-year-old Eidur Gudjohnsen retired from international football in 2014, but answered an SOS call from his country to end his career at his very first major tournament.

The former Chelsea and Barcelona man has played 86 times for Iceland, scoring 26 goals.

Image source, Getty Images

The striker has most recently been playing for Molde in the Norwegian Premier League. He will now play as a midfielder at the Euros.

Gudjohnsen has won 13 trophies in his career.

You can get odds of 100-1 for him lift the European Championship next month.

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