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Euro 2016: Iceland team returns home to hero's welcome

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media captionThe Iceland football team travelled on an open-top bus through Reykjavik.

Tens of thousands of Icelanders gathered in the capital Reykjavík to welcome home the nation's football team after their Euro 2016 quarter-final.

Led by drummers, the players made their way through the city in an open-top bus to the hill of Arnarholl, where fans greeted them with wild cheers.

Iceland's first major tournament ended on Sunday when the tiny nation, one of Europe's smallest, lost to France.

But not before they had dumped out the England side in the round of 16.

image copyrightAFP
image captionTens of thousands gathered to welcome home the team
image copyrightAFP
image captionThe team stopped to sign autographs for the waiting fans
image copyrightAFP
image captionThe players got a hero's welcome

The Iceland team were beaten 5-2 by tournament hosts France on Sunday, but their exploits at Euro 2016 had already captivated the fans back home.

Coming from a population of just 329,000, they defied the odds to qualify from the group stage and then see off England.

On their way to the last eight of the European tournament, they had also beat Austria and, in qualifying, the Netherlands, Turkey, and the Czech Republic.

image copyrightAFP
image captionIceland's coach Lars Lagerback made a speech in front of the players
image copyrightAFP
image captionIceland's performances captivated the tiny population of 329,000 back home

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