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5 fairy tale team performances in European championship history

Utsav Agarwal
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1.19K   //    11 Jul 2016, 15:49 IST
Iceland reached the quarter-finals after beating England in the 2016 Euros

Euro Championships have always produced several surprise performers in the tournaments. Iceland are one of the biggest examples of fairy tale teams as before Euro 2016, the Icelandic national team had never ever participated in a major tournament prior.

It is quite an incredible feat considering the fact that the country has a total population of 330,000 people, showing how crazy their victory over England in the Round of 16 is. The team faced opponents like Portugal and Hungary on their way to the quarter-finals, where they were finally beaten 5-2 by France. 

Their fans welcomed the Iceland team with utmost grandeur as thousands of fans turned up to cheer their heroes. Their campaign was truly a magnificent one, as the team which was not expected to qualify for the knockout phases not only reached the quarter-finals, but also managed to win the hearts of football fans worldwide.

Following are the five teams that had fairy tale runs in the Euro Championships:

1) Wales in Euro 2016

Wales reached the semi-finals, losing to eventual winners Portugal

Wales had an amazing run in the Euro 2016 campaign as they reached the semi-final stage at a major competition for the first time in their history, losing to Portugal, who had not won a single game prior to this match in normal time.

What’s interesting is that the Wales team was not tipped to go ahead of the round of 16, but through sheer determination of all the players and the individual brilliance of players like Aaron Ramsey and Gareth Bale took the team to the semi-finals.

The tactical mastermind of coach Chris Coleman cannot be undermined as his strategies and team talks helped Wales through the tournament. They were losing in the quarter-finals against Belgium when an inspired Wales team scored three to seal the game and progress to their first ever semis clash.

Their hard work although immense, wasn’t enough and they lost to a well drilled Portuguese side as they took control after Cristiano Ronaldo leapt highest to power a header past the Welsh keeper Wayne Hennessey, before the Real Madrid talisman turned provider for Nani. 

What was proved by the entire Wales performance was that a determined team will always have a greater chance of winning and who knows if Wales had Aaron Ramsey for the semis, they might have actually secured a victory. 

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