Saskatchewan

Regina's Icelandic Consulate watches as Iceland falls in the Euro

Jon Jonsson is the head of Regina's Honorary Icelandic Consulate. He and his son Haukur are avid soccer fans and supporters of team Iceland. They've been watching closely as Iceland makes its first appearance in the UEFA European Championship tournament.

Jon and Haukur Jonsson from Regina's Icelandic Consulate watched underdog Iceland play France Sunday

Haukur Jonsson (left) and his dad Jon celebrate an Iceland goal against Team France. (Brian Rodgers/CBC)

Hunkered down in the basement of the the honorary Icelandic Consulate in Regina, Jon Jonsson and his son Haukur spent Sunday afternoon tensely watching their beloved Icelandic soccer team battle powerhouse hosts France.

The fact they were even getting a chance to see Iceland play is unexpected. The team had never even qualified for the UEFA European Championship.

Then, they stormed into the tournament and eliminated soccer giant England to get to the quarter-final match against France.

"This will go down in Icelandic history as one of the finest moments that you can think of," said Jon, describing himself as "exuberant, joyful and happy".

This will go down in Icelandic history as one of the finest moments that you can think of.- Jon Jonsson

The proud Icelander moved from Iceland's capital Reykjavik to Saskatchewan in 1970. Then, in 1990 his home became the honorary Icelandic Consulate in Regina -- the first in Saskatchewan.

He's met Icelandic ambassadors and even a former president of Iceland.

Jonsson is most impressed that his tiny country (with a total population of just over 320,000 people) could defeat a country as populated as England.

"Nobody figured that Iceland would have a chance against England," he said, including himself. "Basically Iceland was written off."

"It was the longest 93 minutes of my life," Jonsson's son Haukur laughs thinking back to the team's improbable 2-1 come-from-behind win over England on June 27.

Despite getting knocked out of the tournament by France, the Jonssons say the experience was "fantastic." (Brian Rodgers/CBC)

Just to show how tiny Iceland really is, Haukur has two cousins on team Iceland, including the starting goaltender, Hannes Halldorsson.

"It's just amazing. It makes you feel even closer to the team," he said.

Iceland came up short on Sunday, losing 5-2 to France, but the Jonssons said it's been unbelievable seeing the world get behind their team.

"It's a Cinderella story. People cheer for the underdogs," said Haukur. "It's just been amazing and even though they [lost] today, they surpassed our expectations and we couldn't be happier. It's just been fantastic."

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