Derry '˜Icelandic wife' on the excitement of Euro 2016
Everyone loves to cheer on the underdog and no-one was cheering louder when Iceland got into the final eight in Euro 2016 than Derry woman Sinead McCarron.
Sinead moved to Iceland eight years ago to be with her Icelandic husband, Páll.
They now have two children, six-year-old Daði and two-year-old Flóki, and have made Reykjavik their home.
Sinead and her family joined thousands of people to watch the Iceland v England match in Reykjavik city centre earlier this week.
Getting to the final eight in Euro 2016 has been a huge achievement for the tiny nation which has a population of just 323,000 people.
Iceland only has 100 professional footballers and four years ago the national team was ranked 133 in the world.
They had never before qualified for the Euros, never mind making it into the final eight.
Sinead said the atmosphere in Reykjavik has been ‘amazing’ and there is huge excitement ahead of Iceland’s next match against France this Sunday.
‘There has been such a great buzz here. During the game against England there was a real nervousness and tension. Once Iceland scored, people were crying’.
‘The Icelandic football team is much like a gaelic of hurling team in Ireland. They all have other jobs and even the assistant manager is a part-time dentist’.
Because the population in Iceland is so small, Sinead’s children have a one in six chance of playing for their national team in the future.
‘This was always a running joke between me and Páll. I have always said they would have to play for Ireland because they are the better team. I don’t know if I can still argue that now!’
Sinead is disappointed that Ireland did not win their match against France because she would have liked to see them play Iceland.
‘I am a proud Irish woman, but now I am an Icelandic wife as well. We were planning a big party in the hope that they would meet each other in the Euros. I would have been quite torn over who to support. I would probably be wearing my Ireland top but cheering on Iceland as well because everyone loves to cheer on the underdog’.
‘When they beat England, it was the first time as a proud Irish woman, that I have ever cried for another country’.
Sinead said the great thing about Iceland doing so well is that her children have now grown to love football, especially her eldest son, Daði.
‘He will remember this forever, the same way that I always remember Ireland’s performance in Italia ‘94. What Iceland has done is really unbelievable because it is such a small nation’.
‘Even if they do not beat France they will be given a heroes’ welcome when they return to Iceland’.
The worlds media is expected to descend on Reykjavik on Sunday to capture the excitement of the crowds watching the match against France.
Sinead and her family will be joining them and are ‘full of nerves!’