Tens of thousands of fans turned out in the Iceland capital of Reykjavik to welcome their Euro 2016 heroes back to the country on Monday.
And in truly stirring fashion, supporters and players joined together for the ‘Viking chant’ or ‘huuuuh’ that became so infamous in France as shown in the video above.
An open-top bus parade was also given the players but this was the abiding memory of the players’ return.
With the world watching goings on in Euro 2016, expect this to be churned out around stadiums from this season onwards.
It’s impossible to avoid the Gareth Bale v Cristiano Ronaldo narrative.
The two most expensive players in football history who happen to be team-mates for the world’s richest club and are legends of their national game – maybe even their best ever. But despite their towering profiles, Wales and Portugal have earned their place in the last four because of overall team displays, not their superstars.
Bale is among the tournament’s leading goalscorers and provided the cross which led to Gareth McAuley’s own goal against Northern Ireland, but his display in the 3-1 win over Belgium was muted.
After the scattergun shooting of earlier games, Ronaldo has assumed an ancillary role, as Fernando Santos manipulated Portugal to outhink and outmanoeuvre Croatia and Poland.
If you were picking a best XI right now would either be selected? That’s not to denigrate their contributions, as it’s credit to both they have been happy to fulfil secondary positions that belie their status as the world’s best. But what has been key for both Wales and Portugal is an organised, disciplined and diligent defensive line coupled with an energetic midfield, which is where each team’s real strength lies.
Aaron Ramsey has been among the tournament’s best five midfielders; using the ball sensibly, covering huge amounts of territory and consistently acting as a creative hub. His suspension is a cruel blow. While alongside him Joe Allen has been the metronome, dictating the tempo and rhythm.
For the Portuguese, Santos has rotated personnel but has finally realised Renato Sanches has made himself indispensable, while they will be missing their own key figure through suspension in anchorman William Carvalho.
How those voids are filled and whichever team dominates the middle ground will go much further to deciding Wednesday’s contest than any dreams of a shootout between Bale and Ronaldo.
The Euro 2016 semi-finals are upon us and in the latest edition of the Sport360 Euro 2016 Podcast, we run the rule over the last four clashes.
– Is Portugal-Wales about more than just Ronaldo vs Bale?
– Can Fernando Santos ‘do a Greece’ with the Portuguese?
– Will Paul Pogba ever really be able to emulate Zidane?
– Just how much will Iceland’s Viking clap be missed?