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Iceland fans flood to apply for EURO tickets

Iceland has shown unparalleled passion for UEFA EURO 2016, with fans having applied for enough finals tickets via UEFA.com to accommodate over 8% of its population.

Iceland is the least populous nation ever to have made it to a major final tournament
Iceland is the least populous nation ever to have made it to a major final tournament ©Getty Images

Set to be the smallest nation ever to appear at a major football final tournament, Iceland have shown a daunting passion for UEFA EURO 2016, with Icelandic fans applying for 26,985 tickets to watch their national team at the finals via UEFA.com – enough for 8% of the nation's population to watch a game at the finals.

"I am very happy on behalf of the team – they will get good support and that is important," said Football Association of Iceland (KSÍ) president Geir Thorsteinsson. "We are talking about a 12th man now. People look to be taking their summer holiday early."

Heimir Hallgrímsson and Lars Lagerbäck's side created a sensation in qualifying by finishing second in a hugely-competitive qualifying Group A. They kicked off with a 3-0 defeat of Turkey, beat the Netherlands home and away, and ended up just two points adrift of section winners the Czech Republic, having confirmed their finals place with two games to spare following a 0-0 draw at home against Kazakhstan.

The evidence of the UEFA EURO 2016 ticket application process suggests that Iceland are likely to fight above their weight again at the final tournament in France, where the finals debutants will meet Portugal, Hungary and Austria in Group F. The 26,985 ticket applications made by Iceland supporters equates to a ticket each for 8.15% of Iceland's population of around 330,000 – the equivalent of around 6.6 million German applications or 4.4 million from England fans.

In population terms, Iceland's achievement is truly startling; the nation's population is less than a fifth of the size of that of Northern Ireland – the 23rd most populous nation represented in France. The 23-man squad which Iceland will take to UEFA EURO 2016 will represent around 0.007% of the national population; if Russia took an equivalent cohort with them to the finals, they would bring over 10,000 players.

UEFA EURO 2016 contender nations in order of population size
1: Russia 143,500,000
2: Germany 80,600,000
3: Turkey 76,700,000
4: France 65,800,000
5: Italy 60,700,000
6:England 54,000,000
Spain 46,200,000
8: Ukraine 45,700,000
9: Poland 38,000,000
10: Romania 21,500,000
11: Belgium 10,800,000
12: Portugal 10,550,000
13: Czech Republic 10,540,000
14: Hungary 10,000,000
15: Sweden 9,500,000
16: Austria 8,400,000
17: Switzerland 8,000,000
18: Slovakia 5,400,000
19: Republic of Ireland 4,500,000
20: Croatia 4,300,000
21: Albania: 3,200,000
22: Wales 3,000,000
23: Northern Ireland 1,800,000
24: Iceland 330,000