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Manitoba town has FIFA fever as Iceland competes in the World Cup

Click to play video: 'Manitoba town has FIFA fever as Iceland competes in the World Cup' Manitoba town has FIFA fever as Iceland competes in the World Cup
It's the smallest country to ever make it to the World Cup and for the largest population of Icelandic Canadians outside of Iceland, that's reason enough to celebrate. Global's Nikki Jhutti has more from Gimli – Jun 22, 2018

It was a packed house at a bar in Gimli, Man. as Iceland took on Nigeria in the first round of FIFA World Cup play.

The town of Gimli has the highest population of Icelandic peoples outside the European island nation.

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Soccer fans of all ages flocked into the Ship and Plough Tavern on Centre Street, sporting Iceland’s colours to cheer on their team.

This is Iceland’s first ever appearance in the World Cup. With a population of just 350,000 people, it’s the smallest country to ever make it onto the world’s biggest soccer stage.

“Everyone kind of jumped on the bandwagon, and then they qualified, and they just kept going and now it’s like Disney’s dream come true,” Brad Hirst said.

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WATCH BELOW: Underdog Iceland riding high after draw with Argentina at World Cup

Click to play video: 'Underdog Iceland riding high after draw with Argentina at World Cup' Underdog Iceland riding high after draw with Argentina at World Cup
Underdog Iceland riding high after draw with Argentina at World Cup – Jun 22, 2018

“The fact that such a small country could amass a World Cup caliber team is just huge,” Christjan Thompson added.

While its fans are thrilled to have the opportunity to cheer the country on, there were lots of worried faces in the crowd heading into the final minutes of the game with Iceland down by two goals. Nigeria won the game by a score of 2-0.

“They might have lost the game but they won the hearts of their fans and that’s all that matters,” Helgi Skulason said.

RELATED: Plenty of highs and lows at FIFA World Cup

The final result was not what the fans were hoping for, but their team still has a chance to impress and move forward.

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Iceland will go up against Croatia June 26 and fans said they’re not giving up on this Cinderella story.

“If they get through Croatia they could go very deep, hopefully they can pull it off,” Brian Thompson explained.

The Knockout Phase begins June 30.

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