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Dublin: 13°C Tuesday 19 October 2021

10 heroes who stole our hearts at Euro 2016

We’re looking at you Gigi Buffon.

OVER THE PAST four weeks, we’ve experienced all the highs and lows that tournament football has to offer.

And while Ireland may not have gone as far as we’d have hoped, the lads still did the country proud and gave us a glimmer of hope against France that maybe, just maybe, a shock could be on the cards.

While that wasn’t to be, Robbie Brady did enough to steal our hearts with that goal against Italy and he joins these six legends in making Euro 2016 one of the best tournaments yet.

1. Gigi Buffon and his tears

Source: FX-Sports/YouTube

The Italian shot-stopper had already won our hearts when he went up to congratulate Martin O’Neill and Roy Keane after Ireland beat Italy and reached the knockout stages of Euro 2016.

But he had every single fan wanting to run up and give him a great big hug after Italy’s heart-breaking penalty shootout loss to Germany in the quarter-finals, especially as he struggled to hold back the tears after the game.

2. Joe Ledley dad dancing

Source: rmfans.info/YouTube

Anyone who has ever been to an Irish wedding will appreciate the shapes been thrown by Joe Ledley after Wales’ win over Belgium to reach the final four.

The Crystal Palace midfielder postponed his own wedding as his side’s unlikely run in France continued but there’s no doubt he’ll be the favourite in the end-of-night dance-off.

3. Gudmundur Benediktsson’s commentary

Source: OnVideos/YouTube

The Icelandic commentator was one of the undoubted breakout stars of Euro 2016 and first came to European wide recognition when he lost his mind as his country reached the last 16.

However, he really came into his own after Iceland shocked the continent by beating England and his commentary in the closing minutes likely to go down as one of the all-time great European Championship moments.

4. Will Grigg never going out

Source: AK Productions/YouTube

Will Grigg may have played as many minutes at Euro 2016 as you, but he still managed to make his way into our hearts with the ever-present renditions of ‘Will Grigg’s on Fire’.

There may be many, many versions of the song at this stage, but the Northern Ireland original will always be the best.

5. Ronaldo selfie

Source: Most Viral News Videos/YouTube

Ronaldo had one of his worst games on the world stage against Austria as he missed a penalty and had a late goal ruled out for offside so he could be forgiven for not wanting anything to do with a pitch invader who ran towards him after the game for a selfie.

Instead, the Portugal star waited patiently while the snapper foostered with his phone and happily pushed security away so he could get the picture he’d worked so hard for.

6. Gabor Kiraly and the fountain of youth

Source: Marcy Marc/YouTube

Not only did the 40-year-old Hungary goalkeeper break records for being the oldest player to ever take part in the European Championships but he did it all while wearing his trademark sweatpants.

And the Szombathelyi Haladas man took full advantage of his last major tournament, airing all the tricks in his locker over the course of Hungary’s run to the knockout stages.

7. This little cutie with her pudgy cheeks

Iceland are featuring a lot but they did a lot of heart-stealing at Euro 2016.

We doubt there’s ever been a cuter moment at a football tournament than when Ari Freyr Skúlason picked up his daughter Camilla for a cuddle after his team had lost to France.

8. The whole nation of Iceland performing the Viking Clap

Source: XOxu TV/YouTube

After their heroic run in France came to an end, it looked as if almost the entire nation of Iceland came out to welcome their team home.

A massive crowd gathered in Reykjavik and players and supporters all came together for one last rendition of the Viking Clap.

9. The world’s most excited ball boy

Source: Play Vídeos HD/YouTube

Before Portugal’s win over Wales in the semi-final, this ball boy could not get enough of Ronaldo and went in for hugs and selfies before posing in the traditional pre-match team photo.

However, look how happy he is as he skips back to his friends. It’s moments like this that make football tournaments. And fair play to Ronaldo for once again having the patience to pose for another on-field fan selfie.

10. Robbie Brady’s goal

Source: Bricksports/YouTube

There won’t be a man, woman or child who watched it go in that will not remember Robbie Brady’s goal against Italy.

Brady and Ireland may not have won Euro 2016, but they certainly won our hearts with their efforts.

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