Sunday, 17 December, 2017

After Euro success, Iceland have qualified for their first ever World Cup

England are one of 15 teams to have already qualified for the World Cup GETTYEngland are one of 15 teams to have already qualified for the World Cup
Angelica Greene | 11 October, 2017, 00:19

In sealing their berth to Russian Federation 2018, Iceland will beat the previous record for the smallest nation in terms of population to appear at a World Cup.

Iceland, with a population of just 335,000, claimed victory in Reykjavik on Monday thanks to goals from Gylfi Sigurdsson and Johann Berg Gudmundsson.

From there the team from the tiny island of just 330,000 people stunned Europe by not only negotiating their group but also upsetting England in the last 16, before going out to hosts France in the quarter-finals.

But he looked back to his best as he captained his country in their pivotal World Cup qualifier against Kosovo last night (October 9).

The Dons defender was on target in Friday's 3-0 win over Turkey, which set up the chance to clinch top spot in Group I following Croatia's draw with Finland.

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Former West Ham chairman Eggert Magnusson says Iceland's World Cup qualification eclipses their epic journey to Euro 2016 and insists none of the elite teams will want to be paired with them next summer.

Prijovic struck the victor on 74 minutes in Belgrade as Serbia finished top of European qualifying Group D, with the Republic of Ireland heading to the play-offs after a 1-0 victory over Wales in Cardiff.

Elsewhere, Ireland stunned Wales 1-0 to seal a spot in the playoffs. Albert Bunjaki, coach of the Kosovo team beaten 2-0 to secure Iceland's place, lauded the victors as "a great example for small nations like our own", and there was evident disbelief in the immediate aftermath.

Group G was already settled prior to Monday's action and the top two both claimed narrow 1-0 away victories; Spain and Italy defeating Israel and Albania respectively.

It is the second time Serbia have reached the finals as an independent nation, having been knocked in the group stages of the 2010 tournament in South Africa and then missing the next three major soccer events. The victor will take on the team which finishes fourth in the CONCACAF section over two legs for a place in Russian Federation.

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