World Cup: Iceland become smallest nation to qualify for final tournament


Iceland secured another historic achievement as they became the smallest nation to qualify for the World Cup following their 2-0 home victory over Kosovo in the final match of the qualifying campaign for Russia 2018. Everton's Gylfi Sigurdsson and Burnley's Johann Gudmundsson scored on Monday evening to lead Iceland to victory and they finished at the top of group I ahead of Croatia, Ukraine and Turkey. The Iceland team had already impressed the world at the 2016 European Championship, where they reached the quarter-finals before losing to England.

Iceland have a population of around 335,000 thousand people, before their historic achievement Trinidad and Tobago with a population of around 1.3 million people held the record of smallest nation to take part in the World Cup final tournament. Heimir Hallgrimsson, their head coach, is also a part-time dentist. He led the team at Euro 2016 as well and admitted that he was concerned that his players might struggle to find motivation after their splendid performances at the European Championship.

"The first beer after a party is not the best," Hallgrimsson said. "The hardest thing was to get going again after our massive party in France. And what's more we are in a group contested between Croatia, Turkey, Ukraine and Finland, who are much better than their position in the group would have you believe. The success is not an end in itself but a long journey towards a final destination." Iceland won seven of their ten qualification matches and only lost twice, to Finland and Croatia.

Iceland are 200/1 at Bet365 to win the 2018 World Cup.

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