February 20, 2018

Iceland becomes smallest nation to qualify for World Cup

11 October 2017, 12:21 | Ken Black

Iceland On the Verge of Qualifying For First World Cup

Iceland's Johann Gudmundsson celebrates with his teammates

Iceland have now reached their first-ever World Cup, while they have also become the smallest nation to do so.

Courageous and fearsome in their approach and appearance, Iceland wiped the football world off of their feet with a 2-1 victory over England which send them straight into the quarterfinals.

Predicting Iceland would now win the World Cup, humorous Icelandic website the Reykjavík Grapevine tweeted: "The Ice Age cometh".

Iceland is the smallest nation in terms of population - 330,000 - to make the World Cup.

Iceland topped the group by two points, moving ahead of clear-favorite Croatia, leaving behind star-studded Ukraine which was third, Turkey at fourth and Finland at fifth.

The Euro 2016 quarter-finalists, who knocked out England in the last 16, have a population of about 335,000 and are now the only country to qualify for a World Cup with fewer than one million inhabitants.

That means the Viking chant popularized by Iceland fans at Euro 2016 will be heard across Russian Federation next year.

Iceland made history by sealing their place in next year's FIFA World cup with a 2-0 win at home to Kosovo.

Gylfi Sigurdsson was instrumental for Iceland on the night, with the Everton midfielder opening the scoring shortly before half-time by bustling his way into the Kosovan 18-yard box and hacking a shot past the onrushing goalkeeper...

Group rivals Italy, already guaranteed second place and a playoff spot, won 1-0 in Albania. 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. The hardest thing was to get going again after our massive party in France, but we decided that we were just going to finish this.

The celebrations took place all over Iceland after team's success.

Already-qualified Spain rounded off their campaign with a 1-0 win against Israal in Jerusalem, courtesy of a 76th-minute strike from Asier Illarramendi.

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