Watch out world, Euro 2016 upstarts Iceland are on their way to Russia!
The tiny European nation have done it again, becoming the smallest ever nation to qualify for the World Cup after a 2-0 win over Kosovo saw them finish top of Group I with 22 points and ahead of more traditional footballing nations including Croatia, Ukraine and Turkey.
Everton’s Gylfi Sigurdsson was key to the victory, scoring the opener before setting up Johann Gudmundsson for the clincher midway through the second half.
The nation of 350,000 will now look for a repeat of their success last summer, when they beat Austria and England on a remarkable run to the quarterfinals.
The previous smallest nation ever to make the World Cup was Trinidad & Tobago with 1.3 million.
The viking clap heads to Russia!
Party time in Icelandpic.twitter.com/2RazU990C1
— Rob Stone (@RobStoneONFOX) October 9, 2017
Iceland, population 334,000, become the smallest nation ever to qualify for the World Cup – and the only one with fewer than 1m people. pic.twitter.com/vTZTxl532n
— Nick Harris (@sportingintel) October 9, 2017
— #WCQ ⚽️? (@FIFAWorldCup) October 9, 2017
Iceland have qualified for their first ever World Cup. They're a bloody good side. Only losing 2-1 to them now looks a triumph…ish.
— Gary Lineker (@GaryLineker) October 9, 2017
Meanwhile, the other surprise package at Euro 2016, Wales were left disappointed after the Republic of Ireland grabbed a 1-0 win in Cardiff to earn a playoff place at the expense of Chris Coleman’s side.
A goal from James McClean in the second half was enough to ensure the Euro 2016 semi-finalists and star man Gareth Bale will not be travelling to Russia.